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Super Bowl 50 is still about two weeks away from kickoff, which gives both the Panthers and Broncos plenty of time to build butterflies in their stomach before the Big Game. As is the case in most championship tilts, contending teams are a little tight early on – manifesting in dropped passes and mental mistakes – and go through a bit of a “feeling out” process in the opening minutes of the game. Super Bowl is no exception.
The last eight Super Bowls have averaged just over a touchdown in the opening 15 minutes, including a big goose egg between the Patriots and Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX last year. Those 7.12 average points sit below the set total for the first quarter, which opened 7.5 (Over -125/Under +105). Carolina was the highest scoring team in the NFL this season and averaged 7.2 points in the opening frame but allowed just 3.9 points against in that span. Denver put up 4.4 points per while giving up an average of a field goal against in the first quarter. With some big stage jitters, there could continue to be value with a first-quarter letdown.
The Louisville Cardinals sit No. 14 in the college polls and 5-1 in ACC play but have yet to take on the class of the talent-heavy conference. The Cardinals have bullied some of the ACC’s mid-tier teams but run a gauntlet of conference heavyweights to close conference play, starting with a home game against No. 12 Virginia Saturday. Following that, UL plays North Carolina, bottom-feeder Boston College, Duke on the road, at Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Duke at home.
Louisville could get caught looking ahead to that tough stretch of sked when it takes on Virginia Tech Wednesday night. The Cardinals travel to Blacksburg with just a 1-4 ATS mark on the road, including a 0-3 ATS record in ACC away games. The Hokies won’t back down from UL either. This program scored an upset over rival Virginia at the start of the month and stood toe-to-toe with UNC in their last game, losing by five as 12.5-point home underdogs.
The Atlanta Hawks have a busy week, fresh off a win in Denver Monday night. The Hawks catch their breath before a hectic itinerary that has them at home against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday, and traveling to Indiana to play the Pacers Thursday for a set of back-to-back games against up-tempo teams.
Atlanta sits idle for two days before closing out a four games in six days slate, visiting South Beach to play the Miami Heat Sunday and then heading home to host the Dallas Mavericks Monday. The Hawks are 7-4 SU but just 5-6 ATS in the second half of back-to-back games this season. Atlanta could be worse for wear in that final game versus the Mavs, boasting an 11-8 SU and 9-10 ATS mark against the West this season.