The 2016 NFL season is still a few months away. However, the weekly spreads have already been released, and the Carolina Panthers are expected to dominate the NFC once again. The defending conference champions were thoroughly embarrassed by the Denver Broncos during the Super Bowl, yet the team is still filled with young talent and an elite quarterback who may be looking for revenge. Carolina has already been installed as a favorite in all but one of its games-a Week 13 road matchup against Seattle-and if 2016 ends up anything like 2015, the Panthers will be one of the best ATS bets in the league.
Let's take a closer look at Carolina's weekly lines and figure out how well the team might do against the spread this season.
Week 1: @ Denver -1 : Carolina will definitely come into this matchup wanting revenge, but a road game to open season might not be the best spot for the team. The fact that Peyton Manning is gone might sway bettors, but Denver didn't really need him during the Super Bowl and nothing will change during Week 1. No cover 0-1
Week 2: vs San Francisco -12.5 : San Francisco was a mediocre ATS team at 7-9 last season and may improve in 2016. Double-digit spreads are always scary, and Carolina went 1-1 during those spots last season. Think about skipping this one. No cover 0-2.
Week 3: vs Minnesota -6.5 : Minnesota ended the year as the best ATS team in the league last season with a 14-3 (playoffs included) record with an 82 percent cover rate. This line could easily move to 6.0 or even 5.5 once the season starts, so wait on this spread. Cover 1-2.
Week 4: @ Atlanta -4.5 : Atlanta was the only team to beat Carolina last season, so there might be a little revenge factor at play during this matchup. What bettors can expect is a high-scoring game. Cover 2-2.
Week 5: vs Tampa Bay -10 : Carolina destroyed Tampa Bay last season by a combined 42 points in both games. The team also covered a 10-point spread during its second meeting. Cover 3-2.
Week 6: @ New Orleans -4.5 : New Orleans covered both games against Carolina as a 10- and 5.5-point underdog, and this season may not be any different. Both matchups were high-scoring shootouts. No cover 3-3.
Week 7 : bye
Week 8: vs Arizona -3.5 : Carolina mauled Carson Palmer and company during the NFC Conference Championship Game last season to the tune of a 49-15 victory. Cover 4-3.
Week 9: @ Los Angeles -6.5 : The Rams were a solid ATS squad with a 7-8-1 record last season and could cover this spread. The team has a new city, a new quarterback and a new motivation to succeed. However, what they do not have is experience. Cover 5-3.
Week 10: vs Kansas City -4.5 : Kansas City was a .500 ATS team last season with a 9-9 record (playoffs included), but managed to produce only a 1-4 ATS mark as an underdog. A matchup against the flashy Panthers, however, is a huge game that Kansas City should be ready for. No cover 5-4.
Week 11: vs New Orleans -10 : No cover 5-5.
Week 12: @ Oakland -3.5 : Cover 6-5.
Week 13: @ Seattle +3 : Cover 7-5.
Week 14: vs San Diego -10 : Cover 8-5.
Week 15: @ Washington -5 : Cover 9-5.
Week 16: vs Atlanta -8.5 : No cover 9-6.
Note : Week 17 lines are not released early since teams may rest their starters during the last game of the year.
Prediction ATS Record : 10-6 or 9-7: Carolina has a tougher schedule in 2016 with matchups against AFC and NFC West teams. Expect the season to start off slowly ATS-wise but pick up toward the end of the year when the Panthers get on a roll.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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