Five Good Bets for Super Bowl 50

Posted by Aaron . on January 26, 2016 in

The stage is set for Super Bowl 50, as only one team remains from each conference. The AFC will send the Denver Broncos, upset winners over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship on Sunday. The NFC will send the 17-1 Carolina Panthers, who demolished the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship. The opening line for this game was Carolina (-3.5). However, one fun thing about the Super Bowl is some of the other prop bets that you can take out. Let’s take a look at five of them.

What: Super Bowl 50
Who: Carolina Panthers (15-1) vs Denver Broncos (12-4)
When: Sunday, February 7, 2015
Kickoff: 6:30 PM ET
Where: Santa Clara, CA
Stadium: Levi’s Stadium
Spread: Panthers -3.5
Moneyline: Carolina -185 vs Denver +160
Game Total: 43.5
Watch: CBS
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: Carolina vs Denver

Who Will Score First?

The last time the Broncos were in the Super Bowl, an errant snap got by Peyton Manning and ended up resulting in a safety, the first time a Super Bowl had opened its scoring with the defense posting two points. I don’t see the same sort of lightning striking first, so I think that one of the two offenses will put up points first.

The Panthers and Broncos both tend to defer when they win the coin toss. However, no matter which team starts the game with the football, I would pick the Carolina Panthers to score first. The Broncos do have a fearsome pass rush, but one reason for their success against the Patriots was that the Broncos knew that the Patriots weren’t going to run the ball that often. As a result, they were able to widen their alignment of their defensive line and go all-out in pass rush, leaving the box mostly empty and dropping everyone else into pass coverage. The Panthers have a strong running game too, and it’s a lot harder to knock down Cam Newton than it is to knock down Tom Brady. So I would pick Carolina to get on the board first.

The Panthers are probably going to score first.

Passing or Rushing Touchdown First?

So what kind of touchdown will come first? The Panthers scored through the air and on the ground in their NFC Championship rout of the Cardinals. However, they started the game by using the running game to establish the pass. I like them to continue this approach as they open against the Broncos, using the running attack to keep the pass rushers from thinking they can peel around the ends down after down. I think that the Panthers will score the first touchdown, and they’ll score it on the ground.

First Turnover of the Game?

This is an easy one — a Peyton Manning pick. The Panthers put up a +39 turnover differential during the regular season, and they snagged six turnovers from the Cardinals in the NFC Championship. Luke Kuechly has two pick-sixes in these playoffs. Before Manning went down with rib and foot injuries, he was throwing interceptions in bunches. He has limited that since his return, but expect the Panthers to jump his passes.

Over/Under?

This game could get ugly, just like the NFC Championship did. If you see an over/under at between 43 and 48, I would take the over, because of two reasons. I don’t think that the Broncos will be able to hold the Panthers under 20 — and it will take more points than that for Denver to win. If they can’t score, the Panthers will score in bunches again — so I’d go over.

Which Quarterback Has More Yards?

I think that Peyton Manning will struggle to find open receivers against a fearsome Panther pass rush, and his tendency to sail balls when he’s under duress will harm the offense of the Broncos. I would pick Cam Newton to throw for more yards (by a pretty big margin) than Manning.