NFL Picks: Panthers vs. 49ers in Week 10

Swinging Johnson

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 6:35 PM GMT

The Carolina Panthers have reeled off four straight wins while the 49’ers are well rested coming off a bye week but where does the value lie in our NFL odds preview?


Carolina Panthers (5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS)

The Panthers are looking for their fifth straight victory which is a bit hard to fathom considering they staggered out of the starting gate with a record of 1-3 before their recent success began. But, Cam Newton has shaken off his early season funk and the defense has noticeably improved.But before we get too caught up in the Panthers’ juggernaut, let’s review exactly who they have beaten.The answer – nobody good.

Look, a win - any win - in the NFL is a good thing and the old adage, “on any given Sunday”, is apt but victories over weak sisters Minnesota, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and last week at home as 8 ½ point favorites in NFL odds over the woeful Falcons suggest they may be the proverbial bully in the playground.

While there is no doubt this team is better than when the season commenced we should nevertheless consider their losses.They dropped a defensive battle in their opener to Seattle followed by 24-23 heartbreaker to a gritty Bills team.They rebounded in Week 3 to a dominating 38-0 win over the hapless Giants but then stalled in the desert when they lost to the Cardinals.This week at The Stick will be no picnic as they take on another NFC East power.

San Francisco 49’ers (6-2 SU, 6-2 ATS)

Much like their opponent this coming Sunday, the 49’ers stumbled to a 1-2 start but have amped up their game and breezed by their last five opponents, rewarding their backers with NFL odds covers in each and every game.In addition, they have had two weeks to savor their 42-10 dismantling of the Jacksonville Jaguars and prepare for the suddenly surging Panthers.

San Francisco is grounding and pounding their way to victory this season as they are averaging over 153 yards rushing (ranked 1st) but their aerial attack, led by the uber mobile Colin Kaepernick, has been underwhelming to say the least.Then Niners are languishing in last place vis a vis passing yards, averaging a paltry 153 yards.But when you have an outstanding defense complemented by an astute field marshal, the throwback football that the 49’ers are playing works seamlessly.Kaepernick tossed for only 164 yards against the Jags but became the first quarterback, since Total QBR began in 2006, to post at least a 99 QBR in consecutive weeks.

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The Free Pick

If someone held a gun to your head and told you to pick the winner of Sunday’s Panthers/Niners tilt, unless you had a death wish, you would choose San Francisco.But we deal in the world of covering the all-important point spread and the oddsmakers have tagged the 49’ers with a six point impost.At first blush it seems a bit modest.What would make us think that Colin & Company can’t beat these Panthers by at least a touchdown on their home turf?

However, if you’re a student of history, you will no doubt note that Carolina is 14-3 ATS versus San Francisco since 1992.Does that stat really mean anything when considering that these teams haven’t played in over three years?Personally I don’t think it means a damn thing, however what does mean something is that Carolina boasts one of the fiercest defensive front sevens and is ranked 2nd in stopping the run.This means Kaepernick will need to go to the air more often than usual.And it just so happens that Mario Manningham will be in uniform after an extended stay on the PUP list.That means one more target for Kaepernick and more room to roam for Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis.

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After Sunday’s game the 49’ers will no longer be in the passing yardage basement and will set up the run with the pass.I like the chalk in my NFL picks in this one.

Play the 49’ers -6 at Bet365.com