Friday, October 23, 2015

NFL Week 7 Vegas Moves: Are Panthers Really this Good?

Who are the betting in Las Vegas this week?
LAS VEGAS -- Perhaps the most interesting game of the week is Sunday night when Philadelphia plays at Carolina (-3) where there's a couple of questions bettors have to answer before going to the bet window. Are the Eagles really back to being who we thought they were and are the Panthers really as good as they're showing?

The Eagles have won its last two games despite quarterback Sam Bradford throwing five interceptions. Does that mean they're resilient, or does that mean they just played bad teams and got lucky? Can we really call two solid performances against the suspect Saints and Giants a true fix of the issues that plagued them in bad losses to the Falcons, Cowboys and Redskins?

Carolina (5-0) is one of five undefeated teams left in the NFL and have exceeded its rating by covering four of the five games, including a huge come from behind 27-23 win at Seattle last week. Are they overachieving or has QB Cam Newton finally come of age and ready to take his team rating into the upper-echelon of the league?

Las Vegas oddsmaker Kenny White doesn't think so, at least not yet. "They may be 5-0, but I still have about 13 teams rated higher than them, including the Eagles who I have almost 4 points better."

If White's rating assessment is correct, then the Eagles should actually be favored in this one. But that's where the public perception comes into play that sometimes trumps actual ratings.

Last week the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook had the Panthers as 2 ½-point favorites for this game in their Week 7 Early lines, which shows they thought Philadelphia to be a half-point better at that juncture before Carolina's upset win at Seattle as a seven-point road underdog. That goes a long way in the public's mind, and so far through Friday, they're firing away on the Panthers this week, which makes -3 the correct number no matter what any rating shows.

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