Free NFL Pick: Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Date/Time: August 22, 2013 8:00 pm EST
NFL Gambling Odds from BetDSI
NFL Betting Favorite: Ravens -3
The Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens will get together for a nationally televised preseason game this Thursday night on ESPN. The Ravens have looked good in the preseason thus far despite lots of roster changes. The Panthers are 1-1, but they have looked pretty solid. It’s week three of the preseason, which means this will be the game that is most like a regular season game. Let’s take a look at both teams.
Cam Newton didn’t play much in week one, but he threw 17 passes and completed eight of them in last week’s game. Newton is clearly the guy that makes this offense go, and he’ll have to be great if the Panthers are going to compete in a very tough NFC South division. The Panthers played as well as anyone down the stretch last year, but they have to get off to a much better start this season. The running back spot is a position of strength for the Panthers. Tauren Poole and Kenjon Barner have both been good in the preseason, and they should get a lot of looks again in this one.
Carolina’s defense was bad at the beginning of the year last year, but their improvement throughout the season helped this team finish very strong. Luke Kuechly has been a terrific addition to this defense, and his ability and leadership skills have really made a difference for this team. I loved the Panthers drafting Star Lotulelei in the first round this year. Lotulelei is dominating force on the defensive line, and I expect big things out of him. This defense has a good chance to be improved once again.
The Baltimore Ravens were crowned Super Bowl Champions at the end of last season, but this year’s team has a very different look. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed have been the heart and soul of this franchise for a long time, but they are both gone now. Joe Flacco got a massive contract in the offseason, and he is expected to be the guy to take this team back to the Super Bowl once again. Ray Rice is still one of the most dynamic runners in the NFL, and he’ll frustrate defenses for many more years. Anquan Boldin moved on in the offseason, so the Ravens are looking for some wide receivers to step up.
The defense got a nice boost when Elvis Dumervil signed with the team in the offseason. Dumervil gives the team an excellent pass rusher who can make a living in the opponents’ backfield. Baltimore’s offense has been excellent in the preseason. The Ravens have put up 71 points in two preseason games. Tyrod Taylor has been great as the team’s backup quarterback. Torrey Smith caught a 77 yard touchdown pass in the team’s 27-23 win over Atlanta last week.
Free NFL Pick: Ravens -3
The Ravens have looked good so far in the preseason. With both teams playing the starters more this game, I think it is Baltimore that has the edge. Look for the Ravens to win and cover.