Early odds and prediction as the Carolina Panthers begin their NFC South title quest at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 of the 2023 season.
After months of roster building, widespread changes to those in positions of power, and strenuous preparations, the Carolina Panthers finally get their 2023 season underway with a divisional matchup at the Atlanta Falcons. This represents the perfect chance to set the tone under head coach Frank Reich versus an NFC South foe on the road, but doubts are surfacing about the status of one key individual ahead of the clash.
According to Reich, stud edge rusher Brian Burns didn't participate in a walk-through on Monday, citing a personal matter. He was in the facility, which led many to believe this was largely down to not having a new contract agreed with competitive action on the immediate horizon.
This is a game of chicken between the Panthers and the San Francisco 49ers, who are currently working out a market-resetting contract with Nick Bosa. Which organization blinks first remains to be seen, but veteran linebacker Shaq Thompson demanded that those in the front office get this done so that Burns can rejoin his teammates on the practice field by Wednesday at the latest.
Atlanta will be hoping this situation drags on and Burns decides not to participate this weekend. They'll also see this as a winnable game to begin the season, but their fortunes rest squarely on the shoulders of second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder as he embarks on a journey into the unknown as an NFL starter.
Carolina Panthers at Falcons odds for Week 1
According to the latest odds from FanDuel Sportsbook, the Panthers are 3.5-point underdogs at the Falcons in Week 1. This can be bet at -110 in both directions depending on which side of the spread you choose (bet $110 to win $100).
Anyone wishing to wager Carolina on the money line can do so at +148 (bet $100 to win $148), with Atlanta favored on home turf to get their campaign off to the best possible start at -176 (bet $176 to win $100). The over/under for the game is set at 39.5 points, which is available at -110 on either side.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Carolina Panthers at Falcons prediction for Week 1
It's hard to gauge just where the Panthers are going to be at this stage of their development. This is Bryce Young's first competitive start and if primary pass-catchers such as Terrace Marshall Jr. and D.J. Chark cannot go, then it's going to be a real problem.
If Burns doesn't take part - which does seem unlikely - it would be a disaster to their hopes of an opening day triumph. But if everyone is available and things start clicking once the schematics open up, they have an outstanding chance.
Momentum is high and the Panthers have a better infrastructure in place than under the previous coaching regime. Therefore, we're tentatively predicting a win to start the season - although it does seem like fine margins with so many unknowns on both sides.
How to watch Carolina Panthers at Falcons in Week 1
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The game will also be shown on FOX.