Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers Pick ATS
Carolina Panthers (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, October 27, 4:05 PM EST
Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Ca
Point Spread: Car +5.5 / SF -5.5
Over/Under Total: 41
The Carolina Panthers head west to take on the undefeated San Francisco 49ers for a week 8 NFC contest. Sportsbooks have made Carolina 5½ point underdogs and set the game total at 41. The play is to take the points and play the Panthers. Here is the handicap.
Kyle Allen Will Manage the Game
MVP quarterback Cam Newton couldn’t answer the bell after week 2 with a foot injury, and the season looked grim for the Panthers. In stepped Kyle Allen, and four straight up and ATS wins later, Allen has settled in as the Panther leader and will get at least one more start this week before Cam returns. Allen has thrown for seven touchdowns and yet to throw an interception while gaining 7.4 yards per attempt. Allen’s best strength has been to hand the ball off to Christian McCaffrey. Run CMC is averaging 150 yards from scrimmage and is the most valuable NFL player, not playing quarterback. The offense is scoring touchdowns on 60% of their trips to the red zone. They have scored over 30 points in 3 of the four games since Newton went out. DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Greg Olsen have been serviceable in the receiving game and will have to step up this week to keep the offense balanced. Allen has proven to be up to the challenge against good defenses, including Texans and Jaguars, but this 49er defense will be his biggest challenge.
SF’s defense has been the strength of their team. The talk is all about Kyle Shanahan’s offense, but the Niners have one of the best defenses going. They have allowed a total of only 10 points in the last three games, including games against the Rams and Browns, who have solid offenses. They have only allowed 176 passing yards over that span and have sacked opposing quarterbacks 11 times. Their front seven is winning the battle in the trenches week in and week out and will be a tall challenge for Carolina. Allen has taken ten sacks in his four starts and will get rid of the ball quickly to stay in favorable down and distance against San Fran. The other advantage for Carolina will be the running game. The 49ers have allowed over 100 rushing yards in the last three games. A steady dose of McCaffrey with some play-action will keep the chains moving and put points on the board for Carolina.
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The 49ers Offense Can Be Slowed
San Francisco’s offense has a little bit of a speed bump in the past few weeks. QB Jimmy Garpoppolo has gotten the job done this year, but he has been somewhat shaky in the process. He has thrown six interceptions and only seven touchdowns. The receiver group has yet to do anything special with only tight end George Kittle being a reliable downfield target for Jimmy G. On the other hand, Shanahan’s offense runs through running backs Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. San Fran is second in the league in rushing averaging over 170 yards per game. Both backs can run inside or outside, and both can be used in the passing game. Shanahan will draw up a plan to get the running backs the ball in space and Kittle the ball over the middle. San Fran has struggled to stretch the field, and that should continue this week against a fast Panther defense.
Carolina’s defense has been making life hard on opposing QBs all year. They lead the league with 4.5 sacks per game and are also 2nd in interceptions with 9. Luke Kuechly is still one of the top linebackers in the league and will have to play his “A game” this week. He, fellow linebacker Shaq Thompson and safety Eric Reid will have to hold down the Niner running backs and Kittle. The Panthers have allowed only 4.9 yards per play, which is good enough for 6th in the league, but they are bottom 10 in the league in run defense. Coach Ron Rivera will have to sell out to stop the run this week, or Shanahan will run the ball down the Panthers’ throat. Look for the Panther defense to get after Garoppolo, slow down the 49er offense, and keep the game close.
SF Will Not Blow Out Carolina
The 49ers have had some lopsided wins this year. Those wins have come against teams that the Niners could overpower on both lines of scrimmage. That won’t happen this week. Carolina’s defensive front will push around the 49er offensive line. Tackles Mike McGlinchy and Joe Staley have both missed time and will probably miss this week. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk will also miss again this week. SF’s offense has not been as good since Juszcyzk has been sidelined. Carolina will take full advantage of the San Fran missing key parts of their blocking scheme and make life tough on Garoppolo and the SF running game. Carolina has not lost a game by 6 points or more this year, and I don’t expect that will change this week.
Take the Points with the Panthers
Play the road dog Panthers this week in San Francisco. Carolina will keep the number close and may pull off an upset.
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