Seahawks vs. Panthers Betting Odds & Pick: The Team That’s Being Undervalued

Seahawks vs. Panthers Betting Odds & Pick: The Team That’s Being Undervalued article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Russell Wilson

  • Our experts preview the Week 15 NFL matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers.
  • Find betting odds, our experts' pick for the NFC showdown and much more below.
  • You'll also find analysis of the biggest mismatch and Sean Koerner's projected spread.

Seahawks at Panthers Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Seahawks -6
  • Over/Under: 48.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

Odds as of Thursday evening and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

A vast majority of bettors (85%) are taking the Seattle Seahawks to cover against the Carolina Panthers, but our experts think this 6-point spread is overvaluing one of these teams.

They detail which one, as well as how they’re betting Sunday’s matchup below.

Seahawks-Panthers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Both teams are slightly banged up

Greg Olsen (concussion) was able to return to limited practice, but still needs to clear the concussion protocol. Defensive lineman Gerald McCoy (knee) sat out Wednesday, but that’s been his normal routine all season. Unless he doesn’t return during the week, he’ll still likely suit up, as he has all season.

The Seahawks injury report, meanwhile, is always hard to decipher — they’ll have players who missed practice all week suit up for the game, and they’ll have guys who were trending toward playing end up sitting out.

The two defensive injuries to monitor are Jadeveon Clowney (core/illness) and Al Woods (ankle). Clowney is their best pass-rusher, leading the team in quarterback pressures, hits and hurries (Pro Football Focus). And Woods has graded out as one of their best run defenders on the interior. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Seahawks Rush Offense vs. Panthers Run Defense

This might be one of the biggest mismatches of the entire weekend.

This past offseason, the Panthers switched to a 3-4 defense in order to increase the amount of pressure they could get on opposing quarterbacks. Well, they did accomplish their goal, but their run defense took a major hit (and ultimately contributed to head coach Ron Rivera losing his job.)

The Panthers currently rank dead-last in Football Outsiders’ rush defense DVOA and are allowing a league-worst 5.3 yards per carry. And it’s not like the run defense is improving, especially once you factor in the injuries they’ve suffered along the defensive line — Kawann Short and Dontari Poe are on injured reserve, and now Gerald McCoy isn’t even fully healthy.

It’s not an ideal situation by any means.

Russell Wilson, who has been playing at an MVP level all season, will make plays every week regardless of the opponent. However, the Seahawks do ultimately want to run the ball more than most NFL teams, and they do it very well. They’re one of only five teams to average more than 30 carries per game along with the Ravens, 49ers, Vikings and Colts. And Pete Carroll’s bunch ranks fifth in rush offense DVOA, averaging a top-10 rate of 4.6 yards per carry.

It could be a demoralizing day for the Carolina defense. Don’t be surprised if Seattle comes out with an extra offensive lineman and pounds the rock against this soft run defense more than it usually does. Not only should they move the ball with ease that way, but it should also open up the passing game for Wilson. Stuckey

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Seahawks -4
  • Projected Total: 49

I’ll be making a play on the Panthers here, but it’s a matter of timing the market to get the best number. The Seahawks opened as 5.5-point favorites, and with 89% of tickets and 76% of money coming in on them as of writing (see live public betting data here), the line has moved up to -6. I can see it ultimately moving up to 6.5 or 7.

Books likely realize sharp action will come in on the Panthers if this lines reaches 7, so expect that to happen when books need heavy action on Carolina to balance it out.

One metric I’ve been tracking lately is fumble recovery luck. I’m essentially looking at how many expected lost/recovered fumbles each team should have if they had a league-average recovery rate. The assumption is that we shouldn’t expect teams to be better or worse at recovering fumbles, therefore teams that have seen either good or bad luck are likely to regress to the mean.

The Panthers should have recovered 3.5 more fumbles (bad luck) while the Seahawks have a -2.5 rating (good luck) — that’s a +6 advantage in fumble luck for the Panthers, the second-highest mark of the week. Now I’m not saying they should recover a ton of fumbles in this game, rather I’m saying that turnovers tend to have a huge underlying impact on how we view the strength of teams.

The Panthers also have a +3.2 edge in Pythagorean expected record differential, in large part because the Seahawks have a 9-1 record in one-score games. This is a buy-low opportunity for the Panthers. Many have written them off after firing Rivera, but this offense is more than capable of hanging with the Seahawks and pulling off a backdoor cover (if needed).

Still, there’s no sense in locking the Panthers in yet — wait until it peaks in the 6.5-7.5 range. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Travis Reed: Panthers +6

The Seahawks are 10-3 record and have an MVP candidate in Wilson, but their underlying numbers say they may not be as good as their record indicates. They have only a +20 point differential and have given up 321 points — the most given up by any team with a winning record this season.

While some would call the Seahawks clutch, the math says that winning close games is not sustainable over time and teams are likely to regress toward the mean. While their running game could feast as Stuckey stated above, their defense will have to deal with Christian McCaffrey.

I think anything over a field goal is too much and I’ll gladly snag the +6 as well as take the moneyline in case we see an outright upset.

How would you rate this article?