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How To Bet Super Bowl 50

Posted by Matthew Forrester on 2/7/2016 11:34:29 AM

The major concern facing handicappers this weekend is how to bet Super Bowl 50 with a line that seems to keep growing and growing. The oddsmakers tagged this game with a CAR -3.5 line, before moving it to -5.5. By the time the weekend warriors influence the action, it could balloon even higher.

The extra gap in the point spread is tempting for some of the sharps out there because of what’s typically happened to gangbuster offenses that meet great defenses. To save space, I should probably just point out that the team with a better defense usually wins out in Super Bowl when playing a team that has a top ranked scoring offense.

Obviously, there are lots of reasons for why this happens, but the predominant, underlying theme is that the team with a great offense chokes more often than they don’t. It happened to New England against New York, Seattle against Pittsburgh and – you guessed it – Peyton Manning against the Seahawks. Relying on a team with a blitzkrieg type of offense is a trickier business than people think, which is why a lot of people aren’t sure how to bet Super Bowl 50.

To credit Carolina, the Panthers have absolutely demolished teams since their only loss of the season against Atlanta in Week 16. People are hoping to draw parallels from that game, but the truth is that the Panthers just played too tight. And the Falcons got a little lucky when Matt Ryan heaved a prayer to Julio Jones.

Using that Falcons loss as a way to determine how to bet Super Bowl 50 is a bit of a fool’s errand because what happened after that game is more important. Carolina is a team that learns from their mistakes.

Carolina Panthers (17-1) vs. Denver Broncos (14-4)

Sunday, February 7th --- Levi’s Stadium --- 6:30pm EST

Super Bowl 50 Betting Line: Carolina -5 (43.5)

Following the loss to Atlanta, Carolina steamrolled Tampa in Week 17 to remind everyone that they’re damn good at football, before sprinting out to a 31-point lead over Seattle in the divisional round. By not keeping the tempo up in that game, they nearly let Russell Wilson stage an incredible comeback.

Against Atlanta, the Panthers realized the value of starting strong. Against Seattle, they learned how important it is to keep that momentum going. They put all this together to completely trample the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship game 49-15. By the way, Carolina is averaging a 26.3 points per game in the first half since the loss to Atlanta.

We all know the reasons that you’re going to bet on Carolina. They feel like a fully matured team that has a relentless offense. On paper, Carolina’s offense dwarfs what the Broncos have accomplished this year. Defensively, they’re just as proven as the wrecking crew led by Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware.

You can get in to a legitimate fight about which defense is better in Super Bowl 50. The Broncos allowed the fewest yards and the 4th fewest points. Carolina was ranked 6th in both departments but also led the league with 39 turnovers. Denver should get the nod as the most productive defense of the 2015 season, but when determining how to bet Super Bowl 50, I’m not putting Carolina that much further behind.

This game eventually comes down to whether or not Peyton Manning and this offense can do enough on the scoreboard. Most of the universe doesn’t believe that he has “one more game” left in his arm. And the proof was in the AFC Championship, where the Broncos managed just 12 first downs after picking up 19 against Pittsburgh. For the record, Carolina was the fourth best team in moving the chains, picking up 22.3 first downs a game. Denver was 19th in this category.

Generating first downs are vital to keeping Cam Newton off the field and Denver seemed reluctant to take chances with Manning against New England. If Peyton can’t keep Cam off the field by keeping drives alive, the Broncos are going to give an explosive offense way too many chances.

Generally speaking, everyone is lobbying for the Panthers because they’re flat out the better team. They’re more productive, more reliable at 13-5 ATS compared to Denver’s 9-8-1 ATS record, and simply entering Super Bowl 50 at an apex that they’ve grinded to after some recent close calls.

If you’re wondering how to bet Super Bowl 50 with Peyton Manning, you’re hoping that the defense contains Cam and that the legendary, future Hall of Fame quarterback still has something left to offer. The problem is that we haven’t seen that yet.

On an emotional note, I’m silently rooting for Peyton Manning. I’d be thrilled to see him retire with another ring to at least tie his brother and prove the naysayers wrong one last time. But the handicapper in me can’t put money behind him. He’s come up short in too may big games. This might be the best team he’s ever played on. But there’s no evidence to prove that Manning has the strength to amass the 300+ passing yards that the Broncos will need from him.

Regardless of the points you can get, the Panthers remain the most logical bet you can possibly make. Don’t overthink how to bet Super Bowl 50. Go with the next face of the NFL over the guy who’s been its poster boy for nearly two decades.

Super Bowl 50 Betting Pick: Carolina -5 (UNDER)

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