A pair of 3-1 will battle for NFC supremacy this week when the Carolina Panthers visit the Detroit Lions. Game time is 1:00 EST on Sunday, October 8 at Ford Field in Detroit. Fans can watch the game on Fox.

Oddsmakers list the Lions as 3-point favorites at home. The over/under for the game is set at 44 points. Click here for a full list of the Week 5 betting odds and links to more game previews.

Panthers vs Lions Game Betting Preview & Vegas Odds

The Panthers have reached 3-1 primarily because of their defense. To be fair, the Carolina offense played its part during last week’s surprise win against the Patriots. But through a quarter of the season, the Panthers have a top-5 defense that has carried the team.

On top of playing a road game against a good team, the Panthers are also dealing with the fallout of Cam Newton’s insensitive comments about women. It’s actually funny that Newton would assume someone else has shortcomings when he’s been far from his best this season, throwing as many interceptions as touchdowns. The controversy surrounding his comments is just one more question Newton will have to answer this week.

The Lions have also been led by a top-5 defense early in the season, to the surprise of many. That’s not to say the Detroit offense has been inept. Matthew Stafford isn’t exactly on pace to reach the Pro Bowl, but he’s avoiding turnovers better than he ever has, throwing just one interception in his first four games. It’s that efficiency that has helped the Lions reach 3-1.

Free NFL Pick Against the Spread: Lions -3

This is a tough game to call, but I’ll lean toward the Lions. Detroit is not only the home team, but the Lions have a better balance between offense and defense, which gives them the better chance to win. Even with three points to cover, I’ll take Detroit.

Newton and the Carolina offense got things going last week. But that was against a dreadful New England defense. The Patriots have one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL right now, so it’s easy to see how the Panthers had success moving the ball. Carolina will find things much more difficult this week against a defense that has forced three turnovers in each of the past two weeks.

Click on the link for more free NFL betting predictions from our experts on staff.

On the other side of the ball, I don’t expect Stafford and the Detroit offense to have it easy either. However, with recent games against the Vikings and Giants, the Lions know what it’s like to face a stout defensive team. While Stafford wasn’t exactly a gunslinger in either game, the Lions managed to maintain a steady running game and avoid turnovers against both the Vikings and Giants. Ultimately, that was enough to win the game when combined with a strong defensive effort. The Lions can follow a similar formula this week.

With both teams much better on defense than offense, I expect this to be a low-scoring affair. In fact, the under isn’t a bad bet in this game. However, the Lions have been a little better at finding the end zone this season, while the Panthers have had to settle for field goals far too often. That difference will be enough to give the Lions a win that also beats the 3-point spread.