Sunday Night Football: Large spread favors Seahawks over Panthers

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Based on each team’s history with large lines, Russell Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks and Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers might be in for a tight game. The Seahawks opened as a 6.5-point favorite against the visiting Panthers for the Sunday night matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Seattle is 7-2 straight-up and 6-3 against the spread in their last nine games as a favorite of 6.5 points or more, according to the OddsShark NFL Database, and all three ATS losses have come in the past 12 months. By the same token, Carolina is 2-5-1 SU but 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight outings where oddsmakers spotted them 6.5 or more points.

Carolina, at 4-7 SU and 3-6-2 SU, is having a post-Super Bowl malaise. The convenient narrative that their offensive line was exposed during the Super Bowl 50 defeat against the Denver Broncos is backed up statistically, as Newton has been sacked 27 times.

The Seahawks, with their combo of DE Cliff Avril and DE Michael Bennett, should be able to exert some edge pressure. While WR Kelvin Benjamin can expect to have CB Richard Sherman in his face, Seattle FS Earl Thomas (hamstring) and CB DeShawn Shead (hamstring) are nearing a return to the lineup.

The playmaking of Newton, along with creative use of slippery WR Ted Ginn, are wild cards for Carolina, which is 3-0-1 ATS on the NFL betting lines in its last four games against Seattle. Jonathan Stewart, along with Newton, gives Carolina stable rushing output.

Seattle is 7-3-1 SU and 5-5-1 ATS as it vies to regain the NFC West title. Carolina is third in the NFL in sacks, thanks in large part to OLB Thomas Davis, DE Mario Addison and DT Star Lotulelei, so they stand a good chance of containing Wilson. The Panthers’ chances will also improve if MLB Luke Kuechly and SS Kurt Coleman each complete concussion protocol and return to solidify the second level of their defense.

The Seahawks offense is inconsistent but certainly not wanting for weapons in the passing phase, as WR Doug Baldwin and TE Jimmy Graham are facing the NFL’s 29th-ranked pass defense. The Seahawks are almost as bad (27th) at running the ball; Thomas Rawls is the starter mostly by default with promising C.J. Prosise (scapula) injured.

The total has gone OVER in nine of the Panthers’ last 10 games as road underdogs. The total has gone OVER in the Panthers’ last three games against the Seahawks