Carolina Panthers (4-0) at Seattle Seahawks (2-3)
The Seahawks have a well-documented homefield advantage, but I think it’s kind of too well-documented at this point, to the point where the Seahawks always get a ton of extra points at home. As a result, they are just 6-5 ATS in their last 11 home games, after going 15-5 ATS in their first 20 home games in the Russell Wilson era. This particular line here definitely seems to give the Seahawks a ton of respect at home, as they are 7 point favorites here over the 4-0 Panthers.
The Seahawks actually only rank 13th in rate of moving the chains differential, while the undefeated Panthers rank 8th. It’s not quite a fair comparison because the Seahawks have had tough road games in Cincinnati and Green Bay, against two of the best teams in the league, while the Panthers have had a much easier schedule (Jacksonville, Houston, New Orleans without Drew Brees, Tampa Bay), but this line is probably still be too high. Seattle gets running back Marshawn Lynch back from injury, but middle linebacker Luke Kuechly returns for Carolina and the Panthers are in better injury shape coming out of the bye, given that stud middle linebacker Bobby Wagner hasn’t practiced this week with a pectoral injury for Seattle.
The Seahawks are also in a couple bad spots. For one, they’re coming off of a road overtime loss, a tough one in Cincinnati, and teams are 62-93 ATS in that spot since 1989, unless they are road underdogs, which the Seahawks certainly aren’t. They also have to turn around and play a Thursday Night game and teams are 41-65 ATS as favorites before Thursday Night Football since 2008. It helps that their Thursday Night game will be in San Francisco, against a 49er team that is one of the worst in the league.
They are currently 6 point road favorites in that one on the early line. Teams are 108-77 ATS since 2010 before being 4+ point road favorites and 72-47 ATS since 2010 before being 6+ point road favorites. On top of that, 6+ point home favorites are 83-50 ATS before being 6+ point road favorites since 2002. The Panthers have a relatively easy game on deck, hosting the Eagles, but the Seahawks are easily in the better spot from that stand point. If you’re taking Carolina, you’re hoping that the Seahawks can’t handle playing a game in between a dejecting overtime loss and a Thursday Night game, even one in San Francisco against the lowly 49ers, and that the Panthers can handle tougher competition and that, worst case scenario, a touchdown is enough of a buffer. It’s enough for me to take the Panthers, but I’m not confident.
Seattle Seahawks 17 Carolina Panthers 13
Pick against the spread: Carolina +7