San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers
Date and Time: Sunday, September 18, 2016, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Week 2 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Panthers -13, O/U 45.5
49ers vs. Panthers TV Coverage: FOX
The 49ers looked like Super Bowl contenders when they opened the Chip Kelly era with a thorough beating of the Rams, blanking them 28-0. Before we start heaping too much praise on the Niners, remember back to last season when they pulled off a similar effort on Monday night in the season opener. San Francisco turned in a dominant defensive performance to kick off 2015, shutting down Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings in a 20-3 win. Many thought the Niners would be much better than the preseason prognostications. Well, we saw how last year turned out for them. It was a good start to 2016 nonetheless, but the Niners will fall back to earth when they take on the rested Panthers.
There are plenty of similarities between this year’s schedule and how 2015 began for San Francisco. After beating Minnesota at home on Monday night in the opener last year, the Niners travelled to Pittsburgh for an early afternoon matchup the following Sunday. They were gutted by the Steelers 43-18 in that Week 2 contest.
The Panthers aren’t used to losing and you know they are chomping at the bit to get back on the football field. They were in line to beat the Broncos in the opener until Graham Gano’s potential game-winning field goal sailed wide left. Including pre and postseason games last year, Carolina was an incredible 20-3 SU. They also have a 13-game home winning streak on the line that includes a trio of playoff victories. During that span the Panthers are 9-4 ATS.
Playing the defending NFC champions should be a reason for teams to rise to the occasion. But the schedule makers didn’t do the 49ers any favors when setting this game up. San Francisco played late Monday night with the game ending around midnight in the Eastern Time zone. That leaves little practice time for this week’s matchup with Carolina. Then, of course, there’s the matter of getting to Charlotte. The Niners have approximately 2,275 miles from their home base to the game site. Not quite as formidable as what the Dolphins had to deal with in their cross country trip to Seattle last week, but a decent jaunt nonetheless.
Then there’s the matter of Sunday’s opponent. The Panthers played the league opener on Thursday of Week 1 and have had plenty of time to stew over their loss to the Broncos. There’s a total of nine days in between games and Carolina will use every one of them to get prepared for the Niners no-huddle attack. And don’t forget that the Panthers’ home opener is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. ET, which is 10 in the morning for the boys from California.
49ers vs. Panthers Free Picks
The 49ers aren’t getting much respect. They opened at +11.5 and in a little over an hour the line spiked to +13. It’s by far the widest Week 2 spread and the only double-digit line on the board. But it’s not surprising considering the state of the two franchises. San Francisco didn’t do anything to knock our socks off in their win over Los Angeles and they had the benefit of playing a team that is one of the few below their level. Still, it was a convincing win behind a strong defensive effort. However, the Rams remain a mess offensively so it’s hard to say if S.F. was that good or L.A. that bad. I’m leaning towards the latter.
The Panthers have said Newton doesn’t have a concussion after he got popped several times in the noggin by the Broncos. They were plays that the NFL is trying to avoid for the safety of its players, yet no penalty flags were thrown. Oh, the hypocrisy. I would expect the league MVP would get better treatment from the officials and that will change starting Sunday. It’s hard to go against a team spotted two touchdowns, but recent history shows us the Panthers can cover the odds at BookMaker.eu. And I expect them to do that.
49ers vs. Panthers Week 2 ATS Pick: Panthers -13 at BookMaker.eu
49ers vs. Panthers Score Prediction: Panthers 31, 49ers 13