A Closer Look at the Updated SB50 Point Spread

Posted by Aaron . on February 6, 2016 in

When the Super Bowl betting lines opened right after the conference championship games, the Carolina Panthers were favored to win the game by 3.5 points. As the bets poured in, the action pushed that line up to 6.5 (or even 7) points in a lot of online sports books. Some of the reaction since then has pressed the line back down to 5.5 points. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on here.

A Closer Look at the Updated SB50 Point Spread

A Tale of Two Defenses

This game features the #1 defense in the NFL as far as yards and points go (Denver) and the #1 defense in the NFL as far as turnovers go (Carolina). The Denver front four are as good as it gets, causing as much pressure on opposing quarterbacks by themselves as many teams can produce on an all-out blitz. So Peyton Manning and Cam Newton will both be looking out on defenses that are as good as — in not better than — any of the opposing defenses that they have seen all year long. That will keep the scoring down — at least in terms of offensive touchdowns. The Panthers have two defensive touchdowns in the postseason so far and would love to add a pick-six or two from Peyton Manning to that total.

The Quarterback Situation: Someone Old, Someone New

Peyton Manning has revolutionized the quarterback position in the National Football League in ways that the game may not appreciate for another decade or so. Cam Newton stands ready to revolutionize it again, though. While Manning is the prototypical quick-action passer, who also has the savvy to get the ball deep down the field, Newton is a read-option nightmare, as he is fast and big enough to terrorize defenses throughout a whole game without wearing down. However, he also has the arm strength and accuracy to function as an elite pocket passer week in and week out. So you have a changing of the guard represented by this game. Manning has shown in the playoffs that he can lead a touchdown drive when everything is on the line — but he seems to be working much harder than the giddy Cam Newton.

Is the Broncos’ Offense for Real?

This is the issue that kept many people from betting on Denver in the AFC Championship, and it’s a good question again, going into the Super Bowl. Can the Denver Broncos score points when they need to? Peyton Manning looks like it’s taking every possible ounce of energy to move the ball down the field, and the fact that the Broncos’ offense basically disappeared in the second half last week while the Patriots did everything they could to claw back into a game that they were losing handily at halftime. If the Broncos can’t move the ball enough against the Panther to break 24 or 27 points, they don’t have a chance to keep the Panthers that low.