San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers: 2016 Week 2 NFL Pick

San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Carolina Panthers (0-1)

The 49ers technically pulled the upset victory at home as 2.5 point underdogs against the Rams last week, but that shouldn’t really be considered an upset as the Rams are just as bad as the 49ers are, probably even worse if last week was any indication. That doesn’t necessarily mean the 49ers are good though and there’s little reason to believe they’re significantly improved from the 2015 team that finished dead last in rate of moving the chains differential and lost 11 games by an average of 16.45 points per loss. The Panthers are still one of the best teams in the league, despite losing in a tough spot last week against the Broncos in the week 1 home opener for the defending Super Bowl champions. They should have no problem winning by at least two touchdowns here.

The 49ers’ home upset loss last week puts them in a bad spot here, as teams are just 48-74 ATS since 2012 off of a win as home underdogs, including 31-48 ATS when they are underdogs again. That makes sense, as teams might not be 100% focused off of a big home victory like that. On top of that, the 49ers have to turn around and play the Seahawks next week, a game in which they figure to be home underdogs of at least a touchdown, which puts them in an even tougher spot. Teams are 24-59 ATS since 2010 before being home underdogs of 7 or more. On top of that, underdogs of 7 or more are 14-34 ATS since 2002 before being home underdogs of 7 or more.

The 49ers probably won’t overlook a great team like the Panthers, but it’s very possible they have less than their best game coming off a huge upset win, with another tough game on deck. Last week is one that I think we’ll look back on as their best game of the season, much like last year’s Monday night home opener, in which they won 20-3 against a Minnesota team that ended up making the playoffs. They followed that up by losing 43-18 in Pittsburgh the following week. Teams do tend to carryover the momentum from a huge Monday Night win into the following week, as teams who win by 21+ on Monday Night Football are 34-15 ATS the following week since 2002. That’s the only reason this isn’t my Pick of the Week, but I have a hard time seeing this not being a blowout. The Panthers are the obvious Survivor Pick this week.

Carolina Panthers 34 San Francisco 49ers 12

Pick against the spread: Carolina -13

Confidence: High

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