Super Bowl 50 betting preview: Panthers vs. Broncos

Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos (+5.5, 44)

Game to be played at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

Cam Newton may be right when he says the world has not seen anyone like him, but those words also can apply to the quarterback on the opposing sideline when the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos collide in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. Peyton Manning, the NFL’s only five-time MVP, will be the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl when he leads the Broncos against Newton and the Panthers.

In nearly any other scenario, Newton would be the top storyline after leading the surprising Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season record and the top seed in the NFC. The odds-on favorite to win league MVP honors, Newton is attempting to earn Carolina its first Super Bowl title at the expense of Manning, who could be playing in his final game. Manning has had to overcome injuries and a benching to advance to his fourth Super Bowl and will be looking for a better outcome than the 43-8 drubbing administered by Seattle two years ago. “I’ve tried to take it one week at a time all season long,” Manning said. “I’ve tried to stay in the moment and take it one week at a time.” The matchup between the top seed in each conference also features Carolina’s top-ranked offense against Denver’s No. 1 defense.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS.

LINE HISTORY: The line for Super Bowl 20 opened at most places at Panthers -2.5 to -3.5 with Carolina seeing most of the early money. That caused the line to move all the way to Panthers -5.5. Even more Panthers money moved the line once again to Panthers -6, a number which resulted in some Broncos buy-back, bringing the line back to Panthers -5.5. Currently you can find between Panthers -5 and -6.

There was less movement on the total. That opened at 45 and held steady there for most of the two week break despite the majority of the money being on the over. Later sharp money brought the the total down to its current number of 44. Check out the complete Super Bowl 50 line history here.

INJURY REPORT:

Panthers – FB M. Tolbert (probable Sunday, knee), LB T. Davis (probable Sunday, arm), DT D. Edwards (probable Sunday, personal), CB R. McClain (probable Sunday, ankle), WR C. Brown (probable Sunday, ankle), RB J. Stewart (probable Sunday, ankle), DE J. Allen (probable Sunday, foot), DE C. Johnson (questionable Sunday, knee), C R. Kalil (questionable Sunday, knee), DT K. Short (questionable Sunday, knee), RB F. Whittaker (questionable Sunday, ankle), S R. Harper (questionable Sunday, eye).

Broncos – DE A.Smith (probable Sunday, personal), S T. Ward (probable Sunday, ankle), S D. Stewart (probable Sunday, knee), G L. Vasquez (questionable Sunday, knee).

WEATHER REPORT: It should be a great night for football Sunday night in Santa Clara. The forecast is calling for clear skies wit temperatures in the low 70’s at kickoff. For those planning on playing an long field goal props, there will be a 9-12 mile per hour wind blowing towards the southeastern end zone.

WHAT SHARPS SAY: “The line movement on this game has been very interesting. After Denver won the AFC Championship and before the NFC title game began, the initial line was Panthers/Cardinals -2.5 (vs. Broncos). By the middle of the NFC Championship game when Carolina was up big, the line was Panthers -3.5 (vs. Broncos) and then opened between -4 and -4.5 around the world after the NFC title game ended. The line rose to the key number of -6 last week, but then we saw some buyback on the Broncos. The public will likely push this line up higher again this weekend as they backed and won big with Carolina in both playoff games versus Seattle and Arizona. The real question is if the key number +7 will ever show this weekend in Super Bowl 50?” – Covers Expert Steve Merril

CHEERLEADER WAR:


ABOUT THE PANTHERS (17-1, 13-5 ATS, 12-5-1 O/U):
Carolina won its first 14 games behind Newton, who threw 35 touchdown passes and rushed for 10 more scores to spark an offense that rolled up an average of 31.3 points per game and amassed 80 in dispatching Seattle and Arizona in the postseason. Running back Jonathan Stewart returned from a three-game absence to rush for a combined 189 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the two playoff victories while tight end Greg Olsen had six receptions in each of those games after posting team highs of 77 catches and 1,104 yards during the regular season. Despite the high-powered offense, the Panthers ranked sixth in the league with an average of 19.3 points allowed and fourth against the run (88.4 yards per game). Carolina also was fifth in the league with 44 sacks and has a pair of marquee defenders in linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback Josh Norman.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (14-4, 9-8-1 ATS, 6-11-1 O/U): Manning has shattered all kinds of offensive marks during his record-setting career, but he has been more of a game manager since reclaiming his starting job, throwing for only 398 yards and two TDs in Denver’s two playoff wins. Manning has elite wideouts in  Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who each went over 1,000 yards this season, but both of his scoring passes in the postseason were to tight end Owen Daniels. Running back C.J. Anderson had a nondescript regular season, but he rushed for 92 yards in Week 17 and added 72 in each of the two playoff wins. Still, the Broncos’ chances hinge mainly on a defense that permitted a league-low 283.1 yards while topping the NFL with 52 sacks. Linebacker Von Miller, selected one spot behind No. 1 overall pick Newton in the 2011 draft, recorded 11 sacks during the regular season and added 2.5 more in a playoff win over New England.

TWEET BEAT:



TRENDS:

* Panthers are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games on grass.
* Broncos are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games versus a team with a winning record.
* Over is 4-0 in Panthers last four playoff games.
* Under is 5-1 in Broncos last six playoff games.

COVERS CONSENSUS: According to the Covers Consensus, the public is siding with the favorite in Super Bowl 50, with 57 percent of wagers on the Panthers. When it comes to the total, bettors think it will be a high scoring ‘Big Game,’ with 68 percent of wagers on the over.

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