With the new Super Bowl Opening Night on the horizon, Las Vegas has unleashed the odds and prop bets surrounding the encounter between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos.
With Cam Newton, Peyton Manning, two elite defenses, an incredible stadium, interesting performances and the globe watching, one would be correct in guessing that the lines out of Las Vegas are at times hilarious, always intriguing and mostly worth strong consideration.
From the MVP to dabbing in team totals and total points scored and so much more, the Super Bowl odds are alive and well for another return performance. Below let's detail some of the most notable.
When: Sunday, February 7, 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Spread: Carolina (-6)
Moneyline: Carolina (-115), Denver (-105)
Folks familiar with Super Bowl props understand how it goes. Las Vegas wants to know how the coin toss will land, which team will win it and if that team will win the game. It also wants to know if those in charge of the national anthem and halftime performances will goof.
That's the easy, fun stuff to get people in the door. Here's a smattering of other props already available, ranging from the funny to the serious, courtesy of Odds Shark:
|Coin Toss||Heads (-105), Tails (-105)|
|First Scoring Play||Touchdown (-145), Field Goal or Safety (+115)|
|First Touchdown Scorer||Cam Newton (+700), Greg Olsen (+750), Jonathan Stewart (+800), Demaryius Thomas (+900), etc.|
|MVP||Cam Newton (-130), Peyton Manning (+275), Luke Kuechly (+1400), Ted Ginn Jr. (+2000), etc.|
|How many times will "dab" or "dabbing" be said by the announcers during the broadcast?||Over 2 (E), Under 2 (-140)|
|Will Ted Ginn Jr. drop a pass?||Yes (-120), No (-120)|
|Will Denver win Super Bowl, Peyton Manning Retires, San Antonio wins NBA Championship, Tim Duncan Retires?||Yes (+2000)|
|Will Peyton Manning announce his retirement in the postgame interview?||Yes (+500), No (-1000)|
|Will Cam Newton break the Super Bowl record of most rushing yards by a QB? (64, Steve McNair)||Yes (+275), No (-450)|
None of the game-related odds will come easy. So it goes when, as the graphic above depicts, both defenses allow an average of fewer than 20 points per game and enter off not only dominant seasons, but also strong showings in conference title games.
Newton leads the way in a few categories for good reason. The man lost his top receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, but still helped the Panthers to 15 wins in the regular season while tallying 45 total scores, 10 of those rushing, ahead of a 49-15 dissection of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC title game while posting four total scores.
So Newton scoring the game's first touchdown and going on to win MVP wouldn't be much of a shock. Denver defensive coordinator Wade Phillips sounds like a guy who doesn't enjoy having to prove the house out in Las Vegas wrong, according to Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post:
Wade Phillips: "You go from Roethlisberger to Tom Brady, thinking there won't be anything tougher. And now you got Cam Newton."— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) January 29, 2016
Seriously, it's easy to see how impressive Newton has been when Ted Ginn Jr., who posted a wow-worthy 10 touchdowns this year, has his own prop in the table above pertaining to his propensity to let well-thrown passes slip right through his hands.
Denver has impressed as well, of course. Manning took the starting gig back from Brock Osweiler in Week 17 to get a win then played well enough to secure a pair of playoff victories to get to Santa Clara.
Oddsmakers had to be thrilled with the return and success because it opened up the door for retirement lines and multisport bet lines like the one in the chart above linking him to Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs.
It gets trickier with the team and eventual outcome odds, though. Much of it leans on the defenses, and the talking points seem to keep coming back to one number—seven.
As NFL Network's James Palmer pointed out, the Broncos excel when hitting quarterbacks that many times, but the elusive Newton has done well to avoid the mark:
Cam Newton wasn't hit more than 6 times in any game this year. The Broncos are 12-1 when hitting the QB 7 or more times this season.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) January 29, 2016
NFL Now weighed in with an interesting comparison between the quarterbacks, which slips in the fact that Newton took seven sacks the last time he encountered the Broncos:
Regardless of classification, it certainly seems like bettors will want to focus on whether Denver's Von Miller-led rush can rattle Newton. It's an iffy proposition, with the rush having hit home and sacked Brady four times in the AFC title game, forcing two interceptions, but getting Ben Roethlisberger just three times with no picks in the divisional round.
Newton is more like Big Ben in his ability to navigate the rush and make plays down the field with his arm or feet. He might not break Steve McNair's rushing record like the prop in the table wonders, but he can make big plays against athletic defenses, much as he did against Seattle and Arizona.
Take that and pair it with the fact that Manning has missed some rather routine throws despite winning. This is the Super Bowl, where those misfires mean everything.
With that in mind, look for these two to cover a rather modest over while Newton etches his name in the books by posting a comeback in the fourth quarter, once he has the Denver rush figured out.
Prediction: Panthers 28, Broncos 20