The pressure is on head coach Matt Rhule to turn things around in Charlotte after posting consecutive five-win seasons since he succeeded Ron Rivera.
The Panthers have not made the playoffs since 2017, owning a disappointing 15-34 (.319) record over the last three seasons. Carolina ended last season on a seven-game losing streak and hopes star running back Christian McCaffrey can stay healthy.
The former Stanford standout is one of the league’s best running backs but he has played in just 10 games over the last two seasons due to injuries. McCaffrey, who has scored an impressive 47 touchdowns in his first 58 NFL games, will need to stay on the field if Carolina has any hopes of having a successful 2022 campaign.
AFC East Over/Under Wins Total: BUF | NE | MIA | NYJ | Division Odds
NFC East Over/Under Wins Total: DAL | PHI | WSH | NYG | Division Odds
AFC South Over/Under Wins Total: TEN | IND | HOU | JAX | Division Odds
NFC South Over/Under Wins Total: TB | NO | ATL | Division Odds
The quarterback carousel continues after the Sam Darnold experiment failed miserably last season, leading to a trade for former Browns signal-caller Baker Mayfield. Team officials have stressed its an open competition but the writing is on the wall that Mayfield will likely be the Week 1 starter against his former team.
Carolina has only won exactly five games in each of the last three years . The question facing bettors is: Can a healthy McCaffrey result in just one more win and enable the Panthers to surpass their regular-season wins total projection of 5.5 games?
“The Panthers aren’t necessarily ready to compete for a playoff spot but they did improve the roster significantly this offseason. Losing both Reddick and Gilmore in free agency hurts, but they were able to completely revamp the offensive line by drafting Ikem Ekwonu sixth and by signing Bozeman and Corbett in free agency. Carolina has the depth at corner to withstand the loss of Gilmore with Jaycee Horn, Donte Jackson, CJ Henderson, Keith Taylor Jr. and others. However, they failed to find a replacement for Reddick, which could mean Brian Burns’ path to the quarterback won’t be as easy this fall.”—Schuyler Callihan
2022 Carolina Panthers Schedule
Week 1: Browns
Week 2: At Giants
Week 3: Saints
Week 4: Cardinals
Week 5: 49ers
Week 6: At Rams
Week 7: Buccaneers
Week 8: At Falcons
Week 9: At Bengals
Week 10: Falcons
Week 11: At Ravens
Week 12: Broncos
Week 13: BYE
Week 14: At Seahawks
Week 15: Steelers
Week 16: Lions
Week 17: Buccaneers
Week 18: At Saints
Carolina begins the 2022 season as identical one-point underdogs in four consecutive games. The Panthers get the luxury of playing four of their first five games at Bank of America Stadium and are a virtual coin flip to emerge with a winning record following the opening month of the upcoming season.
The Panthers host the Browns in Week 1. Expect the Mayfield-led Panthers to be among the most popular home moneyline underdog targets as the quarterback will be highly motivated to face his former club.
After heading on the road for the only time in the month of September to face the Giants, Carolina will commence a three-game homestand in Week 3 when it hosts Jameis Winston and the Saints. The Panthers are just 2-9 (including playoffs) against their NFC South foe dating back to 2017.
In Week 4, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals invade Charlotte looking to avenge last season’s 34-10 drubbing. The Panthers, who own a six-game winning streak over Arizona, have won 13 of the last 16 meetings dating back to 2003.
In Week 5, Trey Lance and the 49ers invade Bank of America Stadium as 2.5-point road favorites before the Panthers hit the road for four of the next six games. Now healthy on both sides of the ball, San Francisco is expected to be among the best NFC teams and has the fourth-best conference odds (+750) at SI Sportsbook.
Sandwiched between four road contests is a Week 7 home showdown with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. The Panthers are 5.5-point home underdogs against a Tampa Bay squad that is 4-0 in the division rivalry since Brady became the starter.
The next three weeks finds two very winnable games against an Atlanta club that is expected to be among the worst teams in the NFL. While the Panthers are favored in both games, they have struggled versus Atlanta and lost 10 of the last 13 matchups.
Week 9 and Week 11 road dates against AFC North powers in the Bengals and Ravens will likely result in losses for a Matt Rhule club that is simply overmatched. However, Carolina should find a winning streak coming out of its Week 13 bye with three favorable contests against the Seahawks, Steelers and Lions.
The Panthers close out the regular season with two very difficult road matchups against the rival Buccaneers and Saints, who should both be fighting for playoff berths.
Carolina is only favored in three of 17 games but this schedule does offer several soft stretches. With McCaffrey’s return and the potential of a highly motivated Mayfield, the Panthers should surpass their regular season win total projection in 2022.
However, my advice is to employ successful bankroll management and shop around for a market offering a slightly higher demand of victories at substantially less juice.
BET: Over 5.5 (-222) regular-eason wins
***(Look for higher win demand at less juice)
Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.
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