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San Francisco defense sets sights on McCaffrey, Panthers

The 49ers are 6-0, but bettors are having a tough time cashing in on their success. San Francisco has covered the spread just twice in its last 16 games as a favorite. The Niners are laying nearly a touchdown this week against the visiting Carolina Panthers, who are coming off a bye.

Matchup Information
  • Carolina Panthers vs San Francisco 49ers (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: October 27, 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: FOX
  • Opening Odds: San Francisco -6 | O/U 42 (Line History)

Opening Odds Analysis

If 6 points looks like a bargain to back the undefeated 49ers, early bettors aren’t taking the bait. Money has already come in on the Panthers, dropping the line down to -5.5. The total has also seen some early movement, falling to 41.5.

Carolina News & Notes

Following a bye week looked like a logical time for Cam Newton to return to the Panthers lineup. However, Carolina head coach Ron Rivera has already confirmed that the former MVP won’t be back under center this week as he continues to rehab a foot injury. “It’s been difficult on him,” Rivera told reporters. “But at the end of the day, we’ve got to be smart.”

The decision to be patient with Newton must have been made easier by the performance of backup QB Kyle Allen, who has gone 4-0 as the starter. Allen has completed nearly two-thirds of his passes this year and has thrown nine touchdowns and zero interceptions in his young career.

He’s also been helped by 923 all-purpose yards from Christian McCaffrey, although CMC could struggle this week against the Niners’ top-ranked defense.

San Francisco News & Notes

As much credit as Jimmy Garoppolo consistently gets for the 49ers’ success (he’s now 14-2 as San Francisco’s starting quarterback), this team is built on its defense.

Robert Saleh’s stop unit added another impressive notch in its belt last week, holding the Washington Redskins to 10 first downs and 50 passing yards in a 9-0 shutout on the road. Over the last three games, the Niners have allowed just 10 points, and they’ve yet to surrender more than 20 in a game this season.

San Fran needed that performance from its defense to survive an ugly outing by Garoppolo, especially in the first half when he completed three of 10 passes for a paltry 10 yards. Jimmy G finished the day with zero touchdowns and one interception, his second consecutive game with that stat line.

Already without tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey as well as fullback Kyle Juszczyk, the 49ers offense was also crippled by injuries to running back Matt Breida and receiver Marquise Goodwin. Both were evaluated for concussions before returning to action.

Betting Pick: Panthers +5.5

Carolina’s biggest loss this year came by six points, and I like the Panthers to keep things close again here against a San Fran offense that isn’t firing on all cylinders.

Shark Bites
  • The OVER is 5-0 in Carolina’s last 5 games following a bye.
  • The 49ers are 2-15 ATS in their last 17 games as a favorite.
  • The Panthers are 14-2 ATS in their last 16 games vs the 49ers.