Super Bowl 50 Betting Preview: Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos

2016 NFL Playoffs
Super Bowl 50
#1 Carolina Panthers vs #1 Denver Broncos
Sunday, February 7, 2016, 6:30 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, California
Opening Line: Carolina -3 1/2
Current Line: Carolina -5
Opening Total: 45
Current Total: 44 1/2
Opening Money Line: Panthers -185 / Broncos +165
Current Money Line: Panthers -220 / Broncos +180

Carolina is a five point favorite against Denver in Super Bowl 50.
Carolina is a five point favorite against Denver in Super Bowl 50.

The 17-1 NFC Champion Carolina Panthers take on the 14-4 AFC Champion Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 Sunday night in Santa Clara, California. The Panthers seek to win their first NFL title in their second Super Bowl appearance. The Panthers lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Carolina seeks to become the fourth NFL team to finish 18-1.

Denver is 2-5 all-time in Super Bowls and seeking their first title since 1999. Denver was drubbed 43-8 two years ago by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. Denver is making their 8th Super Bowl appearance tied with the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers for most all time.

Denver leads the series 3-1 against Carolina. The Broncos won the last meeting 36-14 in Charlotte in 2012. The two teams will play next season in Denver for the first time since 2004.

Carolina is coached by NFL coach of the year Ron Rivera. Carolina won the NFC South for the third straight season and were the #1 seed in the NFC. The Panthers hosted the #6 seed Seahawks in the Divisional round. Carolina won 31-24 against the two time defending NFC Champions. The Panthers led 31-0 at halftime and held on for the win. In the NFC Championship game two weeks ago, Carolina destroyed the #2 seed Arizona Cardinals 49-15 to advance to the Super Bowl.

Carolina has road wins at the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-9, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-23, Seattle Seahawks 27-23, Tennessee Titans 27-10, Dallas Cowboys 33-14, New Orleans Saints 41-38, and New York Giants 38-35. The Panthers also have home wins over the Houston Texans 24-17, New Orleans Saints 27-22, Philadelphia Eagles 27-16, Indianapolis Colts 29-26 in overtime, Green Bay Packers 37-29, Washington Redskins 44-16, Atlanta Falcons 38-0, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-10 in the last game of the regular season. The only loss came at the Falcons 20-13 in week 16.

Carolina was a 3 point favorite against Arizona and the total was 47. The Panthers led 17-0 at the end of the first and 24-7 at halftime. There would be no second half comeback like what the Seahawks almost did the week before. as Carolina cruised to the 34 point win. Arizona had 287 total yards to 476 for Carolina. The Panthers also forced 7 turnovers in the rout. Carolina is 13-5 ATS and the total is  12-5-1 this season.

Denver is coached by Gary Kubiak. The Broncos won the AFC West for the fifth straight season by a game over the Kansas City Chiefs and were the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Broncos, Patriots, and Cincinnati Bengals all finished with 12-4 records, but Denver won the tie-breaker for home field. Denver hosted the #6 seed Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional playoffs and won 23-16. The Broncos beat the #2 seed Patriots 20-18 in the AFC Championship game two weeks ago in Denver.

Denver is coached by Gary Kubiak. The Broncos have home wins over the Baltimore Ravens 19-13, Minnesota Vikings 23-20, Green Bay Packers 29-10 and New England Patriots 30-24 in overtime, Bengals 20-17 in overtime, and San Diego Chargers 27-20 in the last game of the season, along with road wins over the Kansas City Chiefs 31-24, Detroit Lions 24-12, Oakland Raiders 16-10, Cleveland Browns 26-23 in overtime, Chicago Bears 17-15 and San Diego Chargers 17-3. Denver has home losses to the Chiefs 29-13 and Raiders 15-12, along with a road losses at the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 and Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27. The Broncos have won four straight games.

Denver was a 3 point home underdog against the Patriots and the total was 45. Denver took a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a first quarter extra point that would prove to be crucial later in the game. Denver led 17-9 at halftime. The teams exchanged field goals in the second half  and Denver led 20-12 early in the fourth. The Patriots took over at the 50 with 1:52 left and would score with 12 seconds left. New England had to go for two to tie the game, but the pass was tipped and intercepted. Denver held on for the 20-18 win. The Broncos had only 244 total yards but did force two turnovers, not including the interception on the two point try. Denver is 9-8-1 ATS and the total is 6-11-1 this season.

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Carolina is outscoring teams 31-19 this season. The Panthers are #1 in scoring and #6 in points allowed. Carolina is averaging 367 total yards per game including 224 passing and 143 rushing. The Panthers are #2 in rushing but #24 in passing. On defense, Carolina allows 323 total yards including 235 passing and 88 rushing yards. The Panthers are in the top six in total and rushing defense. Carolina is 92/213 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 101/243. The Panthers have forced 44 sacks and allowed 33 this season. Carolina is +20 in turnovers. The Panthers have 5 defensive touchdowns and have allowed 3 special teams/defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Cam Newton has completed 59.8% of his passes for 3,837 yards with 35 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 132 carries for 636 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Newton won the league MVP last night despite the Panthers not really having a number one receiver after Kelvin Benjamin suffered a torn ACL in the pre-season.

Tight end Greg Olsen has 77 catches for 1104 yards with 7 touchdowns. He is probable with a stinger. Receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. has 44 catches for 739 yards and 10 touchdowns. Jerricho Cotchery has 39 catches for 485 yards and 3 touchdowns. Devin Funchess has 31 catches for 473 yards and 5 touchdowns.   Corey Brown has 31 catches for 477 yards and 4 touchdowns. Ed Dickson has 17 catches for 121 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Running back Jonathan Stewart has 242 carries for 989 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 16 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with an ankle injury as is Foswhitt Whittaker. Mike Tolbert and Cameron Artis-Payne will also get some carries. Tolbert has 18 catches for 154 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eleven defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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Denver is outscoring teams 22-19 this season. The Broncos are #4 in points allowed. Denver averages 356 yards per game on offense, including 248 passing and 107 rushing yards. On defense, Denver is allowing 283 total yards including 200 passing and 84 rushing yards. Denver leads the league in total & pass defense and is #3 against the rush. The Broncos are 86/238 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 85/241. Denver has forced 52 sacks but allowed 39 sacks this season. Denver is -4 in turnovers. The Broncos have six defensive/special teams  touchdowns and have allowed three.

Peyton Manning has completed 59.8% of his passes for 2,249 yards with 9 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Manning will start in what could be his final NFL game of a legendary career. Brock Osweiler started in place of Manning for seven games while he was out with a broken foot. Osweiler has completed 61.8% of his passes for 1,967 yards with 10 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, and has 61 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Running back Ronnie Hillman has 207 carries for 863 yards and 7 touchdowns along with 24 catches for 111 yards. C.J. Anderson has 152 carries for 720 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 25 catches for 183 yards.

Receiver DeMaryius Thomas has 105 catches for 1,304 yards and 6 touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders has 76 catches for 1,135 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tight end Owen Daniels has 46 catches for 517 yards and 3 touchdowns. He is probable with a knee injury. Bennie Fowler and Jordan Norwood will also get some targets. The Broncos acquired tight end Vernon Davis in a trade with the 49ers. Six defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

Carolina is 8-1 ATS after accumulating more than 350 total yards, 12-2 on grass, 8-2 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 4-1 against teams with winning records, 11-4 overall, 10-4 after a straight up win, 5-2 after a cover, 7-3 after scoring more than 30 points, and 9-4 in playoff games.

Denver is 8-1 ATS after passing for less than 150 yards, 4-1 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 4-1-1 against teams with winning records, 7-2 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 2-5-1 in playoff games, 3-8 after gaining less than 250 total yards and 1-5 after a cover.

This line opened at Carolina -3 1/2 but moved to -6 at one point. Late money on the Broncos moved the line back to -5. Denver has a dominant defense, but the offense has struggled at times. They can’t get into a shootout with the Panthers. Both of these teams have top five defenses. I just think Carolina is better and I like the Panthers to win a low scoring game.

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