The Panthers visit the City by the Bay with the hopes of returning to their 2015 form when they won the NFC. Meanwhile, the 2017 campaign will likely be a painful one for San Fran fans. The Niners are starting another rebuilding project with a new front office and coaching staff.
The Week 1 NFL odds have the Panthers listed as 5.5-point favourites with a whopping 90 percent of early NFL bets backing Carolina to cover.
Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Point Spread: Panthers -5.5
Date: Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, 4:25 PM ET
Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, California
Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Panthers were the most disappointing team in 2016 going 6-10 straight up and 6-9-1 against the spread. This was a shock following Carolina’s 2015 campaign when it won 15 of its 16 contests and covered the spread in 11 of 16 games.
San Francisco has been a mess ever since the club parted ways with head coach Jim Harbaugh following the 2014 season. The Niners are 7-25 straight up and 12-20 against the spread over the last two years.
The Panthers won and covered 46-27 when they hosted the 49ers in September of last season.
The Panthers go as quarterback Cam Newton goes. In 2015, Newton tossed 35 TD passes, finished with a 99.4 QB rating and won the league MVP award. Last year, however, Newton was bothered by a sore throwing shoulder and the Panthers finished last in the NFC South.
Carolina hopes to take some of the load of Newton’s shoulders by giving the ball early and often in games to rookie Christian McCaffrey. The running back out of Stanford has great hands and should be a weapon for the Panthers in the run and pass game.
San Francisco 49ers
The good news for Niners fans is that their team appears to have made a good hire at head coach after two mismanaged seasons under Jim Tomsula and then Chip Kelly. Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta last year and he certainly got the best out of Matt Ryan there.
The bad news is the squad is still short on talent on both sides of the ball. They’re building to the future and aren’t expected to contend for the playoffs this season.
Carolina Panthers vs. San Francisco 49ers Prediction
Panthers 34-49ers 18