San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers – Is anybody buying what the Niners are selling?

Nikki Adams

Saturday, September 17, 2016 8:44 PM UTC

Saturday, Sep. 17, 2016 8:44 PM UTC

Chip Kelly Era in San Francisco begins with a win but is anybody buying what the Niners are selling, really? We preview week 2 and the clash between the 49ers and Panthers, complete with NFL picks.

San Francisco 49ers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
San Francisco 49ers threw down the gauntlet with a 28-0 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football, marking a stellar debut for the Chip Kelly Era in the Golden State. But, not to be churlish, let’s see if they can make it two in a row when they face Super Bowl runners-up Carolina Panthers.

If they do – which would be a spectacular upset, make no mistake –, then, and only then, perhaps, considering buying what they are selling would make sense. Until proven otherwise, week 1 could very well be a one-off. Smoke and mirrors, aided along by an opponent, Los Angeles Rams, who, let’s face it, were hyped beyond recognition.

Don’t Put Too Much Stock In Niners 
To put it bluntly, the Rams had no business whatsoever entering the game as the road faves. Closing at -2.5 points against the spread and trading as high as -145 with The Greek in money line betting markets, NFL odds you’d see with an established heavyweight on the road, more often than not, how the Rams were considered to be in such company beggars belief.

Was there memo the betting public wasn’t privy to? Such a market outlook suggests the Rams underwent a complete and utter about-face from a side that perennially disappointed to a contender without mention of any tangibles to hang our hats on? Granted the Niners were worse last season – they finished 5-11 SU while the Rams finished 7-9 SU. Therein might be one of the reasons why the Rams were highly fancied. Seems a bit of a stretch though when neither team had a winning record last season and were going into 2016 amidst a lot of speculation and change.

One can argue that the Niners’ awful 2015 was down to organisational changes, crappy coaching and internal strife that was an offshoot of the fallout between Jim Harbaugh and owners from 2014. During Harbaugh’s tenure, the Niners enjoyed their best recent stints in the NFL. They became were NFC West powerhouse with records of 13-3, 11-4, 12-4 and 8-8 (in succession) under Harbaugh, which included three NFC Championship appearances (one title) and a Super bowl runner-up finish.

What have the Rams accomplished under Jeff Fischer over a similar period (2012-present)? A big fat nothing, really. Record for the Rams over the last four seasons: 7-8-1, 7-9, 6-10, 7-9. He has yet to fashion a winning season.

So what gives? Moving to Los Angeles made the Rams suddenly viable contenders? The No.1 NFL draft pick Jeff Goff? He wasn’t even dressed for the game….

In any event, the point is the Rams aren’t a great team yet. Meaning the Niners’ 28-0 win needs to be taken with reservation and in the context of overcooking market expectations.

Remember last season when the Niners defeated the Vikings 20-3 in week 1 of the season and on Monday Night Football primetime TV. Remember what happened afterwards? Not to dwell on the gruesome but the Niners went on to lose 43-18 at Pittsburgh, 47-7 at Arizona, 17-3 at home to Green Bay and 30-27 at NY Giants before another W cropped up in the win column.

To see Carolina Panthers looming on the NFL schedule in week 2 admittedly conjures images of last season’s spectacular implosion. Keep in mind the Panthers are teed off right now. Coming off a disappointing loss to the Denver Broncos in Thursday Night Football, a much hyped-up Super Bowl rematch that the Panthers and the NFL betting public alike believed wholeheartedly was theirs for the taking. Tale told, they lost and frustratingly so.

Heck, odds makers install the Panthers as the considerable home chalk. Opening as the 11.5-point home favorites the public has bet up the line to 13.5 points with most sports betting shops, including low-juice leaders Heritage and Pinnacle. 5Dimes has taken it a step further with a 14-point line on the game with the Panthers to cover at tempting +100 juice.

Consensus betting polls reveal the public is divided almost down the middle between the Panthers and the Niners in spread betting wagers. That’s a function of the two-score line which is usually tempting in public betting circles. NFL bettors find it difficult to go against a team that is spotted a two-touchdown advantage – case-and-point, week 1 and the Dolphins at +13.5 or thereabouts who ended up covering in a 12-10 defeat.

If the market outlook isn’t telling, consider the reality of the situation before the Niners. Fact is the Panthers played on Thursday while the Niners just wrapped up late on Monday Night. Not only are the Niners receiving no favors from the odds makers, the schedulers did them no favors either. Cross country travel, early start on the East coast and so few days to get any meaningful practice in in order to get ready to take on the NFC standard….yikes, it's lambs to the slaughter. it really could get as ugly as the whopping double-digit line. Colour the world shocked if the Panthers don’t cover.

NFL Picks: Panthers -13.5 (-106) 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle 

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