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Panthers at Dolphins: What bettors need to know

Carolina Panthers at Miami Dolphins (+4.5, 41)

While the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints continue to steal the headlines, the best team in the NFC just might be the Carolina Panthers. Carolina aims for its seventh straight win Sunday when Cam Newton and company pay a visit to the Miami Dolphins. Not only have the Panthers rebounded in impressive fashion from their 1-3 start, but their last two wins - at San Francisco and versus New England - have been particularly eye-catching.

Following the Panthers' 24-20 win over the Patriots on "Monday Night Football," Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said: "The whole world was watching, and we did a great job of showcasing that we can be one of the great teams." The Dolphins, meanwhile, have won two of their last three following a four-game slide, including Sunday's four-point win over San Diego in which Ryan Tannehill threw for 268 yards and a touchdown as Miami shook off any potential distraction caused by the Jonathan Martin/Richie Incognito harassment scandal. "There's a lot going on, but we're not focused on that," Tannehill said. "We're focused on football."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, Fox.

LINE: The Panthers opened -3.5 and are now -4.5. The total opened 41.5 and is down to 41.

WEATHER: There is a 40 percent chance of rain in the forecast. Wind will blow across the field at 15 mph.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (7-3): Carolina's defense has quietly had a terrific season, allowing 24 points or less in all 10 games and yielding 12.8 points on average during the six-game winning streak. That said, standout defensive end Charles Johnson got leg-whipped against the Patriots and could be unavailable for Sunday's contest. One player who will definitely be healthy for Sunday is veteran wideout Steve Smith, who has 18 catches for 257 yards and four touchdowns in his last two matchups with Miami.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (5-5): Tannehill has not thrown for more than 270 yards in a game since early October and has only thrown more than two touchdowns in a game once this season. Signed to a five-year, $60 million deal during the offseason, Mike Wallace only has one touchdown on the year and has totaled eight catches for 54 yards over the last two weeks. Miami has allowed 18.3 points over its last three contests, although the Chargers torched the Dolphins last weekend for 435 total yards, including 5.9 yards per rush.

TRENDS:

* Panthers are 0-4 ATS in their last four meetings.
* Dolphins are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games.
* Under is 8-2 in Panthers last 10 games on grass.
* Over is 6-2-1 in Dolphins last nine games overall.

EXTRA POINTS:


1. The Panthers have never defeated the Dolphins, losing all four meetings since Carolina joined the NFL in 1995.

2. After posting 15 sacks last season, Miami DE Cameron Wake only has 6.5 this year - all of which came in three games.

3. Newton is the only player in NFL history with at least 50 passing touchdowns and 25 rushing touchdowns in his first three seasons.

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