In the thick of a heated playoff race, the Green Bay Packers will head South to face the Carolina Panthers this Sunday (12/24/23). Get Packers vs. Panthers odds, picks and predictions below as the best bet is Panthers +4.5.
Packers vs Panthers Prediction
Last week could not have gone more differently for these two teams. The Panthers picked up their second win of the year — once again at the buzzer — and once again in a very meaningful situation.
After knocking off the Texans, led by #2 pick CJ Stroud at quarterback, the Panthers took down the Atlanta Falcons — a bitter divisional rival in desperate need of the win as they navigate a deadlocked division race.
As for the Packers, they also contributed to the Falcons’ demise, albeit indirectly this week. After losing to the Falcons in dramatic fashion earlier this year, the Packers were eviscerated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This week, Green Bay will be squaring up against an air offense with much less firepower, but they’ll be on high alert as they face another embattled first overall pick of below-average height for an NFL quarterback.
A loss here could be the final straw for Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and defensive coordinator Joe Barry, both of whom have been skating on thin ice in recent weeks. Quarterback Jordan Love has also looked a lot better in recent weeks, with the exception of a puzzling stinker against the New York Giants. At 6-7, the Packers are still on the fringes of the postseason picture in a weak NFC, but just barely- a loss to the worst team in the conference would likely be the final straw, so in order for the last two games of the regular season to be meaningful, this must be a win.
Interestingly enough, the Panthers’ only strength — their pass defense — squares up nicely with the Packers’ air offense, so that’s a matchup that will likely define this matchup. If Green Bay is unable to establish themselves through the air through Jordan Love — which could be challenging given the injuries to his receiving corps — they could have a tough time pulling away, or even winning at all.
This might feel like a tremendous “buy high/sell low” spot on these two teams, after the Panthers picked up a signature win and the Packers suffered a historic loss. Still, the matchup favors Carolina enough to make this play worth it, and the given spread puts this play on the right side of some significant margins.
Packers vs Panthers Prediction: Panthers +4.5
Packers vs Panthers Best Odds
The Panthers are 4.5 point underdogs at home, even after their biggest win of the year, and they’re +185 on the moneyline to win outright. The Packers are -225 to win, while the total is set fairly low at 36.5 with -110 odds on both sides.
Packers vs Panthers Key Injuries
The situation surrounding the health of top cornerback Jaire Alexander continues to be an enigma, while wideouts Christian Watson and Jayden Reed are also dealing with injuries. On Carolina’s side, the biggest injury concern is star edge rusher Brian Burns.
Packers vs Panthers Key Matchups
The Packers’ depleted passing offense will need to find a way to compete with a strong Carolina pass defense, while the Panthers will look to establish the run at home.
Panthers Ground Offense vs. Packers Run Defense
Chuba Hubbard was instrumental in helping the Panthers snap their second six-game losing streak of the season, as he chipped in exactly 87 yards for the second consecutive game. The third-year pro out of Oklahoma State has had his highest-volume season so far, as he’s already at a career high with 731 rushing yards, and he’s only trending up; three of his four highest rushing totals have come in his three most recent outings. Even behind a very questionable run-blocking o-line, he gives the Panthers a chance to compete on the ground.
He’s going to be running into a Green Bay defense that grades poorly by EPA, DVOA, PFF, or just about any other metric. Preston Smith and Rashan Gary have been strong off of the edges, although it’s been a diminished workload for the latter as he has dealt with various injury concerns. Aside from that pair on the line of scrimmage, nobody else in the front seven has earned a PFF run defense grade over 67, a pretty troubling trend for a unit that simply needs to be better if the team is going to compete.
Packers Passing Offense vs. Panthers Air Defense
Jordan Love has had his ups and downs in his first full season at the helm of the Green Bay offense, but things are trending in the right direction for the third-year passer. He’s put up a triple-digit passer rating in three of his past four games, including a pair of really sharp performances in wins over the Chiefs and Lions. Unfortunately, some of his key wideouts are hurt, so it could be a tough Sunday for Love and the Pack attack, but a stout offensive line that ranks in the top ten of most pass blocking metrics will still be largely intact.
The Panthers’ air defense has come a really long way this season under coordinator Ejiro Evero and — after a recent dip — they’re on the upswing again after the return of key cornerback Jaycee Horn. They were able to completely stifle the anemic Falcons air offense, and while they’ll struggle to generate pressure against that Packers o-line, the secondary should be more than able to handle a greatly diminished wideout corps.
Packers Depth Chart
Panthers Depth Chart
North Carolina Sports Betting Update
While North Carolina regulators are not in a position to launch sports betting prior to the 2024 Super Bowl, there is a chance that residents of the Tar Heel state will be able to begin wagering on sports ahead of March Madness. For up-to-date information on the legal state of sports betting, check out Lineups.com’s North Carolina sports betting page. When North Carolina does launch individuals will be able to bet on everything from spread bets to player props to same game parlays and more. Each app slated to launch in the state will also offer a new user bonus to all prospective bettors. The earliest North Carolina will launch is briefly after the Super Bowl and the latest is June of 2024.