In this week’s FOX Bet $100,000 Super Six contest, I had a hard time picking which matchup I liked the best, because I had such strong feelings on so many. Eventually, I landed on …
Washington (-1.5) over Panthers
In order to win the contest you have to pick the correct margin of all six games. The score ranges are 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-14, 15-21 and 22+.
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Ron Rivera gets to go against his former team. And though he likely will downplay the revenge factor in media, and perhaps completely avoid it in the locker room, the players know. They will be inspired to play well for a coach all who encounter seem to love.
On the flip side, there won’t be any added emotion for the Panthers. Those Carolina players remaining who played for Rivera won’t be especially motivated to beat him more than they would in any game against any other team, because he roundly was adored and respected in that locker room as well.
So let’s give Washington an edge on motivation. Next, let’s also give them an edge in actual strength. The Football Team defense is OK. The same can’t be said for the Panthers, who are not good at stopping either the run or the pass. Most significantly, Washington is in the top six in sacks (40) and the Panthers are in the bottom eight (24).
Then let’s look at trends. The Panthers started 3-2 and since have gone 1-8. Washington started 1-5 and since has gone 5-3. And the WFT could potentially clinch the NFC East title, while the Panthers have no such tangible motivation.
So we fully expect the Panthers to lose. Losing teams normally lose by more than two points, even in close games, so we lean Washington on the spread. But Carolina does tend to play close games – eight of its 10 losses were by just one score (within eight points). The Panthers keep it close, but Washington wins and covers.
The pick: WFT by 4-6.
Here are the other games to pick correctly in the FOX Bet contest:
Falcons at Chiefs (-10.5): Chiefs, 7-9
Bengals at Texans (-8): Texans, 4-6
Colts (-1.5) at Steelers: Colts, 4-6
Giants at Ravens (-11): Ravens, 7-9
Rams at Seahawks (-1.5): Rams, 1-3
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