Panthers Open As Super Bowl Favorites But Did Oddsmakers Get It Right?

Kevin Stott

Monday, January 25, 2016 1:30 PM GMT

Let’s take a quick look at the combatants and make a NFL pick from these opening lines for the NFL Championship Game in the Golden State and who would be named Super Bowl champ.

***Houndreds Of Proposition Wagers Available At SBR's Super Bowl 50 Betting Guide***

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NFL Pick: Over 45 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Broncos Making Super Bowl 50 Will Make Bettors Have to Think More, May Stunt Overall Nevada Handle a Little
According to oddsmakers, Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos had the least chance of the four teams playing in the NFL’s two conference Championship games entering Sunday, and with the 39-year-old QB showing signs of aging, the Offense sputtering all season and the AFC West champions having to play Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game, it made perfect sense. Plus, Denver went into the Postseason as the only team with a negative TO Differential and 1st-year Head Coach Gary Kubiak made the decision to put Manning—who entering Sunday’s game had just 1 TD pass at Home this year—back in at starter after Brock Osweiler had done a decent job just getting the Broncos into the Postseason. But Kubiak looks pretty darn smart now and Manning showed he can still get it done when he has to get it done despite the Olive Oyl arm as he led Denver to a thrilling 20-18 victory on Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver in the AFC Championship Game where the big story was a missed XP by Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski and maybe how hurried Brady was by the rabid and top-ranked Denver D all day. With the Broncos making the Super Bowl—their 8th—maybe some of the East Coast luster and attention was lost with New England’s departure, and maybe the overall (legal) handle in Nevada will be a couple million less than it would be with a Patriots-Panthers or Patriots-Cardinals Super Bowl. Still, with the game being the last one of the year and the only one left on the NFL odds board, it will be well over-bet, over-talked about and over-hyped, especially with the 2-week gap between this past weekend’s Championship Round and Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7 (6:30 p.m. EST/3:30 p.m. PST) itself.

So did the NFL Odds makers get the numbers right? For the uninitiated, the point of a Point Spread—and the job of the oddsmakers—is to try to set a line which will attract around 50/50 betting action, therefore giving the sportsbooks a better chance to profit for even amounts of action through the 10% vigorish the sports bettors usually pays on most (losing) bets. And with the opening Super Bowl 50 Point Spread seeing Cam Newton and the Panthers—49-15 winners in the NFC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sunday—favored over the Broncos by 3½-points (Paddy Power) and the Total at 45, the spread seems a little high the Panthers way and the Total seems a little low, especially for Santa Clara, California weather, but who knows.  The Money Line (winner) marketplace sees Carolina and Ted Ginn as healthy -187 favorites (888sport) with Denver priced at +154 on the takeback. The Carolina Panthers Total Team Points has opened at 24 (Paddy Power) while the Denver Broncos Team Total Points at 21 (Under -125, Paddy Power). Offshore operator Sportsbook.ag also opened the Panthers as 3½-point favorites (before the NFC Championship Game ha even concluded) on Sunday night, and that number was quickly bet up to -4 as Carolina increased its lead over Arizona and continued to intercept a hapless Carson Palmer in the rout.

By opening Carolina solid 3½-point favorites, those few European sportsbooks, the number may attract some Panthers action with odds Offshore and in Las Vegas looking to be a little bit higher for the favorites. But the Sportsbooks may be building into the Point Spread the possibility that many may back the NFC champions Carolina—making their 2nd Super Bowl appearance—and Newton and the the last thing they saw on their TVs at the betting windows. And it’s hard to disagree with their thinking. But no doubt seeing an Offshore operator open at 3½, fly to 4 and then see the world’s largest sportsbook, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook here in Sin City open the game up at (Panthers) -4 (45½)—after a blink-if-you-missed-it 5½ and 44½—has to get them (European operators) thinking and no doubt the (Point Spread) numbers level out quickly everywhere by Tuesday at the latest. This realized Broncos-Panthers matchup—the two #1 seeds in the AFC and NFC—was priced at +275 at British bookmaker Ladbrokes heading into this weekend so bettors who decided to back the Panthers-Broncos showdown will get their deserved payday but with teams like the Patriots, Packers, Seahawks, Cardinals and Steelers not making it to Santa Clara, it will be the Sportsbooks who will profit the most because of this somewhat unlikely Super Bowl 50 matchup which nobody, anywhere predicted before the Regular Season started.

 

Super Bowl 50 Matchups Futures Book All Scraps of Paper Now But a Fun Ride...Sort Of
A post-mortem on our assignment on Super Bowl 50 Matchups Futures Book odds offered by the offshore sportsbook 5Dimes earlier this year reveals a nasty near-miss and a couple of others which were on the right track, although losers like most Futures Book bets. One of the two “Mid-Shot” Super Bowl 50 Matchup Picks we offered up was the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers at 99/1 (5Dimes), a winner possibly derailed by the defending Super Bowl champions failing to nab the #1 seed in the AFC—when it looked like they had it all season long—and by a PK (Stephen Gostkowski) missing an XP attempt on Sunday after not missing one all season long in the year they decided to move the XP distance back. Go figure. And two of our “Long-Shot” Super Bowl 50 Matchup picks had the right team but the wrong dancing partner with New England Patriots—Minnesota Vikings (+13,600) and Baltimore Ravens—Carolina Panthers +23,000 (at 5Dimes), so some respect up to the point that the ulcer begins and the point I thought the Ravens could get to the Super Bowl this time around after losing so much talent in the Offseason. As with most Futures Book bets, there was only one winner and as we chirped about in that story, there could be a very nice payout this season, primarily because of the emergence and ability to just get to the Super Bowl from NFC sides, Arizona and Carolina, although the big Super Bowl 50 Matchup pick offered up was New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers at 28/1.

Anyway, that one winner with the sweet payout that probably only a handful of sports gamblers had was the Denver Broncos—Carolina Panthers at +12,700, or 127/1 if you’re nasty. A Denver Broncos—Arizona Cardinals (+9600) matchup would have also paid very, very well, and this is one niche marketplace that astute bettors would be wise to pay some attention to next season with so many new teams entering the scene like the Panthers and Cardinals in the NFC and the Bengals and Chiefs (maybe) in the AFC. We were on the right track, but as usual, the track led the that big, hungry bear in the cave and we got bit. Actually, that Packers-Patriots pick we offered up got bit—and beat—in the Preseason by the evil Three Rivers Stadium playing surface which injured Green Bay WR Jordy Nelson in a Preseason game between the Steelers-Packers. (I saw that field swallow a punt one rainy and gloomy Monday night.) And that’s one of the big problem with Futures Bets—so much can happen from the day you bet them until the day they ultimately find their way into the garbage can. Still, at 28/1, and with the Patriots and Packers at least in the NFL Playoffs and both at least making it to the Divisional Round, it was worth the small price for the 6-month-long ride. Sort of. At least there’s some consolation that maybe only one or two very Lucky or very Smart (or both) people actually had that Panthers-Broncos 127/1 Super Bowl 50 Matchup wager, right? Oh well. There’s always next season. As always. Add Over as your early Super Bowl pick.