NFL Betting: Super Bowl 50 Early Trends and Meaningful Line Moves

Nikki Adams

Monday, January 25, 2016 8:32 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 8:32 PM UTC

Super Bowl 50 Betting has been open to trading barely 24 hours and already there are significant NFL betting trends and line movements we’re spotting. Find out what those are in this space.

Carolina Panthers Motto: Keep Pounding
The Carolina Panthers have a motto: keep pounding. First coined by the late Sam Mills (both a player and coach of the Panthers before passing away from intestinal cancer in 2005) during their memorable run to the 2003 Super Bowl. It would seem the NFL betting public has adopted this exact same phrase in their approach to Super Bowl 50 betting, pounding the Panthers at early doors.

The Panthers set up a date with the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 following a comprehensive beat down of the Arizona Cardinals in Charlotte on Sunday. At the start of the season, the Panthers weren’t projected to win anything at all, not even the NFC South title, let alone the NFC Championship and Super Bowl 50.

Preseason NFL odds favored either New Orleans Saints or Atlanta Falcons to clinch the division this year; both were matched at +200 NFL odds in NFC South betting futures. Tale told, the Saints came in third with a 7-9 SU mark (a result that fell in line with our preseason, game-by-game predictions against projected season win totals) while the Falcons finished 8-8 – once again, a prediction that fell in line with our game-by-game predictions for the Atlanta Falcons Season Win totals.

The Carolina Panthers technically were the second overall favorites at +225 NFL odds to win the NFC South title, but third overall favorites after the joint tandem of Saints and Falcons. Odds makers posted season win totals of 8.5 for the Panthers, just as they did for the Saints and Falcons, but with the UNDER favored at -140 and the OVER disadvantaged at +110. Arguably, we’d predicted the Panthers would crack the 8.5 projected season win total and, as such, recommended taking the OVER 8.5 on NFL picks in this market, but, even, we didn’t expect quite the stellar season the Panthers eventually ended up enjoying.

To sum it up in a word: historic. From breaking numerous franchise records and breaking the NFC’s longest winning streak in the regular season to multiple players cracking individual records into smithereens, the Panthers have had an unbelievable season; one for the ages. And the dream continues in the playoffs.

Is it any wonder the public is jumping on their bandwagon one and all?


Denver Broncos Defiant
Although the Denver Broncos were installed as the home underdogs in the AFC Conference game, Peyton Manning and Company must have ignored the script. Defiantly dethroning the defending champions New England Patriots as the +3 home underdogs in a narrow 20-18 win to book their spot in Super Bowl 50.

Unlike the Panthers, the Broncos were looked upon rather favorably in preseason NFL betting markets. Certainly, they were the team to beat in the AFC West at +200 NFL odds, a good distance ahead second favorites San Diego Chargers at +350 and the rest of the field. As well, they were amongst the top five contenders for the Super Bowl 50.

Projected season win totals for the Broncos were trading at 10 wins for the season and the Broncos cracked that number to cash on the OVER 10 at -120 for NFL bettors, as per our recommended NFL picks on season win totals.

Yet, in spite of their solid regular season that had them clinching the AFC top seed, the Denver Broncos weren’t the top favorites in Super Bowl 50 betting markets at the vanguard of the playoffs.Heck, they weren’t even one of the top two teams as one would imagine they’d be in deference to their seeding. They were fifth overall favorites – trading anywhere from +578 to +605 NFL odds – behind the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.

The rather disadvantaged outlook on the Denver Broncos had a lot to do with the question marks hanging over Peyton Manning and his fitness. To be fair, his diminishing arm strength, foot injuries and advanced years were viable concerns, but not to the extent embodied by detractors, who merrily wrote off the Broncos entirely without so much of a flinch. For the last couple of years, many fawned over Peyton Manning, gushing over his offensive prowess as he littered the stats sheets. So he didn’t have a season to rival those previous two in which he ranked amongst the best quarterbacks in passing yards, touchdowns and what not. He still has one of the best defenses he’s ever played with, never mind probably one of the best defenses in the league’s recent history. 


Impact of the AFC and NFC title games on Super Bowl 50
How might have Sunday’s Conference round of the playoffs impacted Super Bowl 50 betting, you may be wondering. Well, rather remarkably, to put it mildly.

Super Bowl 50 NFL lines are barely 24 hours old, but the NFL betting action furiously coming down the wire at early doors is so shockingly one-sided that it beggars belief, honestly. According to SBR Consensus Betting Polls, as of Monday, the Panthers have 64.91% of spread tickets and a whopping 89.75% of the money staked on the game, to the tune of $2,686,263. That the proportion of money is greater than the proportion of spread tickets is a good indication of sharp money on the Panthers. As is the average wager size which hovers around $875.00. That’s not pocket money for most mere mortals on any given day.


Straight up bettors are a little less one-sided in their NFL picks it would seem as money line money appears to be tipping the scale towards the Broncos with both a good chunk of the tickets and money. Could it be bettors are simply hedging their bets with opposing bets in SU and ATS markets?

As far as total bettors go, 62% Consensus betting is on the OVER 45 according to polls around markets. However, there’s a caveat to be had here: the NFL lines opened at 45.5 at most sports betting outlets such as 5Dimes, Pinnacle, Heritage and BetCris, to name a few, yet, despite the overwhelming OVER bets on this game the line shrinks by half-a-point. A reverse line movement that could very well be an indication of early sharp money on the UNDER coming down the wire.

To be fair, Super Bowl betting 50 only just went to press less than 24 hours ago. OK, it’s not exactly HOT OFF THE PRESS anymore, but it’s warm on the NFL odds board. The market on this game is going to remain open for another two weeks, until kick-off on Sunday, February 7. That’s a lot of time for things to shake up in the market. It remains to be seen whether it will shake up and by how much – will the pendulum swing the other way at all as late bettors weigh in with their NFL picks?  Or if the current trends stay the course until we all settle in on our couches, at friends’ houses, in neighbourhood pubs or, even, at Levi Stadium, if you’re one of the lucky ones, to watch the Panthers and Broncos battle it out at Super Bowl 50.


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