San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers: 2022 Week 5 NFL Pick

San Francisco 49ers (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (1-3)

This is one of the more surprising lines of the week, with the Panthers going from being just 3-point home underdogs against the 49ers on the early line last week to now 6.5-point home underdogs, following the 49ers’ 15-point home victory over the Rams and the Panthers 10-point home loss to the Cardinals last week. I usually like to go against significant week-to-week line movements because they tend to be an overreaction to a single week of play and that is the case here. My calculated line has the 49ers as no better than field goal favorites and it’s really hard to justify the 49ers as favorites of this many points on the road against a good defense, given how much the 49ers’ offense is struggling.

Through the first four games of the season, the 49ers rank 28th in first down rate and 30th in schedule adjusted offensive efficiency and my roster rankings have them significantly below average on offense as well. They still have Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle, but their running back group is depleted by injury and their offensive line lost a trio of starters this off-season and now is without Trent Williams, who will be filled in for this week by third stringer Jaylon Moore, after backup Colton McKivitz played admirably in their first game without Williams last week, before suffering an injury of his own.

The Panthers’ defense, meanwhile, ranks 7th in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency, a year after finishing the 2021 season ranked 4th, so they should cause problems for this 49ers’ offense. The Panthers obviously have their own offensive issues, ranking dead last in schedule adjusted offensive efficiency, while the 49ers rank 1st in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency, which is a bigger mismatch than the 49ers’ offense against the Panthers’ defense, especially since the 49ers could be getting back could be getting Jimmie Ward and Jason Verrett back from injury, but it’s still hard to justify the 49ers as 6.5-point favorites on the road in what should be a low scoring game. I like the Panthers a good amount this week.

San Francisco 49ers 19 Carolina Panthers 17

Pick against the spread: Carolina +6.5

Confidence: High

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