Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
CAROLINA +224 over New Orleans
4:25 PM EST. The Saints can still take the NFC’s top spot and the lone first round bye, but they will need some help from the Bears and Seahawks, who are playing the Packers and 49ers respectively. A New Orleans win and Green Bay loss would allow the Saints to leapfrog into first. That is worthy motivation, no doubt, but one has to wonder if the Saints will have a staffer scoreboard watching what is going on in the Windy City. If the Packers are up big, it might affect how the Saints navigate this contest. New Orleans is already without star runner Alvin Kamara, who they rode to six touchdowns last week, as he’s out with COVID-19. Not only is Kamara out, but he took the entire running back group with him, leaving utility man Ty Montgomery and potentially Taysom Hill to take snaps in the backfield. The window on the Drew Brees era appears to be almost shut. He’s been injured the last two seasons and Father Time is undefeated.
The Panthers are coming off a 20-13 win in Washington and appeared to enjoy making life a little more difficult for former coach Ron Riveria and his new team, as the Football Team is now in a must win situation in Week 17 to clinch the NFC East. While the stakes aren’t quite as high here, there appears to be multiple paths to the Panthers cashing a ticket here depending on how the afternoon unfolds. This line suggests that they’ll likely be a “live” dog, as pooches in this range are often a very tough out. Even if the Saints play hard gate to wire, Carolina should not be discounted here. Spotting road points in a division game is dangerous at the best of times, but when there is a perception that one side has nothing to play for, that point is magnified. The Panthers are playing with house money here and will have the benefit of about 1500 friends and family in the stands. Nobody wants to embarrass themselves in front of their loved ones if they can help it. Effort on the part of the Panthers is not likely to be an issue here and thus, the table is set up for an upset.
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CAROLINA +224 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 4.48)