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Panthers and Cowboys heavy favourites in NFL wildcard action

Carolina Panthers will be shooting for their fifth consecutive SU win when they take on the struggling Arizona Cardinals as 6.5-point favourites with Coral in NFL Wild Card weekend.

The 7-8-1 Panthers’ season appeared to be lost following a 31-13 loss to Minnesota in Week 13. That loss was their sixth straight, dropping them to 3-8-1 and a distant third place in the underachieving NFC South but, following four consecutive wins, Carolina claimed their second successive division title and home-field advantage on Wild Card Weekend.

Overall, the Panthers have struggled to reward punters of late, going 4-6 ATS in their last 10, and 2-2 ATS during their current win streak, but played strong defense in December, allowing just 10.75 points per game over their last four outings.

Arizona (11-5) held top spot in the NFC West for much of the season, but have struggled down the stretch after losing both starting QB Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton to injury.

The Cardinals are a shaky 2-4 SU and 3-3 ATS in their last six, averaging just 10.5 points per game, and are a dismal 3-7 SU in their last 10 against Carolina.

In the other NFC Wild Card matchup, Dallas Cowboys (12-4) take on Detroit Lions (11-5) as 6.5-point favourites.

Dallas are 6-1 SU in their last seven, 5-2 ATS. The Cowboys have played their best football on the road this season, going a perfect 8-0 SU, 7-1 ATS, while outscoring opponents by an average margin of 13.6 points in their last five road contests.

Yet Dallas have struggled at home, going 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS this season, despite facing playoff-bound teams on just two occasions.

The Lions, meanwhile, fell short of their first division title since 1993, dropping a 30-20 decision in Green Bay last weekend that handed the Packers first place in the NFC North. Despite that loss and a mediocre 7-9 ATS record, including just three ATS wins in their last 10, the Detroit have enjoyed a solid campaign, bolstered by the NFL’s best rush defense.

In the AFC, Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5) return to the post-season following a two-year absence, and are pegged as three-point favourites over the Baltimore Ravens.

Pittsburgh claimed the AFC North title with a 27-17 win over Cincinnati last weekend, extending their current SU and ATS win streak to four games. Overall, the Steelers are a solid 6-2 SU at home this season, 5-3 ATS, including a dominating 43-23 win over the Ravens in Week 9.

Baltimore earned the final AFC Wild Card last weekend with a 20-10 win over Cleveland. However, the 10-6 Ravens are 1-4 ATS in their last five and have never posted a post-season win over the Steelers.

The 10-5-1 Bengals travel to Indianapolis on Sunday where they will take on AFC South champions Colts as 3.5-point underdogs in NFL betting at Coral.

Three weeks ago, the 11-5 Colts clinched their fourth division title in six years, and are 5-1 SU in their last six including three straight wins at home, but are just 1-2-1 ATS in their last four.

It has been a roller-coaster season for Cincy, who are 5-7-1 ATS in their last 13, including a stunning 27-0 loss in Indianapolis in Week 7, but are 4-1 SU in five road contests since, including three outright wins as underdogs.