The Carolina Panthers (0-2) travel to Glendale this weekend for an all-NFC showdown with the Arizona Cardinals (0-1-1). Kickoff is set for 4:05 PM EST on September 22nd at University of Phoenix Stadium and the game will be broadcast on FOX.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Cardinals listed as 3-point home underdogs. That line has shifted down by half a point after early betting, as Arizona is currently available at +2.5. The total for this matchup is 46.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 3 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Cardinals vs Panthers Game Odds & Betting Preview
The Panthers really struggled on Thursday Night Football in Week 2, falling 20-14 at home to Tampa Bay. Carolina trailed by just a single point at halftime but couldn’t find a way to pull off a comeback in the second half, getting outscored by the Bucs 10-5 over the final thirty minutes of the game. QB Cam Newton was clearly not at 100%, completing less than 50% of his throws and failing to score a touchdown through the air or on the ground. The Panthers will turn to backup Kyle Allen here in Week 3, as it was announced that Newton will sit this one out due to a foot injury. RB Christian McCaffrey also struggled to get going against the Buccaneers, rushing for just 37 yards despite getting 16 carries. The trio of Greg Olsen, Curtis Samuel, and D.J. Moore had a better showing, combining for almost 300 receiving yards.
The Panthers defense played pretty well in Week 2, limiting Tampa Bay to just over 300 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. Carolina also recorded at safety at the tail end of the fourth quarter after tackling RB Peyton Barber in the end zone.
Arizona couldn’t find a way to win their first game of the season in Week 2, falling 23-17 on the road in Baltimore. The Cardinals trailed 17-6 at the half and never recovered, scoring 11 points over the final two quarters to lose by six. QB Kyler Murray looked good in his second ever NFL start, going 25/40 for 349 passing yards against a tough Ravens defense. RB David Johnson was totally ineffective, rushing seven times for just 14 yards on the ground. However, the receiving duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk continued to perform, combining for 218 receiving yards despite having a less than ideal matchup.
The Cardinals defense was average at best in Week 2, allowing Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson to throw for 272 yard and two touchdowns. Jackson also torched Arizona on the ground, rushing 16 times for 120 yards.
Free NFL Betting Predictions and Pick: Cardinals +2.5
There are just too many question marks on offense for Carolina right now for me to back an 0-2 team playing on the road – especially since I can get an extra 2.5 points by taking the Cardinals. Kyler Murray has been excellent early on in his NFL career, throwing for at least 300 yards in each of his first two starts. I was especially impressed by how composed Murray looked on the road in Baltimore in Week 2, as the Ravens defense is still fairly formidable when playing at home. On the other side, the Panthers offense is really struggling right now, managing just 14 points against a below average Bucs defense. Throw in the fact that they will be without Cam Newton here in Week 3, and I’ll happily take the underdog – in fact, I think Arizona wins this game outright.
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The Cardinals receiving corps have been both impressive and well-balanced through two games, as Kirk, Fitzgerald and even Damiere Byrd are all off to a very solid start this season. I have no idea what to expect with Kyle Allen under center for Carolina, especially since TE Greg Olsen appears to be battling an injury and is currently listed as questionable. Even if McCaffrey, Moore, and Samuels help Allen maintain his composure out of the gate, I think Arizona forces the backup into some mistakes en route to their first victory of the season. Give me Arizona and the 2.5 points!