Nover’s View: 49ers-Panthers Free Sunday Play

On October 9, 2022, in Free Picks, NFL, by Stephen

49ers minus 6 1/2 at Panthers

People can talk themselves out of an NFL winner by overthinking. Take this game. The 49ers are traveling from the West Coast to play on East Coast time following a short practice week after an impressive division win against their arch-rival the Rams this past Monday.

So how can you lay a touchdown with them in this road spot? Back the home ‘dog, correct? 

Not when that underdog is Carolina. Matt Ruhle and Baker Mayfield are auto-fades. It’s really that simple. 

Ruhle was a very good college coach. So was Lou Holtz. As an NFL coach, Ruhle is 11-26 with the Panthers. Carolina has lost and failed to cover in 10 of its last 11 games going back to last season. As embarrassing as Nathaniel Hackett has been for the Broncos, it is Ruhle who has the shortest odds of being the first coach fired. 

Hopefully the once ubiquitous Mayfield commercials have all been shelved. He might be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL. Mayfield ranks 33rd of 33 qualifying quarterbacks in the metric expected points added per play. He ranks 30th in passer ratings, 31st in percentage and 27th in yards despite playing in all four games. Mayfield has had an NFL-high 11 passes batted down at the line of scrimmage.

Things have reached such a low point with Mayfield that Carolina fans are yearning for the return of Sam Darnold. Can there be a lower bar? 

Carolina ranks last in yards per game at 262.3. The Panthers have scored two touchdowns on defense. If you take those away, the Panthers would be averaging 15.5 points per game. That would rate them 30th. 

The 49ers happen to be the top defensive team in the NFL holding foes to 11.5 points a game. Nick Bosa is the league’s sack leader with six. 

The Panthers have an active defensive front. However, their secondary could be down their fine safeties. Jeremy Chinn is out with a hamstring injury and Xavier Woods is dealing with a hamstring injury, too. 

Jimmy Garoppolo looked more in rhythm against the Rams than he did two weeks ago against the Broncos. Garoppolo has the benefit of Kyle Shanahan scripting plays for him along with the tremendous run/catch talents of Deebo Samuel and perhaps the league’s finest all-around tight end, George Kittle. Carolina’s defense already is working overtime being on the field so much because its offense ranks last in third down conversions. 

Given all of this, I’m not afraid to lay this number with the 49ers. 

(I am 20-8-1 this season in the NFL looking to beat the NFL for the 27th time in 30 years. I have five premium NFL Sunday plays today in addition to this free selection starting with the early London game involving the Giants-Packers. I also am 26-13 in college football this season on my premium/free plays. If you are interesting in my sports service please email me at, or message me via Twitter. All of my picks come with my signature, unique analysis and are emailed well ahead of game time.)


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