Super Bowl 50 Betting Lines HistoryDuring the 2015-16 preseason, the early NFL odds had the Broncos placed favorably among the favorites, while the Panthers were distantly placed among the mid-level NFL teams to claim the trophy. But thanks to their incredible 15-1 SU run en route to claiming the top seed in the NFC playoffs, the lines changed, placing the Panthers amongst the favorites to win the Big Game, along with the Patriots, Cardinals and Seahawks. The Broncos, meanwhile, had an up-and-down regular season that saw them finish with a 12-4 mark. They did earn the honors of clinching the top seed in the AFC playoffs, but there were several questions surrounding the team, particularly in regards to starting QB Peyton Manning, who threw 17 interceptions and just 9 touchdowns in his first nine games before missing six contests with a torn plantar fascia in his right foot. So even with their solid 12-win mark, the Broncos were forced to settle for an underdog status in the Super Bowl 50 odds, coming behind the likes of Arizona, New England, Carolina and even Seattle. But then, Denver defied the NFL odds and beat the Steelers, before knocking off New England in the first game of the Sunday’s Conference Championship matchups as the +3 home underdogs in a narrow 20-18 win to book their spot in Super Bowl 50. Look-ahead NFL lines for the Super Bowl 50 released after that win had the Broncos in the +2.5 or +3 range as an underdog – no higher and no lower – in a matchup against either the Panthers or Cardinals in the Super Bowl. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Carolina blew out Arizona and all hell broke loose in the Super Bowl 50 odds. The Panthers odds as -2.5 or -3 favorites in the Super Bowl were snapped up in an instant. For instance, Pinnacle opened offshore with a Carolina -3.5 line and several other books copied that number for their NFL odds boards. That, however, proved a number too small, given the nature of the whitewashing win by Carolina over Arizona, with the early betting public pounding hard on the Panthers on both the point spread and moneylines. The Westgate Superbook took notice of that and posted an ‘off market’ number, hanging Carolina as -5.5 point favorites. At that time, no other major sportsbook had a number higher than -4, and the majority of the market spotted a -3.5 value on Carolina. The market as a whole soon shifted to -4 after that, and by Monday morning, most of those -4’s had climbed to -4.5’s. Fast forward to Thursday, January 28th, the love and respect for Carolina continues to pour, and the lines have climbed as high as -6, or even higher in some books. So what does this say about the lines and how we should bet?
Carolina’s Motto: Keep Pounding and the Odds will ImproveThe Keep Pounding motto for the Panthers this season, which was first coined by the late Sam Mills (both a player and coach of the Panthers) during their 2003 Super Bowl run, is seemingly finding a new life in the 2015 Panthers team. After a historic season that has seen the Panthers break several franchise records, along with breaking the NFC’s longest winning streak in the regular season and multiple players setting new individual records, the NFL betting public is finally ready to recognize the Panthers for their real worth as an elite team whose time has arrived. As a result, the betting public is pounding hard on Carolina in the Super Bowl 50 lines. Consensus polls from various sportsbooks reveal that NFL betting action is furiously coming down the wire at early doors, with the Panthers witnessing over 60 % of the action in the early spread tickets and over 85 % of the money staked on the game. The fact that the proportion of money is greater than the proportion of spread tickets is a clear indication that public and sharp money is on the Panthers, something that should be an encouragement for other early bettors to equally take advantage of the affordable lines to wager on Carolina.
The Broncos are TOP Underdogs to Bet on SB50Obviously, Manning’s diminishing arm strength, advanced years and foot injuries are viable concerns in ahead of the Big Game, just in the same way there are genuine questions about the rest of Denver’s offense. Still, this is the same Denver team that defiantly dethroned the defending champions New England Patriots as home underdogs, showing the type of character needed to win even when the team is not playing at its best. Added to the fact that Denver’s running game is good enough to get some solid production against Carolina, and Denver’s menacing defense is a sure-bet to take away some sting from Carolina’s offense; I wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos (who are 5-1 SU and 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games as underdogs) defied the odds once again to beat the Panthers, like they did to the Pats in the AFC Championship game.