The point spread for Super Bowl 50 was made available just a few moments after the Carolina Panthers polished off the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.
There have been steady reports on how that spread has moved since the Panthers were established as 3.5-point favorites over the Denver Broncos. That number quickly rose to six points before it steadied out, and with the game just a few hours away from its 6:30 p.m. E.T. kickoff at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the Panthers are still strong favorites.
While the number has dipped to 5.5 points, the Panthers remain a strong choice since they have attracted 54 percent of the legal bets that have been made.
For all of the talk about the point spread, the over/under—which is 44.5 points for the Super Bowl—and all the prop bets that are available on the game, much of the betting on the game will be done in the final hours before kickoff.
That includes legal betting in Las Vegas, online betting, casual betting and the unregulated betting that takes place when a phone call is placed between an interested bettor and a bookie who is thrilled to take the action on the game.
|Game||Line||Over/Under||Money Line||Point Spread and Total Selection|
|Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers||Carolina (-5)||44.5||Denver +195; Carolina -225||Carolina; Over|
Source: Odds Shark; Silverman selections
Bettors are procrastinators who tend to think long and hard before placing their bets.
It's a tough business when money—hard-earned or otherwise—is being placed at risk. Every angle and possibility needs to be considered. Here are some of them:
- Can the Denver defense slow down Cam Newton?
- Will Newton be able to continue his incredible roll or will the pressure of the moment impact his performance?
- Can Thomas Davis play effectively less than two weeks after surgery on his forearm?
- Will Kawann Short chase down Peyton Manning. If so, will he hurt him badly when he gets his arms around the quarterback?
- Can the Panthers defense shut down or limit the Broncos' running game?
- Will Jonathan Stewart impose his will on the game with power running between the tackles?
- How many big plays will Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman make for the Panthers?
- Can Newton get away from Denver pass-rushers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware?
- Which special teams unit will make an impact play?
- Which defensive team is likely to come up with the most turnovers?
- Can either coach come up with a play or a strategy that helps his team get over the top?
- Will either of those men come up with an ill-advised piece of strategy that keeps his team from raising the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the game?
This is what makes the process so difficult. Both teams are clearly talented, but there are myriad variables, and it's difficult to make a clear choice without second-guessing.
That's why the basic question of Super Bowl 50 may offer the best betting opportunity.
Which team will win the game?
While it is overshadowed by the point spread, picking a straight-up winner is one of the betting options for Super Bowl 50. The money line offers the underdog Broncos at plus-195 and the favored Panthers at minus-225.
That bet is clearly a strong option for those who believe the Broncos will win the game, and it is also much safer for Panthers backers.
How many times does a game come down to a last-second field goal that allows a team to secure a victory by one, two or three points? The gambler may be risking $225 to win $100 on the Panthers winning the game, but at the end of the day, he is winning his bet if the favored team wins the game.
From this perspective, the game should belong to the Panthers. They have a hard-hitting, aggressive defense that is capable of making as many big plays as the top-rated Denver defense.
The offensive advantage clearly belongs to the Panthers. They have the most dynamic player in the game in Newton, and after getting recognized as the NFL's MVP on Saturday night, he should be ready to put on a show in Super Bowl 50.
Manning is a brilliant leader who has been one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. He may be one of the top four quarterbacks in league history along with Joe Montana, Johnny Unitas and Tom Brady.
But at this point in his career, he is hoping to get to the top of the mountain as a result of his guile and intelligence. Those are excellent attributes, but they won't be enough to help the Broncos keep it close in the Super Bowl.
The Panthers will be celebrating late Sunday night after having won the first Super Bowl in franchise history.
Betting information courtesy of Odds Shark.