Last Updated Oct 01, 2021, 11:00 AM

Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Predictions, Odds, Picks

Oct. 3, 2021
Thom Cunningham
VI Betting Expert

An intriguing NFC matchup is set for Sunday afternoon as the Dallas Cowboys look to extend their division lead when they host the Carolina Panthers, who are undefeated. Kick off is set for Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and will air on FOX from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Score Prediction: Carolina 23, Dallas 20

Best Bet: Under 51.5

Best Bet: Carolina +5

Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Predictions

The point total has gone UNDER in four of the last five meetings between both of these teams, so let's start there. Factor in that the Panthers are missing their most explosive player in Christian McCaffrey while both defenses are allowing the 13th-fewest or lower points per game. Carolina has also gone UNDER the point total in six straight games.

With a couple of trends supporting the UNDER, a key injury to Carolina's offense and two defenses allowing 23 points per game or less - it seems the UNDER 51.5 is worth shot here. Carolina also only scores 23 points per game which ranks 16th in the NFL. Expect Carolina's offense, although not bad, to struggle scoring 30 or more points in this one. The Panthers' defense should be able to hold Dallas to under 30 as well, only allowing 10 points per game this season - which ranks second the in NFL.

Carolina to win outright is a bit bold, and I don't recommend that despite a nice moneyline. The +5-point spread should be considered, as the Panthers have covered eight straight games away from Bank of America Stadium. Carolina has also covered in five of its last six games overall, but the team struggles to win outright on the road.

The Panthers have lost 10 of their last 14 road games, including four of their last five in Arlington. They have also lost 17 of their last 25 games overall. Dallas has beaten Carolina in nine of 12 meetings while also winning 15 of its last 22 home games. The issue for Dallas comes down to one trend, in terms of picking them to win SU or cover over four points - Dallas has lost four of five games SU when facing the NFC as the favorite.

That one trend isn't enough for me to put all my faith in Joe Brady and the Carolina offense, but it's enough - supported by the other trends mentioned - to think Carolina is able to keep this game close and possibly down to the wire. The UNDER seems to be the safer play between both markets, as Dallas actually has some trends to consider covering.

Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Betting Odds

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Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Betting Resources

  • Matchup: NFC South vs. NFC East
  • Date: Sunday, October 3, 2021
  • Venue: AT&T Stadium
  • Location: Arlington, Texas
  • TV-Time: FOX - 1:00 p.m. ET

Carolina Panthers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 3-0
  • ATS: 3-0
  • O/U: 0-3
  • ATS - Home: 2-0
  • ATS - Away: 1-0

With CMC out for the forseeable future, the offenses' success relies on quarterback Sam Darnold. He has been very good for Carolina so far this season, as most quarterbacks under OC Brady thrive (look at Burrow at LSU). Darnold is completing close to 70% of his passes with limited turnovers (one interception). Chubba Hubbard is expected to fill in for the injured McCaffrey, although the Panthers' offense relies on the passing game.

D.J. Moore has the potential to be the best receiver on the field Sunday, as his early season numbers have been terrific. He has a team-high 22 catches with 285 yards and a TD. His ability to get open across the middle of the field is very impressive, while rookie Terrace Marshall, Jr. is showing steady improvement to becoming a reliable big threat (10 catches on 14 targets this season).

The Panthers also have a big play receiver in Robby Anderson, the clear deep threat for this offense but the weak link is the back field. CMC has 16 catches this season which includes missing a few games - so Hubbard will need to become a factor in check down plays as the Panthers' offense is designed around getting the running back the ball in space.

The surprise for Carolina has actually been the defense this season, ranking an eye-opening second in points allowed per game. Yes, the competition has been easy for the Panthers so far - but a defensive beat down on Sean Payton's Saints should've turned more heads then it initially did. Jameis Winston is an understandably inconsistent player, but Payton's brilliant offensive mind couldn't figure out a way to crack the Carolina defense.

The defense has six takeaways this season, three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. They also have 14 total sacks, but a huge stat that stands out is the opponents' conversion rate on fourth downs. Carolina is holding teams to a 20% conversion rate on fourth downs, and just a 21.2% conversion rate on third downs - which ranks first in the entire NFL.

Dallas Cowboys Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 2-1
  • ATS: 3-0
  • O/U: 2-1
  • ATS - Home: 1-0
  • ATS - Away: 2-0

This game will have to be won by Dak Prescott, as Carolina's front seven will be very difficult to crack for running back Ezekiel Elliott. It does seem like this game will feature a larger dose of Tony Pollard, especially if Dallas elects to slow down the Panthers' defense with screens to the running backs.

Prescott is going to be the main feature of this offense though, and has been playing at an MVP-level this season. He might also have the Comeback Player of the Year Award in the bag already, as he has a 110.1 QB rating by completing over 75% of his passes with over 850 yards and six TDs. The Panthers might have trouble slowing down the receivers in this one, as CeeDee Lamb is turning into a reliable receiver for YACs and has the highest yards per reception on the team with 13.9.

Amari Cooper is the other obvious threat in the Dallas aerial attack, but it's Dalton Schultz who is quietly providing consistent numbers for Dak and this offense. Schultz has 14 catches on 143 yards and 2 TDs, while also catching 93.3% of his passes thrown his way. That's the highest catch percentage of any of the top three targets for the Cowboys.

The defense for Dallas isn't great, and might be exposed to one of the best offensive minds in all of football (Joe Brady). The team has 10 less sacks than Carolina does (only four total) and their top rusher in DeMarcus Lawrence is out. The Cowboys only have two forced fumbles and their offense actually has more fumble recoveries (3) than their defense does (2).

They do have six interceptions however, as Trevon Diggs has three of the six which includes a 59 yards touchdown return. The Dallas defense is capable of playing well in this game, but the takeaways will need to be better from the front seven which might not start against a Joe Brady offense.

Inside the Stats - Carolina Panthers

  • Record: 3-0
  • Division Standing: 1st - NFC South
  • Points Scored:
  • Points Allowed:
  • PS/G:
  • PA/G:

Inside the Stats - Dallas Cowboys

  • Record: 2-1
  • Division Standing: 1st - NFC East
  • Points Scored: 90
  • Points Allowed: 69
  • PS/G: 30 (6th)
  • PA/G: 23 (13th)

Key Players to Watch

  • CAR: Sam Darnold - QB (73/107, 888 yards, 3 TD, INT)
  • CAR: D.J. Moore - WR (22 catches, 285 yards, TD)
  • DAL: Dak Prescott - QB (86/111, 878 yards, 6 TD, 2 INT)
  • DAL: CeeDee Lamb - WR (18 catches, 251 yards, TD)

Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Betting Conclusion

The oddsmakers are putting a lot into Dallas at home, and particularly the offense. It's rare to see a point total line above 50 when one of the teams playing has the second-best defense in the NFL. The trends support an UNDER play here, along with the Carolina defense only allowing 10 points per game. Carolina should also cover the somewhat large +5-point spread with eight straight road covers.

I have little conviction in Dallas losing SU however, so if you want to play it safe then the Cowboys winning SU is the best bet. It's far too expensive however, but all the trends support Dallas winning a close game.

Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys Betting Trends

  • Carolina has gone UNDER the point total in six straight games.
  • Carolina has covered the spread in eight straight road games.
  • Dallas has won 15 of its last 22 home games.
  • The point total has gone UNDER in four of the last five meetings.
  • Dallas has won nine of its last 12 games when facing Carolina.

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