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Best Bets for Panthers in 2023: Growing Pains for Carolina

Expect Better in 2024

Our NFL predictions expect the Carolina Panthers to have a tough season, which could involve missing the NFL playoffs.

The sportsbook has them at -260 to miss the playoffs with rookie quarterback Bryce Young, who could find professional life much different than college.

Best Bets for Panthers in 2023: Growing Pains for Carolina
Tommy Tremble #82 talks with Taylor Moton #72 of the Carolina Panthers | Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

Winning Won’t Come Easy

We don’t expect many NFL picks to have the Panthers winning too many games.

Bookmakers have the regular season wins total at 7½, which is a fair assessment given how many unknowns there are.

A lot depends on how Young adjusts to the NFL. There’s no doubting his ability at the college level, which included 59 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his last two years with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

However, as we saw with the likes of Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, he might need a season or two to fully realize his potential.

It also hurts not having premier running back Christian McCaffery. Miles Sanders is a solid replacement. However, the Panthers might have given up too much to get Young when they traded for the No. 1 overall pick with the Chicago Bears.

Therefore, we can’t see them winning more than 7½ games. We expect them to be a good team in 2-3 years, but for now, we’re happy to bet against them with sport betting markets.

Points at a Premium

NFL betting odds have the Panthers total team points at 355½, so with Young at quarterback, it expects more points.

The Panthers scored 347 points last season from 7 wins and 10 losses. Though Young brings some excitement to the offense, we excerpt fewer points to be scored in this system.

Turnovers could hinder their chances of putting up points, and they often have to settle for a field-goal attempt. Carolina often builds its victories on defense late in the game, so we expect many of its games to be around the 23-20 score line.

The offensive line has shown weakness during the NFL preseason, which has effected Young negatively.

“We had to keep it real with each other,” veteran tackle Cam Erving said. “The bleep wasn’t good enough. Top to bottom, no matter if it’s preseason, regular season, the bleep was not good enough. Any level, from any position, myself included, especially my bleeping self.”

“We found out he (Young) can take a hit. I mean, that wasn’t really a surprise coming from where he played college ball. But that kid has been doing everything the right way, and we have to make sure we do a better job of protecting him.”

Our NFL expert picks expect the Panthers to struggle scoring, so under 355½ is worth entertaining.

Thielen to Reel In Receptions

Adam Thielen, the former Minnesota Vikings, was the star offseason signing for the Panthers.

The 33-year-old had 70 receptions for the Vikings in 2022, and although he had Kirk Cousins throwing to him, there is value with his 2023 line.

Bookmakers have Thielen’s reception total at 55½. We expect Young to target Thielen consistently throughout the year at the wide receiver position, and he’s good at picking up targets in the middle of the field as well.

He might not have a career year with his new team, but picking up short yardages shouldn’t be a problem.

“I wanted to be in an opportunity where I feel like we could build something special, and that’s kind of how I felt with the pieces that were being put in place here. We had the opportunity to draft Bryce (Young), and it was a really exciting opportunity for me,” Thielen said.

There is confidence coming from the Panthers camp about Thielen, and he should be the leader on the field. We know he’ll put his hand up and Young should have an open receiver consistently.

Young to Throw Most Interceptions

We wish Young all the best, but for the sake of locking in value, we hope he throws a lot of interceptions.

Young quarterbacks can force the issue, especially if their team is struggling, so Young could rack up the interceptions towards the end of the season.

The current market favorite is Josh Allen at +1000, which is harsh for the Buffalo Bills quarterback. However, we’re more interested in the +3000 for Young.

Many believe he will run a lot of hand-offs to the running backs, but Young will let the ball soar.

The price is too good to ignore.

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