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Bank on Derek Carr having big passing day vs Panthers on MNF

Derek Carr was brought in to lead the Saints to higher offensive outputs, and I think that’s exactly what he’ll do against the Panthers Monday night in Carolina.

The New Orleans Saints and Derek Carr will look to continue developing chemistry against the Panthers in Week 2. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
The New Orleans Saints and Derek Carr will look to continue developing chemistry against the Panthers in Week 2. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)Read moreJonathan Bachman / Getty Images

Derek Carr has the fifth most passing yards and passing touchdowns among active NFL quarterbacks. After spending nine seasons in a Raiders uniform, Carr joined the Saints and put up 305 yards and a touchdown in his team’s first game against a gritty Titans defense.

Entering the Saints’ Monday Night Football game against the Panthers, it could be argued Carr is being under shadowed by the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, Bryce Young. But I’m not sold on the Panthers offensive line giving Young much of a fighting chance.

Instead, my focus entering this game is on Carr and the Saints’ passing attack. BetMGM has just 1.5 passing touchdowns as Carr’s over or under prop at +105 odds. I don’t see any reason Carr can’t exceed that amount.

  1. Read what the best NFL betting sites are to find Derek Carr passing prop bets

Saints vs Panthers prediction: Analysis

(7:15 p.m. ET Monday, ESPN)

Neither the Saints or Panthers offense looked like world beaters out of the gate last week. New Orleans tallied 351 total yards but only scored 16 points in part due to the team’s struggles in the red zone. Carr was also sacked four times, with a lot of the Titans’ pass rush coming when New Orleans was in the red zone.

As for the Panthers, Young and the offense couldn’t have looked shakier in their 24-10 loss. While Carolina outgained the Falcons by 60 yards, Carolina was 0/2 on fourth down and 5/14 on third down. Young completed just 52.6% of his passes and threw two interceptions, with both of them being bad reads by the number one pick.

Injuries are something to keep in mind for this game. The Panthers are without cornerback Jaycee Horn, who’s one of the rising stars at the position in the NFL. Their two starting guards are out, and wide receiver D.J. Chark is questionable.

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Without Chark, the Panthers’ wide receivers struggled mightily to get open in Week 1. Hayden Hurst and Miles Sanders were their leading pass-catchers with all four of their wide receivers catching just two passes.

As tight as the Saints game finished in Week 1, their passing attack was humming. Chris Olave caught eight balls for 112 yards, Michael Thomas pitched in with five catches and 61 yards, and second year player Rashid Shaheed had a breakout game.

On the defensive side of the ball, I can see both units doing a good job containing the run. That will make both teams have to air it out more and level out the time of possession battle.

We saw the Saints hold their own and hold Derrick Henry to 63 yards a week ago. Although Carolina struggled against the run, the Saints’ offensive line is much weaker than Atlanta’s unit which should be one of the best in the league this season.

Saints vs Panthers prediction: Pick

  1. Derek Carr over 1.5 passing touchdowns at BetMGM (+105)

Carr might have the fifth most passing touchdowns amongst active NFL quarterbacks, but he averages just 1.52 passing touchdowns per game on his career. It’s fitting that’s his career average with BetMGM’s prop bet having it over or under 1.5 passing touchdowns.

Although Carolina still has Donte Jackson as a reliable cornerback option, the Saints’ wide receiver trio of Olave, Thomas, and Shaheed is going to be incredibly tough to contain.

When New Orleans reaches the red zone, that’s when I can see Carr lighting it up. Carolina’s defense struggled in the red zone against the Falcons in the opening game and I can see history repeating itself.

Although Olave isn’t known for his touchdown prowess in the red zone, the likes of Thomas, Juwan Johnson, Taysom Hill, and others make up for that by being bonafide red zone targets.

Jamaal Williams is the biggest concern I have over Carr’s touchdown prop not being met. Williams scored 17 touchdowns in 2022 and is one of the best goal-line backs in the NFL.

The Panthers’ pass rush led by Brian Burns could also make some noise against the concerning Saints’ offensive line. But ultimately, Carr has too many weapons around him for me not to be convinced he’ll score two or more touchdowns.

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