As one of the two remaining 0-4 teams in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers will be looking to reverse their fortunes this Sunday (10/8/23) as they visit the Detroit Lions. Get Panthers vs. Lions odds, predictions and picks below as our best bet is Lions -10.
Panthers vs Lions Best Bet
So far, it’s been an absolutely brutal start to the Bryce Young era in Carolina. The Panthers are one of two teams in the entire league who haven’t won a game, and the other one owns the Panthers’ first round pick in 2024, so they’re not even tanking; they’re just losing over and over. Young, the first pick in this spring’s NFL draft, is PFF’s second-worst qualifying passer who has appeared in multiple games, with one big time throw compared to six turnover worthy plays. It doesn’t help that #2 pick C.J. Stroud has looked outstanding in Houston, making Young’s situation look even worse and putting pressure on the Panthers and Young himself.
Of course, Young is far from the only source of the Panthers’ woes. The receiving group just might be the NFL’s worst, the offensive line is near the bottom of the league in every meaningful metric, and the defense is 26th in DVOA and 22nd in EPA. They achieved the impressive feat of allowing 24 points to Desmond Ridder’s Falcons, an offense that has combined for 13 points against the Jaguars and Lions in their past two games.
Speaking of the Lions, after a meaningful but shaky win over the Chiefs on opening day, they’ve looked like a totally different team, excelling on both sides of the ball. Their run defense has been a particular surprise, ranking third in the league by DVOA, spurring the overall defense to the fifth-best mark by that same metric. In fact, the Lions are considered the third best team in all of football by DVOA, and 8th by net EPA.
The team has suffered some injuries, but after a strong finish to last year, their hot start appears to be very much legit. After a second-consecutive win at Lambeau Field, the Lions are poised to take control of the NFC North for the first time ever. Conversely, the Panthers just lost to an NFC North squad, the Vikings, after they couldn’t hold on to a second half lead and Young couldn’t hold on to the football as Minnesota grabbed the lead for good on a strip sack fumble recovery.
This is a really tough one to bet, as the number sits in the mid-40s, and the spread at 10 points at most sportsbooks. We cannot possibly bet the over, considering the matchup between the Carolina offense and Detroit defense, but the Lions could very well score at will in this one with most of their offense now active and healthy. The spread is also a tough sell- double-digit NFL spreads are few and far between- but playing at home with the extra rest afforded by a Thursday Night Football appearance, the Lions should be able to make this one a genuine laugher and cover with ease, especially if you shop around and find a number in single digits.
Panthers vs Lions Best Bet: Lions -9
Panthers vs Lions Best Odds
Oct. 08, 12:00 PM Spread Moneyline Total 67% of staff picked CAR to cover the spread Odds updated October 8th, 2023, at 3:02 pm
CAR @ DET
Oct. 08, 12:00 PM
67% of staff picked CAR to cover the spread
Odds updated October 8th, 2023, at 3:02 pm
The Lions are 10 point favorites at most sportsbooks, but you can find them at -9 if you want to bet on them. The total is set at 45, with -110 odds on either side.
Panthers vs Lions Key Injuries
The Panthers will be missing key defenders Shaq Thompson and Jaycee Horn, while Bryce Young himself has been in and out of the lineup. As for the Lions, C.J. Gardner-Johnson is a huge loss in the secondary, while key offensive players Amon-Ra St. Brown and David Montgomery are both banged up as well
Panthers vs Lions Key Matchups
Keeping Young upright is going to be key for the Panthers if they want to win any games this year, and to protect his future, while the Lions will look to run the ball all game long, so let’s take a look at how these teams match up at the line of scrimmage.
Panthers Offensive Line vs. Lions Front Seven
One of the biggest issues early on in Young’s tenure has been the Panthers offensive line. They haven’t given him enough time to sit back and make his reads, and the failure to establish a run game has been a serious issue as well, forcing the rookie to shoulder too much of the load. The rushing offense is 27th in the league in DVOA and 25th in EPA, while the passing success hasn’t been too much different. PFF would place most of that blame on the o-line, as Carolina is ranked 29th in their pass blocking grade and 25th in run blocking.
They’ll have their hands full with a Lions defensive front that has been shockingly effective. They’re first in the league in rushing success rate allowed, and third in run defense DVOA. Second year d-end Aidan Hutchinson has been absolutely fantastic in pass rush, while linebacker Jack Campbell has been a standout in run stopping.
Lions Rushing Offense vs. Panthers Run Defense
The Lions have the fourth-best run blocking line in PFF’s rankings, and it showed as they ran for 211 yards in a huge win against the rival Packers. David Montgomery has served as the lead back, while Rookie Jahmyr Gibbs has looked great but been grossly underutilized.
The Panthers defense is considered the league’s very worst by both EPA and DVOA. This mismatch is a huge reason why I have the Lions covering the 10 point spread in my Panthers vs. Lions prediction. Derrick Brown has been solid on the d-line, but outside of him, the Panthers will need to be better to compete in this arena and stay in this game.