Football fans and analysts often suffer from recency bias. It shows in what has now become a fashionable bet on the 49ers keeping close and, to some, winning outright. Listening to some betting analysts and then hearing fans parrot it back, 49ers and the +5.5 points has become the trendy pic. It's a fools gold bet and the Panthers will go Bonanza on San Fran. Here are five reasons why.
1) Kyle Shanahan has Taken Prisoners of the Moment
Shanahan orchestrated the league's most powerful offense last season as Atlanta's offensive coordinator. His offensive success wasn't new either. He was a part Washington's success when RGIII exploded into the scene. Shanahan emerged as an offensive guru because of these two moments primarily. While last year's Falcons offense was impressive, there's been too easy of an assumption that his "offensive genius" will seemlessly translate to a 49ers offense devoid of offensive talent. We have yet to see what Shanahan will be as a head coach, and he hasn't just dominated the Panthers throughout his career. Sure, Atlanta and Julio Jones steamrolled Carolina last year, but he didn't have that success against the Panthers defense in 2015 or when he was in Washington with RGIII.
2) The Unknown Favors Gold-diggers
Because Shanahan had such success in Atlanta, there is an unknown factor about what San Francisco can be. There has been a huge turnover in the 49ers organization. Less than 50% of the roster from last year is still on the team. There is a mystique that shrouds the 49ers, while doubt clouds that around Cam Newton's shoulder because of his lack of participation throughout the preseason. It's all false hope, however. Cam Newton is a former MVP and Brian Hoyer is a dude without a hairline. The unknown here isn't as mysterious as we should think. Carolina is better on both sides of the ball and has more talent.
3) People are too Influenced by the NFL Draft
John Lynch had an impressive first draft, there's no denying that. Much of it just fell in his lap with the Bears moving up one spot to get Trubisky and the 49ers selecting Solomon Thomas, who they were going to pick anyway. Reuben Foster then slid and slid, and Lynch jumped back into the last pick of the 1st round and grabbed a Top 10 talent. While these two picks alone will be phenomenal additions, between April and August, football analysts become too focused on the additions made in free agency and the draft. Sure, it's an important time, but it tends to steal the focus away from components that are far more determinate to a team's immediate success.
4) Road Favorites Traveling East to West is Playing Too Much
Carolina has to travel across the country and play on another team's turf. As the betters are overthinking this play, they are saying that this often doesn't help a team and that it's not smart to take a road favorite. Generally, traveling west to east causes more problems for NFL teams. Home-field advantage can be helpful, but it isn't as determinate as it is in the college game. Sure the crowd can give a team a little momentum, but in the pros, the better team wins.
5) San Francisco Lacks Offensive Talent
Carolina is better on both sides of the ball, simple and plain. Shanahan may have Guru status but he is working with an offense that has Pierre Garcon as their #1 receiver. Garcon has only had two 1,000+ seasons, one being with Shanahan when he was in Washington and last year where Washington wasn't good. San Fran's #2 receiver, Marquise Goodwin, has only 780 career receiving yards--and that's over four years. Sure, Carlos Hyde is a thumper but he hasn't ever surpassed 1,000 rushing. I guess if he is going to hurt a team, it would be early in the season. He's never played a complete season. Most importantly, Bryan Hoyer is Bryan Hoyer. Carolina has real, proven players that outmatch San Francisco on both sides of the ball. The offense, led by Cam Newton and now powered by Christian McCaffrey, is more dynamic. Pound for pound, on both sides of the ball, Carolina is the better team. Carolina's defense has a pretty easy task ahead of them. Take away Carlos Hyde and limit Pierre Garcon. After that, there's not a lot 49ers have that a hard-hitting defense like Carolina's can't handle.
It's a fools gold bet to take San Fan and the points here. Give me Carolina all day in what will be a decisive win at worst and a blowout at best! What do you think? Drop a comment below if you think San Fran and the points is gold or fools gold.
By Tony Dunn
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