Super Bowl betting action is nearly as much of a story as the game itself.
With two weeks between the conference championship games and Super Bowl 50, the changing point spread has a chance to take casual bettors and wise guys on a journey as they look for the right opportunity to bet their hard-earned money (ahem) on the game.
The early action was primarily on the Carolina Panthers, who once again sit as six-point favorites in the game over the Denver Broncos, according to OddsShark. The Super Bowl line was set at 3.5 points within minutes of the Panthers' victory over the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game. It went up quickly after that, and reached six points by the middle of last week.
The line was knocked down to 5.5 points briefly, but many of the sportsbooks in Las Vegas brought the line back up to six points.
The majority of the money and individual bets that have been made have come in on the Broncos. With five days to go before Super Bowl 50, 58 percent of the bets have been on the Panthers, according to OddsShark.
|Super Bowl 50 Odds|
|Game||Point Spread||Over/Under||Moneyline||Fractional Odds|
|Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers||Car. (-6)||45||Denver +127; Carolina -197||127-100; 100-197|
However, even though it seems the public is backing the Panthers heavily to this point, there is plenty of Denver money out there, according to VegasInsider reporter Micah Roberts' interview with Wynn sportsbook director John Avello.
Avello said that as much as 80 percent of the money that comes in on the Super Bowl is bet on Saturday and Sunday.
A good percentage of that money could come from Denver bettors who are hoping the point spread reaches 6.5 points or higher. The line may not reach that point, but Denver backers are apparently willing to wait.
The moneyline has also favored the Panthers, as Carolina is minus-197 to win the game straight-up, while the Broncos are plus-172. A Carolina bettor would have to risk $197 to win $100 while a Denver backer will risk $100 to win $172.
The over/under betting has been quite steady to this point. The total is sitting at 45 points and has remained at that level even though 60 percent of the money wagered has been on the over.
While some handicappers are expecting an influx of cash on the Broncos, it seems unlikely that the proportions of the betting will change dramatically.
The Panthers have simply been too strong and dependable all season, and they are the more explosive offensive team by a wide margin.
Quarterback Cam Newton will likely be awarded the NFL's MVP on Saturday night because he was the league's most impactful player this season with 35 touchdown passes and 10 touchdown runs. More than the numbers, Newton came through with clutch plays all season and his ability to lead his team is unquestioned at this point.
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Peyton Manning appears ready to head off into the sunset of retirement after this game. While nothing is official, Manning mouthed those words to New England head coach Bill Belichick when the two met at midfield following the Broncos' victory over the Patriots in the AFC title game.
Manning's performance has fallen dramatically, throwing just nine TD passes and 19 interceptions during the regular season. In addition to his falling stats, Manning's ability to throw the mid-range and deep pass has clearly taken a hit because his passes lack velocity and tend to wobble.
The Broncos' strengths at this point are their top-ranked defense and Manning's ability to read defenses and manage the game.
Denver backers are hoping that will be enough to move the line another half-point or more before Sunday's kickoff at 6:30 p.m. ET at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.