Carolina Panthers @ San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, 20:05 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Action
Sanders looking for big San Fran start
This week the San Francisco 49ers struck a deal with the Denver Broncos that saw Emmanuel Sanders arrive in San Francisco to bolster the receiving options available to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The 32-year-old leaves a Denver team who are already planning for next season and joins a side looking to make moves in the playoffs, not a bad change of situation. Sanders will be looking to make an instant impact, and facing a Panthers defence who have given up 774 passing yards in their last two games he could be a good bet to have a solid performance.
Sanders has been decent in 2019, despite playing for a poor Denver side, and with the likes of Dante Pettis and George Kittle drawing extra coverage he will be able to get open more often. Sanders is 9/4 to start his San Francisco career with a touchdown.
Dominant defence will shut down Allen
In the last three weeks the San Francisco 49ers defence have allowed just 10 points and none of those have been through the air. First they bullied Baker Mayfield on Monday Night Football, then they held Jared Goff and the LA Rams to just 78 passing yards before a ridiculous 9-0 win in the rain over the Washington Redskins saw Case Keenum throw for just 77 yards. With the secondary giving up 155 passing yards through the air in the last two weeks and a defensive line that is amongst the best in the league, it looks like it will be a long day for Kyle Allen. The second-year QB has been an able deputy for the injured Cam Newton but with Nick Bosa and DeForest Buckner chasing him down he'll need to get rid of the ball quickly, something which he has struggled with at times this season.
The game will be close, but I expect San Francisco's defence to have more success than Carolina's, and that will be the difference in the end. Look for a low scoring affair, as Carolina go with a run heavy attack that will take time off the clock. I'm backing Under 43.5 points in the game @ 8/11. Allen's passing yards line looks much higher than it should be at 221.5 so I'm taking the under there too.
Panthers can be Niners first big test
The San Francisco 49ers have been one of the bigger surprises in 2019. Going in to the season they were expected to be a solid side who would feature in the wildcard race, but after seven weeks they are the only unbeaten team in the NFC. Led by a their sensational defence, the 49ers are 6-0, but I would argue they've benefited from a soft start to the season. The six teams that San Francisco have faced so far have a combined record of 11-28 and only the LA Rams (4-3) have a winning record. Carolina are in the hunt for an NFC wildcard spot, and challenging San Francisco would really lay down a marker.
We last saw the Panthers a fortnight ago, in London, where they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to improve to 4-2. Allen, as always, will be relying on Christian McCaffrey but also receivers D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel. Carolina have a talented offence, and are well rested after their trip to England, so even though I think the 49ers will win, I expect Carolina to put up more of a fight than any other opponent. I'm backing the Panthers side +5.5 as part of a same game multi with San Francisco's win and Under 42.5 points in the game @ 10.06.
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