Coming off four straight wins, the Carolina Panthers are arguably playing as well as any team in the NFC. If their win streak is going to continue, the Panthers will have to go on the road and knock off the 49ers (6-2), winners of five straight games.
The two teams appear to match up well on paper, but oddsmakers favor the 49ers who opened as 6.5-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com. San Francisco gets a boost for playing at home and some oddsmakers have the 49ers favored by seven points. Both teams rank in the top four in the NFL in scoring defense. While oddsmakers aren't predicting a field goal battle, the total opened at 42.5.
Although San Francisco is nearly a touchdown favorite, you could make an argument the Panthers are the better team. Carolina is built very similar to the 49ers and it all starts with a stout defense. The Panthers have the No. 2 scoring defense in the NFL and are No. 3 in yards allowed. Carolina has been great against the run, allowing just 79.1 rushing yards per game. San Francisco holds a slight advantage in most offensive categories, although Cam Newton's recent play has the Panthers on the rise.
Both teams have fared well against the spread recently. Carolina is 5-3 ATS this season and 5-1 in its last six games. The 49ers are 6-2 ATS and are 5-0 in their last five games. The Panthers are also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 road games, dating back to last season.
Despite being two of the top defensive teams in the NFL, the over may be a solid bet if history holds. The total has gone over in four of Carolina's last five road games and over in four of San Francisco's last five games. The over has also hit in eight of the 49ers last 10 games at home.