Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers Point Spread – Free Pick
NFL Football Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday October 17th, 2021. 1:00PM (EST)
Where: Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, NC
Point Spread: MIN +1.5/CAR -1.5 (BetNow - Beef up your bankroll with a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $1000!)
Over/Under Total: 46
The Carolina Panthers suffered their 2nd straight loss last week in relatively surprising fashion at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Panthers appeared to be in control in a rebound scenario following an ugly loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Instead, Carolina blew a 15-3 lead with the help of 3 interceptions by QB Sam Darnold in a 21-18 defeat. As a result, the Panthers will find themselves in a desperate situation on Sunday when they host the Minnesota Vikings at Bank of America Stadium. If somehow the Panthers drop another game at home, their previous 3-0 start will be all but forgotten in a season that is quickly becoming derailed.
Luckily for Carolina, the Minnesota Vikings have experienced more troubles. Before last week’s showdown with winless Detroit, the Vikings were just 1-3 SU thanks to several close losses to the Bengals, Cardinals, and Browns. In what appeared to be an obvious breakout scenario, Minnesota struggled mightily to get past the Lions in a mere 19-17 victory. QB Kirk Cousins did not play well, running back Dalvin Cook was a somewhat unexpected late scratch, and the Vikings’ defense continued to show glaring signs of trouble. Despite the numerous concerns, the Vikings have competed in every game this season and still have a chance to salvage the season. To do so, the Vikings need to get back on track with a victory over Carolina on Sunday.
Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey Injury Updates
I normally do not provide injury updates in my previews, but I think it is an important storyline going into this Vikings vs. Panthers showdown, especially with both major running backs recent absences. Panthers’ star running back Christian McCaffrey has missed two weeks with a hamstring injury despite participating in limited practices at the end of last week. Early reports from Carolina is that McCaffrey has been participating again in limited practices, and the team is hopeful he will be on the field against Minnesota. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed, but McCaffrey seems to be ready to return, and that is a huge plus for the Panthers, whose offense runs through CMC.
For Vikings star running back Dalvin Cook, the picture is less clear. Cook had swelling in his ankle last week that he was expected to play through. Instead, Cook was a game-day scratch, and there are legitimate reasons why Minnesota could put their star running back on the shelf for another week with a looming bye in week 7. With that being said, I’m not sure if the game plan changes with Cookout of the lineup. Backup running back Alexander Mattison is probably the most valuable handcuff in the league, and the Vikings rode him to victory against the Lions. Mattison ended the afternoon with 32 touches for over 150 all-purpose yards and will likely be another huge focus if Cook misses time again.
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Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers Betting Analysis
Purely from a match-up perspective, I believe the Panthers have the advantage this week. Carolina’s defense is an underrated group, especially along with the front seven, where they are allowing just 94 yards per game on the ground. The Panthers’ run defense matches well against Mike Zimmer’s run-heavy oriented offense that tends to only turn to the passing attack when falling behind. The Panthers have concerns in the secondary with the recent loss to Jaycee Horn, and newly signed CB Stephon Gilmore will not be available until at least week 7. With that being said, it would not be surprising to see receivers Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen have solid afternoons against this secondary.
One of the hardest things to handicap in match-ups is game-script. We can expect things to go a certain way, but an early defensive touchdown or big play can alter those expectations. If I had to guess, I would imagine the Panthers get the fast start and push Minnesota into a passing game-script late, which would put the total 46 in serious jeopardy. My only warning for that expectation is that it is reliant upon Panthers’ QB Sam Darnold. I am not a fan of Darnold; I never have been. However, the Panthers’ receivers with DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall, and the potential return of McCaffrey could be the perfect recipe for exploiting this Minnesota secondary. The Vikings’ pass defense is downright “burnable,” and if Darnold can avoid another disastrous performance, I believe the Panthers are the play here.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m going with my gut and taking the Panthers because they own all the upside in the match-up departments. Take Carolina -1.5. Bet your Week 6 football picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBETS!
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