Can the Carolina Panthers penetrate one of the better defenses in the NFL? That’s the question before BetOnline customers on Sunday as they take on the San Francisco 49ers in a game that begins at 4:05 p.m. Eastern time at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
The NFL betting odds are as follows:
San Francisco 49ers -6.5 (-113)
Carolina Panthers +6 (-107)
Over 40 Points -110
Under 40 Points -110
It’s been a trying time for Panthers coach Matt Rhule, who has been one of the favorites to be the first coach fired. The truth is, after successful stints in college at Temple and Baylor, he hasn’t really gotten his motor started in Charlotte. And he had running back Christian McCaffrey available only part of the time.
This season, McCaffrey has 408 yards from scrimmage, but you’ve never really gotten the sense that Rhule knows the best way to use him. Anyway, this is not a team that is loaded with weapons.
Sam Darnold was completely unsatisfying at quarterback, so the team made a deal to acquire Baker Mayfield, who became available when the Browns signed DeShaun Watson. And Mayfield has been somewhat less than spectacular, completing only 54.7% of his passes and ranking 32nd in the league in quarterback rating.
Last week, Mayfield threw two interceptions in a 26-16 loss to Arizona. So there have been some detractors who believe that the Panthers, who rank 31st in the NFL in yards, gained her drive and might want to take a look another look at Darnold again.
Maybe that’s a silly notion; maybe not. But now you know why the Panthers had some interest in putting together a deal for Watson, who’s under suspension until Week 11.
On the other side are the 49ers, who are leading the league in many defensive categories. These include yards and points allowed per drive, points allowed per game, yards allowed per play, yards allowed per rushing attempt, and sack percentage. This, in and of itself, it’s a lot to overcome, particularly for a team that is struggling on the offensive side.
Admittedly, the San Francisco offense has not been a juggernaut. Still, any objective observer would have to admit they are in a better position to win with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback. His stats were not glittering last week against the Rams, as he threw for 239 yards, but he suffered no sacks and was not intercepted.
He got very little action in the preseason as the Niners were in the process of handing the quarterback job over to second-year player Trey Lance. So we’re going to expect that with each passing week, he’ll get more and more comfortable in re-assuming the quarterback role. NFL fans and bettors have to be careful while placing wagers on him, and this, we are assuming, will have a major impact on stakes at NFL betting sites.
Deebo Samuel is always going to be a huge threat. The wide receiver-running back scored on a beautiful 57-yard touchdown in last Monday’s game. And the 49ers are getting by on the ground with the contributions of Jeff Wilson, who is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Soon they could have the services of Elijah Mitchell, who is currently missing with an MCL injury.
You might think that the Niners aren’t explosive enough to be laying this kind of number on the road, but we don’t have a lot of confidence in the Carolina attack right now. So we will lay the points.