The San Francisco 49ers are getting more
football betting interest than any of the other seven teams playing in the
Divisional Round. Should the Carolina Panthers be offended?
record on his final NFL picks for 2013-14, up to January 7 inclusive:
ML (+0.71 units)
It’s entirely possible that the San
Francisco 49ers will win the Super Bowl this year. But are they the best team
left in the playoffs? There’s a lot of chatter to that effect in the lamestream
media, pushing the 49ers as the team to beat after they narrowly escaped the
Green Bay Packers (+3.5) 23-20 in the Wild Card round. Must be all that
man-love for Aaron Rodgers. Even the officials seemed to favor Rodgers near the
end of that game.
The football betting public agrees. As we
go to press, the Niners (13-4 SU, 11-6 ATS) have pulled in more bettors than
anyone else playing in the Divisional Round, according to our expanded
consensus reports. San Fran is checking in at 64 percent support as a 1.5-point
road chalk on the NFL odds board against the Carolina Panthers (12-4 SU, 9-6-1 ATS) for Sunday’s
Up with Jake
Can’t say I’m surprised. Although the 49ers
tend to get overlooked playing on the West Coast, there’s no question the
Niners brand is much more recognizable than the small-market Panthers, who’ve
only been around for 20 years. We just saw San Francisco at Super Bowl Super
Bowl XLVII; Carolina made it to Super Bowl XXXVIII at the end of the 2003
season, but this is the team’s first trip to the playoffs since 2008. Nobody
waxes poetic about the Jake Delhomme years.
But I digress. Let’s take a closer look at
these early betting patterns – wow. It’s all San Francisco, all the way down.
Now I feel a bit nauseous. I picked the Panthers in my
report on the opening odds, and I said it was the easiest pick of all four
Divisional games by a landslide. They’ve got everything a sharp could want:
small-market team with better efficiency numbers, a 15 percent chance of rain
that should help the underdogs… what am I missing here?
The DVOA stats at Football Outsiders have
been updated to incorporate the Wild Card results, and No. 4 Carolina (No. 11
offense, No. 5 defense, No. 12 special teams) still checks in ahead of No. 6
San Francisco (No. 10 offense, No. 11 defense, No. 5 special teams). And the
NFL still officially recognizes Carolina’s 10-9 victory over the Niners (–6 at
home) in Week 10. That game happened, right? Is this real life?
With that win, the Panthers improved to
11-7 SU and 15-3 ATS lifetime against the 49ers. That’s not a whole lot of
games, mind you. Week 10 was the only time these two teams have met since Jim
Harbaugh took over as head coach for San Francisco, and Ron Rivera for
Carolina, both in 2011. Again, Harbaugh is by far the more respected coach of
the two, but Rivera has made huge strides this year, finally embracing modern
methods and going for it more often on fourth down.
Over My Hammy
There haven’t been any San Francisco
injuries popping up on the newswires in the aftermath of last week’s frozen
football-fest, so that’s a positive sign for Niners supporters. It’ll help even
more if CB Carlos Rodgers returns to action after missing Wild Card weekend
with a strained hamstring. But surely that Packers game took some of the sting
out of San Fran.
I’m flummoxed, quite frankly. I’ll be back
later this week to discuss the NFL totals; by then, we should have some
computer projections, and more analysts will have weighed in with their take on
this matchup. Until then… I’m still with the Panthers. Good Lord, they just
moved to +2. Yay?
Pick: Take the Panthers +2 (–105) at Bodog