Sunday, October 4, 2020, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1 p.m. ET
Cardinals at Panthers at Betting Preview: Cardinals (-3.5/+100), Panthers (+3.5/-120)
DeAndre Hopkins is enjoying a stellar start in his first three games with the Cardinals (2-1) as his partnership with quarterback Kyler Murray is flourishing even faster than anticipated.
Hopkins, who was acquired from the Houston Texans in the offseason, leads the NFL in both receptions (32) and receiving yardage (356) and already has two different games of 10 or more catches. Hopkins has become a huge favorite of Murray at a time when future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald (12 catches, 84 yards with a long of 12) is declining.
Murray has thrown for 786 yards and four touchdowns but has been picked off five times after tossing three in last Sunday’s 26-23 loss to the Detroit Lions. The second-year pro also is a big threat on the ground with 187 yards and four scores with only Kenyan Drake (219) accumulating more. The Cardinals allow 20.3 points per game and have racked up 11 sacks but have yet to record an interception.
Arizona is expected to move first-round pick Isaiah Simmons from linebacker to safety for this contest with starters Budda Baker (thumb) and Jalen Thompson (ankle) sidelined and key reserve Chris Banjo (hamstring) also in danger of missing the contest. Simmons was moved all over the field for Clemson and is highly familiar with playing safety.
Teddy Bridgewater is fitting into the Panthers’ offense well and the proof is the stellar 78.6 completion percentage he has posted in back-to-back games.
Bridgewater passed for a career-best 367 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 20 before having 235 in last week’s 21-16 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The Panthers (1-2) are 10-4 all-time against the Cardinals and would like to even this season’s record with the hapless Falcons following on the slate.
Carolina remains without stellar running back Christian McCaffrey (ankle) and hard-working journeyman Mike Davis isn’t going to make enough of an impact to soften the star’s absence.
Davis rushed for 46 yards on 13 carries against the Chargers but 25 of the yards came on one carry, though he did have eight receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown. Cornerback Donte Jackson had a 66-yard interceptions return against the Chargers and is tied for the NFL lead with two picks.
The Panthers are hoping to see two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short (foot) on the field after a two-game absence. Coach Matt Rhule said they will monitor Short’s health closely leading up to game day.
Cardinals at Panthers Betting Pick for Week 4
Hopkins has caught at least eight passes in each game and 21 of his receptions haven gone for first downs. The Panthers will have to slow down the Murray-to-Hopkins combo to win this contest. Ultimately, this is the type of game in which Carolina will really miss McCaffrey so expect Arizona to pull out the win.
Cardinals at Panthers Betting Pick:
Cardinals 31, Panthers 24
Cardinals at Panthers Best Bet for October 4, 2020
Carolina has given up more than 30 points twice this season and this game rates as another possibility. Factor in the Cardinals’ injuries in the secondary and a possible shootout looms.
Cardinals at Panthers Best Bet: OVER 51 total points (-105)