Jordan Sharp - We had a huge weekend of prop betting in the conference championship games, and now the Super Bowl is set for some more very valuable prop wagers. Here are our three NFL picks.
Peyton Manning O/U 235 ½ Passing Yards
Peyton Manning and the Broncos were able to exploit what ended up being a very average secondary of the Patriots in the AFC Championship, but make no mistake about it, the Panthers’ secondary is much better and will not be dominated early on in the game like Manning did to the Pats. Carolina’s secondary allowed a ton of passing yards to Russell Wilson in the divisional round, but that was because they jumped out to an early lead. Wilson had less than 100 yards passing in the first half of that game to go along with two picks, and while the Broncos’ seemingly have gotten something going with Manning and the passing game as of last week, I’m concerned the sportsbooks are overvaluing Manning’s most recent performance, which wasn’t even that great. Carolina’s secondary held QBs to a QBR of only 73.5 during the regular season, and with how much teams were throwing on them during the regular season, that’s pretty impressive. I see the Panthers limiting Manning and the Broncos’ pass catchers in this one, so take the under on Manning’s passing yards prop with your Super Bowl picks this week. Manning only had 176 passing yards last week.
NFL Pick: UNDER 235 ½ (-105) at Bovada
Which Receiver Will Have The Most Yards?
This is a great value prop from Bovada for a few reasons. Firstly, as mentioned above, if Manning is relegated to a game manager, his passing yards total, as well as his receivers’ yards totals will not be that high, so even though most people expect the Panthers to jump out to a lead in this one, the Panthers could still boast the number one receiver for the game even if the Broncos are forced to throw a lot. After going for over 100 yards receiving last week, Greg Olsen is a great bet to lead the game in receiving once again for a few reasons. Denver’s secondary is very good, but their front seven has struggled at times this season to defend the tight end. During the regular season, the Broncos gave up the 11th most yards to opposing tight ends at just over 900 for the season, and they gave up big games to the likes of Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski. Olsen is forgotten about a lot by the average bettor, but his odds to lead this game in receiving at +300 is too good to ignore. Even if the Panthers get a lead, Olsen will still be targeted heavily, just as he was the last two weeks in the playoffs.
NFL Pick: Greg Olsen (+300)
Panthers O/U 3 Touchdowns
This one could be somewhat of a trap if the Broncos’ defense comes out and surprises everyone, but in the end, the Panthers have been playing better offense than any team virtually all season, and with Cam Newton running the show like the eventual MVP should, I see no way the Panthers don’t get more than three touchdowns in this game. What’s nice about these NFL odds is the number does not have a hook on it, meaning if they only get three TDs, it’s simply a push. However, the NFL Odds value of even money, or +100 for the over makes it worth the chance that we tie with the sportsbooks and simply don’t lose any money. The Panthers have put up over 80 points in their two playoff games leading up to this one, and while the Broncos’ defense is by far the best unit they have played to date in the playoffs, the Broncos are not going to be able to get the kind of pressure they put on Tom Brady last week on Cam Newton. The Panthers have a very credible rushing attack, and on top of that, their offensive line is much better, and Newton will be able to get out of pressure and take off running. The Panthers can win this game in a variety of different ways; I think they get four or more touchdowns on their way to the victory.
NFL Pick: OVER (+100)