The Panthers acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns in early July. Mayfield is competing with Sam Darnold for the starting QB position. The Panthers will host the Browns at Bank of America Stadium in Week 1 of the NFL Season.
Odds to Win the NFC South & Division Outlook
Here’s a look at NFL betting odds being offered across the sports betting industry on this year’s winner of the NFC South:
|Team||BetMGM Odds||DraftKings Odds||FanDuel Odds|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-275||-250||-270|
|New Orleans Saints||+350||+310||+350|
Tampa Bay is the betting favorite to win the division again this season. Tom Brady returns at the age of 45 to pursue a record eighth Super Bowl title. It’s difficult to envision a scenario outside of injuries in which a team other than the Bucs wins the NFC South this year. That said, New Orleans actually swept the Buccaneers last season.
Carolina could also become a surprise contender if Mayfield stays healthy and continues his maturation at the QB position. He brings a competitive fire under center that was sorely missing last season.
Atlanta is in rebuilding mode, and the Falcons aren’t likely to factor in this year’s division race. Journeyman QB Marcus Mariota is No. 1 on the team’s depth chart. Not good.
Making a Case for the Carolina Panthers
Right off the top: The Panthers need RB Christian McCaffrey to play a full regular season if they are to have any chance to win the NFC South. CMC hasn’t played a full season since 2019 when he had more than 1,000 yards rushing and receiving. He had 19 TDs that year, too. When he’s healthy, McCaffrey is one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.
The Panthers’ offense should be much improved under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. To be fair, the team’s two-year stretch of mediocrity has largely been the result of a QB carousel involving Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, PJ Walker, and a highly diminished Cam Newton. Carolina has posted consecutive five-win seasons, and head coach Matt Rhule needs a breakout year to solidify his future in Charlotte.
WRs DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson will be two explosive targets for Mayfield, who’ll also have TEs Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble doing damage underneath. Don’t forget about McCaffrey’s ability to catch the ball out of the backfield either.
Carolina’s defense should be stout again this season. It ranked second in the NFL last year in yards allowed per game (305.9). DE Brian Burns is one of the NFL’s most effective edge rushers. He had nine sacks last season.
There’s some concern about the linebacking corps. Middle linebacker Shaq Thompson did not participate in training camp after recovering from a knee procedure. He remained on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list when Carolina ended camp on Thursday, but he is expected to start the season.
The Panthers have one of the best secondaries in the league led by free safety Jeremy Chinn. CB Jaycee Horn is back from injury to join fellow corner Donte Jackson. Former Minnesota Viking Xavier Woods was a valuable offseason addition for Carolina.
Where to put your money down: Best NFL betting sites in NC
Carolina has a chance to be near the top of the NFC South this season. Does that mean it can supplant Tampa Bay as division champion? We honestly don’t think so but expect the Panthers to make their mark this season. The forecast here calls for nine wins as Carolina competes for the NFC’s final wildcard spot.
We’re not touting a bet on the Panthers to win the NFC South, but here’s a recommended play. Bet on Carolina’s season wins total going over 6.5 at -110 odds courtesy of DraftKings. Mayfield will mean the difference between winning at least two games that were lost due to dreadful QB play a season ago.
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)