Panthers 2020 Betting Record
Point Spread: 9-7
After some massive upheaval, the Carolina Panthers faced a rebuilding phase in 2020. Their previous season’s record of 5-11 led to the firing of coach Ron Rivera, to be replaced by rookie coach Matt Rhule. They cut quarterback Cam Newton, after failing to find a trade partner, replacing him with Teddy Bridgewater. They also lost Luke Kuechly to retirement.
The new-look Panthers were not met with approval by the sportsbook who lined them with a 5½ total on season wins. Their Super Bowl odds before the opening game wallowed among the lowest on the board at 200 to 1.
Despite the shakeup, the Panthers would conclude the year matching their same record as the previous 5-11 season.
In their home opener, the Panthers took a fourth-quarter lead against the Las Vegas Raiders on a monster 75-yard touchdown by Teddy Bridgewater to Robby Anderson. They would go on to give up that lead, narrowly losing 34-30. The following week, they’d be clobbered by the Buccaneers, 31-17, losing Christian McCaffrey in the process. McCaffrey would rehab for months trying to get back onto the field.
Despite that loss, they did rebound with back-to-back wins. They handled the Los Angeles Chargers in a game that could have been worse than its 21-16 final. Same the following week, as Bridgewater scored a rushing touchdown in their 31-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
At 2-2, they trailed the Buccaneers by a game plus the tie-breaker but, barring the McCaffrey injury, felt good about their start.
Point Spread: 2-2
Breaking a five-year losing streak in Atlanta, the Panthers hit their season’s peak in Week 5 after defeating the Falcons 23-16 in a game that cost Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn his job. At 3-2, the Panthers were tied in standing atop the NFC South and could look ahead to their rematch with the Buccaneers or the week ahead against the Saints, with whom they were also tied.
Maybe they were looking ahead the following week when they dropped a game to the Chicago Bears. Posted as two-point favorites, Bridgewater threw two interceptions making the fourth-quarter deficit too large to surmount, and Carolina fell back to a .500 record, losing 23-16.
That was the beginning of the end, as Bridgewater was unable next to beat his old team, the Saints. Though they put up a respectable effort and covered as touchdown underdogs, Carolina ultimately lost 27-24. The following week laid out in primetime their dire situation, as they lost to the 1-6 Falcons after being kicked to death by Younghoe Koo. The 25-17 loss left the Panthers with a 3-5 record and a panic to earn a wild card.
Point Spread: 2-2
Carolina held tough with the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead in Week 9, only giving up the lead in the third quarter, ultimately losing 33-31. Christian McCaffrey returned for this game to score two touchdowns, drive fantasy players nuts, and would not end up playing again for the rest of the season.
Whatever postseason hopes could be pinned on winning a wild card took a severe hit the following week when the Panthers got pasted 46-23 by the Bucs who swept their series and knocked Teddy Bridgewater out of the game, sidelining him for the following week.
With no Bridgewater or McCaffrey, and a worse record than the Lions, it was no surprise the Panthers were field-goal underdogs at home against Detroit in NFL betting markets. What was a surprise was the 20-0 shutout dealt to the Lions with Panthers’ backup P.J. Walker under center.
Any plans of taking their rescheduled late (Week 13) bye week as a consideration of postseason prep went out the window the next week. Against his other old team, Teddy Bridgewater returned to lose a squeaker to the Minnesota Vikings. Despite three Minnesota fumbles, Bridgewater’s Vikings replacement Kirk Cousins played above his skis and scored three touchdowns, edging the Panthers 28-27.
Point Spread: 3-1
Limping into their all-too-late bye week with a 4-8 record, they emerged as 4-point favorites hosting the Denver Broncos with the same record. The Broncos handily won 32-27 in a final that doesn’t reflect the loss. To even less surprise, they lost the following week to the Packers in Green Bay, though only by eight, at least giving their backers a point-spread win or push.
Though it’s hard to find NFL teams with 4-10 record favored in a game, that’s what happened when they visited Washington and the Football Team was down to Dwayne Haskins at quarterback. Managing to fight the Washington stout defense, the Panthers posted a 20-13 victory, giving them their fifth and final mark in the win column for the season.
That season finale would be marked by a 33-7 thumping at the hands of the playoff-bound Saints, who needed the win for playoff position and the second seed. Ultimately, Bridgewater would be benched for Walker in a game in which the Panthers wouldn’t even catch a whiff of covering their teaser.
Point Spread: 2-2
Divisional Record: 1-5
Conference Record: 4-8
Full Season Grade: C+
Looking Ahead to Next Season
Debate is underway as to who will start at quarterback next season for the Panthers. Will Bridgewater be replaced by P.J. Walker? Will they sign someone or trade? Sitting in the middle of the pack with regard to cap space at just over $18-million they do have some room to maneuver. Or will they use their first draft pick to pick someone from the QB rich class?
They are expected to re-sign their larger-name unrestricted free agents, right tackle Taylor Moton and wide receiver Curtis Samuel.
Still, they really need cornerbacks, not to mention further support on the defensive line, along with needs on O-line, tight end, etc. They select eighth overall in the draft.
Uh … Christian McCaffrey is still talking about how excited he is for next year? (Maybe he thinks he’ll be traded.) The pair of receivers, D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, work well together. Otherwise, there’s not much that stands out as the corner post of next seasion’s campaign.
Predicted Record for 2021 Season: 5-11
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