Carolina Panthers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS, 0-0 O/U) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS, 0-0 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, September 10, 2017 at 4:25 p.m. EST
The Line: Carolina Panthers -5.5. Total: 48.
The San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers will begin their 2017 campaigns when they clash at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon. Carolina got off to a wretched start in 2016, compiling a 1-5 record en route to an overall mark of 6-10. The 49ers were even worse, with a blowout loss the Panthers included in their 2-14 effort.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had surgery on March 30 to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, but he is ready to go for the 2017 campaign. The 2015 NFL MVP was limited in throwing for most of the first four weeks of training camp and he played in only one series during the entire preseason. But that series was a good one, as Newton led the Panthers on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a touchdown pass as Carolina beat Jacksonville 24-23. Head coach Ron Rivera says that all systems are go for his star signal-caller heading into Sunday.
“I think he’s ready,” Rivera said. “You wish he’d had a few more snaps and played a little bit earlier in the preseason so we’d have more to go on. But what we saw, we liked. We liked how everything seems to be meshing together as an offense. We’ll see how it goes as we continue to work this week.”
“We have been on a plan since training camp,” general manager Matt Hurney added. “I think we feel very confident. We do feel very confident. Every day he takes more and more. He’s looked good. He’s felt good. We have a lot of confidence in him.”
What’s the Ward?
San Francisco safety Jimmie Ward is questionable for his team’s opener. Ward had been on the physically unable to perform list due to a hamstring injury and he did not play at all during the preseason. General manager John Lynch said after trimming his roster down to 53 players that Ward’s availability is still unknown. If Ward cannot go, Jaquiski Tartt, Lorenzo Jerome, and Adrian Colbert could see some time. Jerome started at free safety in the first two preseason contests, Tartt started there in Week 3, and Colbert got the nod last week. Ward’s absence would be especially bad news for a team that finished dead last in the NFL in total defense in 2016. The 49ers were, however, at least a mediocre 14th against the pass.
San Francisco had no hope of slowing down Carolina in last season’s meeting between the two teams. In a Week 2 showdown, the Panthers benefited from home-field advantage and hammered the visitors 46-27. Newton passed for 353 yards and four touchdowns.
The Carolina Panthers are:
- 3-1-1 ATS in their last five road games
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games on grass
- 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games against San Francisco
The San Francisco 49ers are:
- 4-11 ATS in their last 15 overall
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against the NFC
San Francisco’s entire 2017 season was a disaster and the team’s date with Carolina was no exception. Newton had his way with the Niners and he may enjoy something similar now that he appears to have recovered from offseason surgery. Carolina is 3-1-1 ATS in its last five on the road and 4-1 ATS in its last five on grass. The 49ers are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 overall, 1-6 ATS in their last seven at home, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 against the NFC, 3-13 ATS in the last 16 meetings between the two teams, and 1-8 ATS in their last nine at home against the Panthers. Count on those trends continuing.
Pick: Carolina Panthers -5.5
There is not much to like about the 49ers’ offense. Kyle Shanahan is on board as the new head coach and he is a promising offensive guru, but there could be some growing pains. Plus, Shanahan’s quarterback is Brian Hoyer. Nothing else really needs to be said. The under is 3-0-1 in the Panthers’ last four overall, 4-1-1 in their last six against the NFC, and 3-0-1 in their last four on grass. It is also 20-8 in San Francisco’s last 28 at home. Look for this one to stay under the total.