From a quality standpoint, Sunday’s NFC Championship bout between the Carolina Panthers (16-1 SU, 12-5 ATS) and the Arizona Cardinals (14-3 SU, 9-8 ATS) could be the best game of the entire season. The Panthers are 3.5-point home favorites at press time with a total of 48. Kick-off is at 6:40 PM ET on FOX.
Carolina earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC after nearly running the table during the regular season. The Panthers are coming off a strong 31-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks (+3 away) in last week’s Divisional Round matchup; however, defensive end Jared Allen suffered a broken foot and is considered doubtful for Sunday after skipping Wednesday’s practice.
The No. 2 Cardinals are relatively healthy, and they’ll have the benefit of an extra day of rest after beating the Green Bay Packers (+7.5 away) 26-20 in overtime on Saturday. Arizona should have some betting value playing against likely MVP winner Cam Newton. The advanced stats suggest that Carson Palmer is the more deserving candidate, but can Palmer adjust to playing outdoors in January? Sunday’s weather forecast calls for clear skies over Bank of America Stadium, with temperatures in the low 40s at kick-off.