On the Line: LA Rams at Carolina Panthers

C3 On the Line series bets the Carolina Panthers line and discusses the stakes of the game in the context of the Panthers season. CarolinaCatChronicles.com On the Line is not betting advice, but a means for football discussion.

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Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers

Rams -3 (41 O/U)

Moneyline Odds: L.A. Rams -150, Carolina Panthers +130

Over/Under Total Odds: 50 ½

The 2019 season is here and both the Rams and Panthers are looking to turn the page on 2018. For the Rams, disappoint came with falling just short of winning it all, as the Patriots shut-down the league’s highest-scoring offense and stop the momentum of a Rams team for two years whose offense seemed unstoppable. Carolina’s disappointing 2018 didn’t end with the heartbreak of losing as Super Bowl but with the heartbreak of losing our Super Man as Cam’s shoulder injury derailed the season and ultimately exposed some systemic weaknesses on both offense and defense. Each team looks to rebound from disappointment and start the season off on positive footing.

Here’s a look at what’s On the Line for Carolina this week.

All Bets Are In:

Professor’s Bet: Panthers -3 and the Under

Betters taking Carolina are hoping the trend of Super Bowl losers losing in Week 1 continues. Since 2000, teams that lost in the Super Bowl the previous year are 3-16 on opening week. The Super Bowl hangover is real and it hits hard. Add that the Rams haven’t fielded any of their starters in the preseason, it logically entails there being some rust that LA will have to knock off early in this game. Traveling from west to east, kicking off a 1 pm, the Panthers have more than just a home-field advantage.

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Nevertheless, this game will have to still be settled on the field. Aaron Donald, arguably the best player in the NFL, leads a defense that has a deep secondary and some serious pass-rushing ability. The Rams have been stacked on defense, but they have also been one of the most potent offenses under Head Coach Sean McVay. All reports suggest that Gurley is at full form and their are a ton of weapons at receiver--including the return of Cooper Kupp.

Carolina isn’t coming to the fight unarmed, however. Cam rehab from shoulder surgery has been nothing but positive, and while he sustained a minor foot injury in the preseason, he looks to be a full go on Sunday. Carolina has also dove headfirst into their defensive shift from a 4-3 to a 3-4, and in doing so have loaded up on defensive talent. The addition of Gerald McCoy and rookie Brian Burns has fans excited at the thought of Goff running scared.

Picking week one is always difficult. Everything we know about the teams is based mainly on last year's data supplemented by the glimpses of teams in training camp and the preseason. Both teams have the tools, it’s just about who can put it together faster in Week 1, so I’m flipping the coin and it says Panthers +3 and I’ll take the under.

27-17 Panthers

Cody Lac’s Bet: Panthers +3 and the Over

Hope springs eternal for Carolina Panthers fans everywhere, as Cam Newton and Carolina’s' new revamped football team, looks to stifle the advances of the Los Angeles Rams to open the season on Sunday, September 8, at Bank of America Stadium. In 2018, the Rams fielded the most potent offense of any team in the NFL en route to a narrow loss in the Super Bowl LIII. Even in spite of all the advantages that should seem to be in the Carolina’s favor, Vegas betters still covet the Rams as a -3 point favorite against the Panthers likely because of their success last season. I would caution against this for a number of reasons.

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Ron Rivera has stated on multiple occasions that the Panther's defense was far too predictable in 2018. The NFL’s more proficient quarterbacks were able to routinely pick apart Carolina’s lazy zone coverages. They would ultimately rank 20th in the NFL among all defenses in allowing oppositions to convert on third down. Ron Rivera has remedied this by adding more speed and youth to Carolina’s edge-rushing positions in his new 3-4/hybrid defense.

The additions of first-round pick Brian Burns, OLB out of Florida State, and former Seattle Seahawk Bruce Irvin, add for a formidable one-two punch coming off the edges. That’s not including savvy Panther veteran Mario Addison who will certainly see his fair share of snaps as well.

GM Marty Hurney further supplemented the defensive line by adding longtime rival Gerald McCoy to the already long list of Defensive Tackle talent on the roster. I’m a firm believer that the quickest way to the quarterback is via interior pressure. Now that Carolina can boast 3 former pro bowlers in Kawann Short, Dontari Poe, and Gerald McCoy, the Panthers should be able to make the newly paid Jared Goff’s life a living hell with no room to step up into the pocket while our edge pressure should make it exceedingly difficult for Todd Gurley to bounce any running plays to the outside. Let alone past our dominant linebacking core helmed by none other than Luke Kuechly.

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The most exciting thing for Panther fans to keep an eye on is without question Cam Newton in his second year under offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Through eight games last season, Newton put up career numbers in completion percentage and touchdowns thrown and was looking to be a dark horse MVP candidate before a nagging shoulder injury essentially rendered him ineffective through the back half of the season. With all signs pointing to a healthy Newton, it looks as though the Panthers’ have finally put enough dynamic playmakers around QB 1 to make his life a little easier. Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, and Christian McCaffrey are easily the three best combined offensive playmakers Newton has ever had around him in Carolina. In theory, the most dynamic QB in the NFL mixed with these potent weapons should be enough to thwart even the most aggressive of defensive lineman. Even if that lineman is Aaron Donald.

Some might call me a homer. But I say I’m someone who is reading the tea leaves of what could be the best offense the Carolina Panthers have ever fielded. With that said, I’ll take the Panthers +3 and I’m gonna bet the over.

30-20 Panthers

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