Just as in the first meeting between the teams in November, the 49ers are favored over the Panthers in Sunday’s NFC divisional-playoff matchup in Charlotte.
As of late Monday afternoon, most Nevada oddsmakers listed the 49ers as two-point favorites at Carolina. The Niners, who defeated Green Bay on Sunday in the wild-card round, are the only road favorite in the divisional playoffs, and they are the narrowest favorite in the four games to be played this weekend.
It is quite rare for a home team to be an underdog in the divisional round. From 1993 through 2012, home teams were favored in 77-of-80 divisional-round matchups, with one game rated a pick ‘em, according to Marc Lawrence and Jim Feist point spread archives.
Interestingly enough, the only home underdogs in this span were the 2011 49ers and 1996 Panthers. Both teams pulled upsets, with San Francisco knocking off New Orleans 36-32 as a three-point underdog on January 14, 2012 and Carolina beating three-point favorite Dallas 26-17 on January 5, 1997.
The Panthers, for what it’s worth, have a knack for exceeding expectations as underdogs in the divisional round. In addition to 1996, the Panthers won outright as underdogs in the 2003 and 2005 divisional rounds, per Lawrence data.
For the record, the Panthers have only been favored once in the divisional round.
You might recall how that ended.
The Panthers, who were favored by 10 points, lost 33-13 to the visiting Cardinals in the 2008 postseason.