Updated Super Bowl 50 Odds

Posted by Aaron . on February 1, 2016 in

When the  Super Bowl 50 betting lines just opened,  the the Carolina Panthers were favored to beat the Denver Broncos by 3.5 points. Since then, that line has crept up to six points. Given that this is the most wagered sporting event every year, you can imagine that each shift in the point spread has seismic effects on the amount of money that people will win or lose depending on the outcome of the game.

How the SB50 Betting Line has Changed in Recent Days

Other than the Panthers’ announcement over the weekend that linebacker Thomas Davis would be able to play in the Super Bowl, there has not been any news that is pushing the shift in the line. Instead, it is the heavy action that has come in on the Panthers’ side that has pushed the line up. The more money that goes on the Panthers’ side, the higher the line will slide.

So why are people so high on the Panthers? People are reacting to the dominant performance that the Panthers put up in the NFC Championship, when they trounced the Arizona Cardinals 49-15. In that game, the Panthers took the ball away seven times (six turnovers by Carson Palmer and a muffed punt return), and the Cardinals never really got a chance to get untracked. Given how powerful the Arizona offense had been all season long, this was a shocking development.

Some people bring up the fact that the Denver Broncos had the #1 defense in the NFL this season. It’s true that the defense limited what the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots were able to do in the first two rounds of the playoffs against Denver. However, the Steelers almost beat Denver with a quarterback who couldn’t throw the ball more than 15 or 20 yards down the field, and if the Patriots hadn’t missed an extra point in the first half, they wouldn’t have had to go for two points when they scored their late touchdown, and they probably would have sent the game to overtime. Given that the Broncos had only scored three points in the second half, you would have had to like the Patriots’ chances in the extra frame.

So the real problem isn’t the Broncos’ defense — it’s the Broncos’ offense. Yes, Peyton Manning had his first game all season with multiple touchdowns in the AFC Championship — but given the high-flying nature of the Panthers’ attack, that’s not a ringing endorsement. Manning had a wide-open look at a touchdown in the third quarter but misfired, forcing the Broncos to settle for a field goal. There is the sense that the Panthers will score more than 20 points, because they don’t have any injuries (like the Steelers) and they don’t have an anemic running game (like the Patriots). Even with that #1 defense, the Broncos will need to be able to put points on the board, and there isn’t a lot of confidence that they will be able to. As long as that persists, this line will stay at six — and could slide even higher as more money pours in.