Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59).
Betting odds: Carolina Panthers at Detroit Lions
- Spread: Panthers -4.5
- Over/Under: 49.5
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: Getting just 21% of bets at the time of writing, the Lions very well might end up as the least popular bet of the week (see updated betting data here). Apparently the public was not deterred by the Panthers’ subpar Thursday night performance vs. Pittsburgh last week.
Behind all the love from the public, Carolina has moved from an opener of -3 to -4/-4.5 at most books. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: As Mark mentioned, only 20% of bettors are taking the points with the Lions.
According to our Bet Labs data, underdogs of more than a field goal getting fewer than 25% of spread bets have gone 229-182-7 (56%) against the spread since 2003. — John Ewing
Cam Newton has played 24 career games in a dome, like he will on Sunday against the Lions.
He has a sub-.500 record in that spot (10-14 straight up and ATS), but those games have produced a 15-9 edge to the over, including eight of his past 10 games in a dome. Those games have gone over by an average of 6.4 points. — Evan Abrams
The Lions have dropped three consecutive games heading into this contest against the Panthers.
Stafford is 5-11-1 ATS (31.3%) in his career playing on losing streak of three or more games. Bettors have lost 6.3 units in those game, making Stafford the least-profitable quarterback in such games since he was drafted first overall in 2009. — Abrams
Metrics that matter: Matthew Stafford’s time holding the ball without Golden Tate
Stafford took only 13 sacks through his first seven games, in large part because he had the services of the quick-to-separate Tate, who he targeted 27% of the time.
During those first seven games with Tate, Stafford held onto the rock for 2.5 seconds on only 46.2% of his dropbacks, which is just the 27th-highest rate in the league.
In the two games since the Lions traded Tate to the Eagles, Stafford has been forced to submit his name for the open-receiver waiting list. He’s held the ball for at least 2.5 seconds on 62.6% of his dropbacks, the second-highest rate in the league.
In related news: Stafford has been sacked 16 times in those two games. — Chris Raybon
Which team is healthier? Panthers
The Panthers aren’t expected to have Torrey Smith (knee), but they’re otherwise healthy.
The Lions, on the other hand, might be without defensive linemen A’Shawn Robinson (ankle), Ezekiel Ansah (shoulder) and Damon Harrison (shoulder).
The good news is stud cornerback Darius Slay (knee) is tentatively expected to return to the field, while Marvin Jones (knee) is shaping up as a game-time decision.
Biggest mismatch: Greg Olsen vs. Lions defense
Assuming he plays, Olsen should have a field day against the Lions pass defense, which ranks 31st DVOA. Their defense, one of only four units to allow more than 8.0 yards per pass attempt (Bucs, Saints and Raiders), has especially struggled against tight ends.
Football Outsiders ranks the Lions 30th in the NFL against tight ends and dead last defending short passes. Also, Pro Football Focus has Olsen with the best tight end matchup in Week 11, as he faces safety Quandre Diggs.
Cam loves to target Olsen, which will pay off this week (especially in the red zone) against a team that just has looked lost trying to cover tight ends all season.
On the flip side, the three Lions tight ends on their roster have combined for 22 catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Do you think they miss former tight end Eric Ebron, who has 39 catches for 463 yards and NINE touchdowns for the Colts? — Stuckey
DFS edge: Olsen ranks third on the team in targets per game (5.6), while owning a respectable 17.5% of the Panthers’ red-zone market share of targets since his Week 6 return from his foot injury.
Given the Lions’ struggles on defense, he’s an intriguing tournament option on DraftKings, where he owns an 84% Leverage Rating. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Panthers -4.5
This is a prime bounce back spot for the Panthers. They went into Pittsburgh last Thursday and got absolutely blasted by the Steelers. They’ve had a week and a half to think about that and prep for the Lions.
The Panthers are simply too good and too talented to lay two eggs in a row at this point in the season. The Lions, on the other hand, seems as if they are running out the string on a lost season.
The Tate trade had to be demoralizing for their offense, and the past three games have all been double-digit losses. Also, factor in that the Lions have a Thanksgiving Day game right around the corner and may be already thinking about that a little bit.
This one is Panthers all the way. — BlackJack Fletcher
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.