NFL preseason betting – Fights between Panthers and Patriots: What does it mean for bettors?

If you think coaches don’t want to see fighting amongst players in the preseason, you may be too naïve for NFL betting. Heck, in the past 10 years or so, joint practices between opposing teams have become positively de rigeur in the NFL preseason, with Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots surprising proponents of the idea.

Or maybe Belichick just wants to some good old-fashioned scrappin’. If so, he’s certainly enjoyed this week, as his Patriots and the Carolina Panthers have gotten down to brawling four times in two days, resulting in five ejections from the Tuesday practice and an injury on Wednesday. This in the leadup to a Friday preseason game between the two on which the line currently reads:

Carolina Panthers +2½ at New England Patriots, over/under 40 points

New England WR Kristian Wilkerson, perhaps still feeling it after rounding up six catches for 99 yards against the New York Giants in preseason week 1, began the acrimony by first making a sideline catch in scrimmage and then letting Carolina DB Kenny Robinson know just how badly he’d been burned. Wilkerson’s fellow receiver Kendrick Bourne joined the fun, threw some punches, and all three were ejected.

Two more ejections came later when Carolina DL Phil Hoskins and New England C James Ferentz went mano y mano. Blowing the hell out of NFLbets’ theory, Belichick reportedly halted the practice after this second round of ejections for a chillout break.

Speaking of the second round, round 2 of Wilkerson-Robinson played out today (Wednesday), as Robinson creamed Wilkerson on a special-teams drill and then taunted the prone Patriot. Wilkerson’s teammates Matthew Slater and Cam Achord took offense and the benches were cleared.

Finally, in apparent payback, RB Christian McCaffrey was taken down hard by a unnamed defensive player (possibly Deatrich Wise Jr., who reportedly left the practice early, though not due to injury). McCaffrey got to his feet and threw the ball at the Patriots defense in general and, as they say, words were exchanged.

What to make of all this for the NFL bettor? If you can find it, take McCaffrey in an “Anytime Touchdown” proposition bet; the league’s top all-purpose back will certainly want to make this defense look bad on a big stage.

Unfortunately, Wilkerson’s mouth ultimately got him into trouble, as he was carted off the practice field after the Robinson hit on Wednesday. With the Patriots offense down a viable preseason receiver and the defense looking sharp early, we’ll say take the under on an O/U of 40 points (and hope that McCaffrey doesn’t play more than one quarter).

Finally, NFLbets is saying take the New England Patriots -2½ vs Carolina. Mac Jones and Davante Parker will be seeing some quality minutes in this game, so NFLbets figures if the Patriots can keep pace with the Panthers through the first half, even the second-string defense can likely seal the deal.

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