Chuck Cook, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Cam Newton
- The Carolina Panthers are nearly eliminated from playoff contention and Ron Rivera may rest Cam Newton for the final two games of the season.
- After opening at -3, the Panthers moved to -2.5 and are even off the board at some books.
- Newton is worth 4-5 points to the spread, which could result in the Falcons being favored.
If you watched Monday night’s Saints-Panthers game, you probably noticed that Cam Newton doesn’t look quite right. His throwing shoulder isn’t anywhere near 100% and he couldn’t push the ball down the field with any sort of accuracy or consistency.
With Carolina losing, 12-9, and falling to 6-8 on the season, its playoff chances are all but gone. The Panthers aren’t technically eliminated, but have a 0.9% chance to make the postseason per Bet Labs’ simulations.
I’m not sure if Ron Rivera checks up on the Bet Labs sims, but he probably realizes that his team is drawing dead. With that said, there are rumors and reports about the Panthers resting Newton for their remaining two games.
A good way to know if something like this has some truth is whether or not the betting market takes action. And it has.
Pinnacle, a market-setting book, never posted odds. BookMaker, another key book, opened at Carolina -3, moved to -2.5 and has since taken the game off the board.
Nearly 70% of the bettors who have gotten action down on this game have taken the Falcons.
Last week’s lookahead line at Westgate was CAR -6. Given Atlanta’s big win over Arizona, as well the potential dropoff from Newton to Taylor Heinicke, we could see the Falcons close as favorites.
Before the season began, oddsmakers viewed Newton as being worth 4-5 points to the spread.