01/12/2014 12:04 PM
Matchup: San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers
Spread: 49ers minus-1
Public consensus pick: 75 percent picked 49ers
Public perception: The line continues to drop after opening as high as 49ers minus-2.5 offshore, but the public is still mostly supporting San Fran for the second week in a row. The 49ers are still considered by many to be the best team in the NFC (with the possible exception of the Seahawks). Plus, the Panthers, despite being the NFC's No. 2 seed, haven't completely won over the public.
Wiseguys' view: There are certainly wiseguys who will be on the 49ers' side, but it's mostly been sharp money driving this line back toward pick 'em. While the 49ers are certainly worthy of respect and playing well with seven straight wins, the Panthers have won 11 of their past 12 games and beat the 49ers 10-9 in San Francisco in Week 10.
Tuley's Take: I took the Panthers plus-2 before the line dropped further, but now with it looking like it's heading to pick 'em, there's even less of a need to consider the spread. I keep going back to that earlier meeting. Now, I know 49ers backers will say that the offense is so much better with Michael Crabtree back in the lineup. While it certainly looks that way at times, the fact is the 49ers have scored 23 points each of the past two games, and before the Panthers held them to a mere three field goals, San Fran had scored 35, 34, 32, 31 and 42 in its previous five games and was coming off a bye, so it's not like Carolina shut the 49ers down when they were struggling. Granted, I don't expect the Panthers to hold the 49ers to nine points again, but I also think they'll put up more than 10 themselves and keep the 49ers from getting revenge.
The pick: Panthers