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♦ NFL 'Super Bowl 50' ♦ Previews, Articles, Info. • Sunday 2/7/16

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    NEWSLETTER Super Bowl Prop Bet From Alan Harris

    Total Field Goals Over 3.5 (-120) (6:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 7)
    Any time you have two teams with good defenses meeting, the games are usually close, which plays right into our hands here with this prop wager. We see both teams being able to move the ball between the 20s pretty easily on Sunday, but once they enter the red zone look for both defenses to clamp down a bit and force a bunch of field goal attempts. Also, favoring us here are the actual kickers, which is a good thing to have on your side in a field goal prop. Both Brandon McManus and Graham Gano were in the Top 5 in field goals made this season with 30 each and both have a decent enough leg (Gano: Long FG 52 yards and McManus: Long FG 57 yards) that Ron Rivera and Gary Kubiak won’t have an issue sending either guy out for a 50+ yard attempt. Throw in the fact that the two kickers are a combined 10/10 here the playoffs on their FG attempts and we’ll play the over as the Weekly Newsletter Free Play as we expect both teams to have a bend-but-don’t-break philosophy on defense, leading to enough FG tries from both sides to put this one over the number on Sunday.


    NEWSLETTER Super Bowl Prop Bet From Allen Eastman

    Take First Team To Score Wins The Game: Yes (6:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 7)
    I will be wrapping up my football season with my Super Bowl plays this weekend and I would love to have you playing along with me. As for this prop bet I am following history. Through the first 49 Super Bowls this has been the pattern, with the team that scores first going on to win the game 34 of 49 times. That is a nearly 70 percent trend at work. With two very good teams and with two outstanding defenses, I think that is going to be the case here as well.


    NEWSLETTER Super Bowl Prop Prediction From Doc’s Sports

    Longest Super Bowl Touchdown: Take ‘Over’ 44.5 yards (6:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 7)
    The Panthers have a bunch of big-play threats and I feel for the Broncos to have any chance they are going to need big plays on offense. Both teams have outstanding defenses, and thus it will be very hard to sustain a long drive. Therefore, teams will be more adapt to take a chance on big plays since scoring may be at a premium.


    Six-point Super Bowl spreads are like shooting stars at sportsbooks
    By Jason Logan

    Super Bowl 50 pointspreads of six points were like shooting stars, briefly lighting up odds boards across the sports betting industry before fading just as fast.

    Bookmakers online and in Nevada tested the waters at Carolina Panthers -6, with one-sided money piling up on the favorite for Sunday’s “Big Game”. Moving to the key number of six prompted plenty of smart money from big bettors and well-known wiseguys to buy the underdog Denver Broncos, and books happily accepted those sizeable wagers before going back to Panthers -5.5 as of Wednesday night.

    At the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, considered by many to be the Mecca of sports betting in the Silver State, the 6-point spread hit the board Tuesday morning and didn’t last more than 24 hours before money on Denver forced the line back to Panthers -5.5.

    “It’s nice to know we can move it to six and see Denver money and don’t have to go through all those true football numbers, which can be a little nerve wracking,” Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports for the Superbook. “It’s really a good bookmaking game so far. We didn’t really want to go to six but (one-sided action on Carolina) pushed it there. Now going to 6.5 would be a much bigger move.”

    So far, with about four days of wagering left before Sunday’s 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff in Santa Clara, Kornegay estimates about 85 percent of the handle is on the one-loss Panthers. And with about 95 percent of the total handle still to come in between Thursday and Sunday, he doesn’t think that handle percentage will change too much.

    “There could be some sentiment toward the Broncos and Peyton (Manning),” says Kornegay. “It would definitely make for a good story, but most of those bettors are going to choose their pocket over sentimental value.”

    Online at, they were a little quicker to move to Carolina -6 and made the jump last Thursday. But, much like the Superbook, that bigger spread had a shorter lifecycle than most mayflies, with sharp action snatching up the extra half point.

    “I guess some of the sharper bettors assumed that’s the best they were going to get so they grabbed the +6 with Denver,” John Lester, lines manager for, tells Covers. “The spread has bounced around between -5.5 and -6 over the last few days, but just today we’ve gotten off the -115 juice on the Panthers’ side.”

    Lester says that even though the book is heavier with Carolina money, with an estimated 75 percent of their handle riding on the favorite, Denver bets are starting to trickle in as the weekend appears on the horizon.

    The one market that sportsbooks expected Broncos bets, and didn’t receive them during the bye week, was the underdog moneyline – a popular play among Super Bowl bettors each year. But, as of Wednesday night, Denver backers are starting to pass on the points and take the Broncos to win outright on Super Sunday.

    “We’ve actually seen some decent moneyline plays on the Broncos of late so those odds have dipped to +195 after it was as high as +215,” notes Lester.

    Kornegay is also reporting slower action than expected on the Broncos’ moneyline but has faith that the tourist crowd looking for that big “Big Game” score will gravitate toward the plus-money offering.

    “I do expect that to come,” he says. “I can’t say we’ve taken nothing at all on them (Denver moneyline), but I thought I would see more. But we do have more money on the Denver moneyline than we do the Carolina moneyline.”

    While the North American betting markets ramp up for Super Bowl 50, across the pond UK-based sportsbook operator is bracing for their biggest Super Bowl ever in terms of action and interest from European punters.

    According to Alex Donohue of, Super Bowl XLIX between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks doubled the amount of wagers they had taken on any previous Super Bowl matchup. They’ve expanded their Super Bowl betting options drastically over the past decade and now offer more than 200 individual markets on the biggest sporting event in the United States. As for the action on the game, the Panthers’ dominance in the regular season and playoffs has not escaped the betting public in the UK either.

    “We generally expect to see nearly 75 percent of our turnover in the 24 hours prior to kickoff but so far most of the action has been on Carolina,” Donohue tells Covers. “We opened last week with the Panthers at four points but have moved to -5.5 and are still seeing money on them. Cam Newton has also been a popular pick for Super Bowl MVP and we have had to shorten him up in that market.”

    As mentioned above, the bulk of the Super Bowl handle – which reached $116 million in Nevada last year and is predicted to hit over $4 billion in total wager across North America overall (legal books in Nevada and Delaware, online shops, and illegal bookies) – will come in the Friday, Saturday and on Super Bowl Sunday. And outside of a complete and unlikely flip-flop in betting trends toward the Broncos, sportsbooks across the globe are hoping for the same game result.

    “Our best-case scenario is for Carolina to win but not cover,” says Kornegay, who has a tough time saying those words as a die-hard Broncos fan. In fact, the one bet the Colorado native is sweating the most this Super Bowl weekend is the one wager that never got made.

    “I have done it for I don’t know how many years,” he says of placing a Super Bowl futures bet on his beloved Broncos. “I just do it as a fan because I would kick myself, as a fan, not to have a ticket on them. And that’s what happened. Here I am with nothing.”

    “I bet the Rockies to win the World Series for God’s sake. I don’t know why I didn’t bet the Broncos.”


    NFL’s biggest betting mismatches: Super Bowl 50
    By Jason Logan

    Each week, Jason Logan breaks down some of the underlying mismatches in the NFL, hoping to give you an inside edge when handicapping the schedule and setting your daily fantasy lineup. Here are two of the biggest betting mismatches for Super Bowl 50:

    Denver Broncos vs. Carolina Panthers (-5.5, 44)

    Panthers’ poor finishes vs. Broncos’ grand finales

    During their 17-1 run, the Panthers haven’t shown many cracks in the foundation. Even against the spread, Carolina has been a consistent moneymaker, bringing a bountiful 13-5 ATS count to Santa Clara this Sunday. But those ATS paydays have not come without some sweat, especially with Carolina running out of steam in the fourth quarter this season. The Panthers, who topped the NFL in scoring with 31.2 points per game, average just 6.3 points in the final frame – ranked 22nd in the league.

    It’s a surprising stat considering Carolina puts up averages of 7.2 points in first quarters (2nd), 10.6 in second quarters (1st), and 7.8 in third quarters (2nd) for 2015-16. Over the last five games, the Panthers have been outscored 62-80 in the second half and 28-45 in the closing 15 minutes of those games, so it’s not only the offense suffering a downtick but the defense as well, allowing 6.8 points in the fourth quarter – 13th most in the NFL.

    Now, this sharp fourth-quarter decline could be for good reasons, one being that the Panthers have creamed opponents in the opening three quarters and are eating up the clock in the fourth and scoring less because of it. But, whatever the reason, it has to trouble Carolina bettors jumping on this game late into Super Bowl 50 betting. With the Panthers going as high as -6 at sportsbooks, and those late-game no-shows, the possibility of a backdoor cover looms large on Super Sunday.

    Add to those startling trends the fact that Denver has played some of its best football in the final quarter, and the backdoor could look like a two-car garage come Sunday night. The Broncos defense allows six points per fourth (10th), but the offense – which hasn’t been much of a threat all season – shows up better late than never. Denver is averaging 7.2 points per fourth quarter, which makes up 32 percent of its overall 22.2 points per game, and has bettered that scoring pace to nine points in the final 15 minutes of its last three contests.

    Broncos’ bad starting field position vs. Panthers’ short fields

    A big reason why so many kids in Charlotte have a game-worn “Duke” on their night stands this February is because the Panthers offense got a head start on the competition most weeks. Thanks to a stingy defense that ranks sixth in total yards and forced 78 punts, 25 of which were deemed a fair catch, Cam Newton & Co. started drives closer to their opponent’s end zone more often than 30 other NFL teams.

    According to, the Panthers’ average offensive starting field position of the 30.53-yard line per drive is second only to Kansas City. And according to SportingCharts, Carolina started only 18.69 percent of its drives inside its own 20-yard line – fourth lowest in the entire NFL – for a total of only 37 offensive drives backed up inside the twenty. That space allowed Newton and the offense to run its dangerous read-option playbook wide open most drives.

    On the other side of the field at Levi’s Stadium Sunday will be a Denver stop unit that ranks tops in the NFL in yards allowed despite starting their defensive stands at an average of the 29.49-yard line, which ranks 29th in the league. And working backwards against how Carolina’s defense helped its offense, the Broncos’ sputtering offense did its worst to make life rough for their defense.

    Denver’s offensive drives started at an average of the 25.54-yard line (26th) and recorded 55 drives starting inside their own 20-yard line – the most in the NFL. In fact, 27.64 percent of the Broncos’ total offensive drives were backed up inside the twenty (4th most). That led to 85 punts (7th most) and only 16 of those were called a fair catch with five going for touchbacks. Carolina also dominated in time of possession, with 32:10 per game (2nd), against Denver’s average TOP of 29:45 (21st).


    Advantage – Denver
    By Kevin Rogers

    For the third straight season, the top two seeds in the NFL meet up in the Super Bowl. The Broncos are back in the big game for the second time in this span as Peyton Manning could be suiting up for the final time in his Hall of Fame career. Denver needed two victories in its final two games of the regular season to capture the AFC West title, while holding off the Steelers and Patriots to win their eighth AFC championship in franchise history.

    The Broncos (14-4 SU, 9-8-1 ATS) owned the league’s best defense this season in several categories, including total yards per game (283.1), passing yards per game (199.6), while finishing fourth in points allowed (296) and third in rushing yards per game (83.6). Standout linebacker Von Miller racked up 11 regular season sacks, while tallying 2.5 sacks in the AFC Championship victory against New England. The Broncos returned six interceptions for touchdowns this season, while the defense allowed 20 points or less 12 times in 18 games.

    Although Manning’s numbers weren’t near his standards from earlier in his career, the Broncos’ quarterback didn’t turn the ball over in the two playoff wins over Pittsburgh and New England. Manning is playing his fourth career Super Bowl, but is listed as an underdog for the first time after being favored in Super Bowl XLI against the Bears, Super Bowl XLIV against the Saints, and Super Bowl XLIX against the Seahawks.

    The Broncos cashed in all five opportunities as an underdog this season, including a pair of outright victories over the Patriots. Denver also knocked off Green Bay at home in the ‘dog role, while beating Kansas City on the road back in Week 2 as three-point ‘dogs in a 31-24 victory. The Broncos have been listed as this heavy of an underdog with Manning under center since getting 5 ½ points in a 31-21 defeat at New England in 2012.

    Underdogs have fared well in the Super Bowl recently, covering in six of the past seven opportunities (last season’s game doesn’t factor in since it closed at pick). Taking it a step further, since 2002 favorites of five points or more own a dreadful 1-6 ATS record in the Super Bowl with the only team to cover in this span being Manning’s Colts in Super Bowl XLI against Chicago. handicapper Joe Nelson breaks down Denver’s success against the run, especially against teams that excel on the ground, “Denver shut down the run this season despite six games vs. teams that finished in the top 10 in the league in rushing yards per attempt, with Carolina sitting as the 11th ranked team in that measure. The Panthers were one of the least productive passing teams in the NFL, gaining less than 226 yards per game in the air and Denver’s plan will be to force Cam Newton to make plays in the air rather than finding success in the running game.”

    Denver’s defense faces a new challenge in Newton due to his size, but Nelson says the Broncos will get pressure on the Carolina quarterback like they did in the AFC Championship, “Newton is as physically imposing as any quarterback to ever play the game, but keep in mind the historically great performance that Denver’s defense had against Tom Brady in the AFC Championship, probably the greatest quarterback to ever play the game. The Broncos hit Brady 23 times, 11 more times than he had ever been hit in any of his previous 224 career games. Brady was sacked four times and threw two interceptions looking very little like the Hall of Fame caliber player that he generally has looked like in his career.

    This is the first Super Bowl played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, as there haven’t been many high-scoring games there since the venue opened in 2014. “Fifteen of 18 Denver opponents were held to 24 or fewer points this season and in 10 games counting the preseason at Levi’s Stadium this season, no team scored more than 24 points on the soft turf in this still new venue. Carolina outscored foes by 16 points per game at home in the regular season but out-paced opposition by just half that number on the road while also just playing one game on the west coast, the miracle comeback win at Seattle in October,” Nelson comments.

    The Panthers are 3-2 SU/ATS in Newton’s five playoff games, but only one of those games took place away from Bank of America Stadium. The lone postseason contest away from Charlotte with Newton under center was a 31-17 loss at Seattle last season in the divisional round as 13 ½-point underdogs. Seven of the eight road games came against non-playoff teams, while needing to rally from a 20-7 deficit in a 27-23 victory against the Seahawks in Week 6.

    The Broncos won all four games against NFC competition this season, sweeping the NFC North and holding all four squads to 20 points or less. Since Manning joined the Broncos in 2012, Denver is 13-4 in the last 17 interconference games with two of those losses coming to Seattle. The Broncos routed the Panthers in their last meeting in Charlotte back in 2012 by a 36-14 count, as Denver reached the end zone with a punt return and interception return for scores.


    Advantage – Carolina
    By Kevin Rogers

    It’s been a historic season for the Carolina Panthers, who finished with a franchise-best 15 regular season victories and a third straight division championship. The Panthers couldn’t escape past the second round in the past two postseasons, but Ron Rivera’s team reached the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history after knocking off the Seahawks and Cardinals at home.

    Carolina (17-1 SU, 13-5 ATS) owned the third-best ATS record in the regular season at 11-5, while posting a 9-4 ATS record as a favorite of seven points or less. Twelve of 17 wins came by a touchdown or more, including victories against playoff squads Seattle, Arizona, Green Bay, Washington, and Houston. The defense stepped up in those wins against postseason teams, allowing 17 points or less three times, while giving up all 24 points against Seattle in the second half of its divisional round triumph.

    Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton tied for second in the NFL with a career-high 35 touchdown passes, while reaching the end zone 10 times on the ground. Newton tallied five more touchdowns in the postseason (three passing and two rushing), including a pair of ground scores in a 49-15 rout of Arizona in the NFC Championship. Although Newton eclipsed the 300-yard mark only four times this season, the Heisman Trophy winner cut down on the interceptions by getting picked off just twice in the last 10 contests.

    Carolina’s defense finished sixth in the regular season, allowing 322.9 yards per game and 19.3 points per game. The Panthers scored six touchdowns on interception returns, including a pair of scores from All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly in the two playoff victories. Four players on the vaunted Carolina defense intercepted at least four passes this season, including a combined 13 from the secondary duo of Josh Norman and Kurt Coleman.

    The Panthers ranked second in the NFL in rushing offense with 2,282 yards in the regular season, while racking up an impressive 142.6 yards per game. Carolina finished tied with Buffalo and Kansas City for the most rushing touchdowns with 19, while running back Jonathan Stewart compiled 989 yards in only 13 games (76 ypg). Tight end Greg Olsen picked up his second straight season of at least 1,000 yards receiving by accumulating a career-best 1,104 yards on 77 catches. Olsen finished second among tight ends in the league in yardage, falling 72 yards short of New England’s Rob Gronkowski.

    With Newton under center, the Panthers have been fantastic against AFC opponents by posting a 13-6-1 record since 2011. One of those losses came against the Broncos back in 2012, but Carolina went 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS against the AFC this season. In three of those wins, the Panthers allowed 17 points or less, while the defense intercepted seven passes in the four interconference victories. handicapper Joe Nelson provides plenty of reasoning to back Carolina, who is trying to complete one of the best seasons in NFL history, “With the one-loss record and the remarkable scoring margin, this is a Panthers team that enters the conversation of being one of the greatest teams of all-time should they complete the campaign with a Super Bowl victory. Some of the other teams on that list including the ’85 Bears, the ’89 49ers, the ’94 49ers, ’08 Patriots, and the ’96 Packers were all double-digit favorites in the Super Bowl, while the Panthers should kick off as a favorite of less than a touchdown for a relative bargain to back a team that many consider in that company.”

    The turnover margin for the Panthers has been incredible this season (+28), as Nelson says this affected Carolina’s offensive numbers, “Carolina had a remarkable turnover margin this season which certainly boosted the scoring numbers as the offensive production was far from league-best for the Panthers. One can argue that Carolina so often had huge leads in games that they were able to conservatively run its offense to close out games and the potential of the team is far greater than the numbers suggest.”

    Nelson continues regarding the success of Carolina against top-notch defenses, “What the Panthers did against elite defenses facing Seattle and Arizona tells a truer picture of what Carolina is capable of offensively. While Carolina benefitted from four defensive touchdowns in the regular season, Denver actually had five defensive touchdowns as the Broncos actually may have caught more big breaks to inflate the numbers.”

    Denver’s defensive numbers were tremendous this season, but that wasn’t the case for the offense. “Denver has only scored 22 points per game this season with the Broncos taking four losses in the regular season before surviving two very close calls in the playoffs. At no point this season did Denver even reach Carolina’s scoring average, as the high mark for the Broncos was 31 points in Week 2 at Kansas City, a game in which Denver benefitted from five turnovers,” Nelson says.

    The Broncos own the most Super Bowl losses with five, as Denver has lost by an average of 29.6 points per game in the five defeats. Two years ago, the Broncos became the first team since the Giants in Super Bowl XXXV in 2001 to fail to reach double-digits as they were blown out by the Seahawks, 43-8. Peyton Manning has lost two of three Super Bowls in his career, as his teams scored a total of 25 points in the two defeats.


    Advantage – Over
    By Chris David

    Through 10 games of the NFL postseason, total bettors have watched the ‘under’ go 6-4 and nine of the 10 outcomes were clear-cut results with the Chiefs-Patriots ‘over’ in the Divisional Playoff round receiving help with a late touchdown.

    For Super Bowl 50 between the Panthers and Broncos, oddsmakers sent out an opening total of 44 ½ points and that number spiked as high as 46 at some books but has since simmered back down to 45 and 44 ½ points as of Thursday.

    For this piece, I’ve provided some angles that could bolster your ‘over’ lean and that’s been the total trend in the most recent finales. The high side has cashed in three straight and four of the last five Super Bowls.

    Will we see four in a row this Sunday?

    With help from handicapper Joe Nelson, we’re going to give you plenty of reasons to answer “Yes” this Sunday.

    CD’s Over Betting Angles

    — Carolina has cashed the most ‘over’ tickets in the NFL this season, going 12-5-1 this season.

    — The Panthers-Over combination cashed eight times this season, two of those winning tickets come in the postseason.

    — Denver was an underdog four times in the regular season and the ‘over’ went 4-0 in those games.

    — The Broncos scored 31, 29, 30 and 27 points in those games when catching points.

    — Carolina has a great defense but it allowed 21.5 points per game on the road this season, compared to 17.5 PPG in Charlotte.

    — The Panthers have seen the ‘over’ go 4-1 in five postseason games with Cam Newton as their starting quarterback.

    — Denver has played in seven Super Bowls and it owns a 2-5 record. The ‘over’ is 6-1 and the combined average score is 53.1 points per game, the lowest result (27) occurring back in 1978 in Super Bowl XII.

    — Carolina has only been on in one Super Bowl and it lost 32-29 to New England in the 38th installment. The ‘over’ (37 ½) easily cashed.

    — Total bettors have seen four totals listed between 44 and 45 points in the Super Bowl and the ‘over’ has cashed in three of those games.

    — This will be the 12th Super Bowl played in California and points have been aplenty on the West Coast. In the first 11 games, bettors have seen an average combined points of 50.1 which has helped the ‘over’ produce a 9-1 record.

    — The last Super Bowl that was played in Northern California, San Francisco defeated Miami 38-16 in 1985 from Stanford Stadium and the ‘over’ (53.5) barely cashed.

    — This will be the fourth consecutive year that the Super Bowl featured an African American starting quarterback and seventh overall in the 50-year history of the pro football championship. In the first six games, those players helped their teams average 30 points per game which has helped the ‘over’ go 4-2.

    Expert Analysis – Joe Nelson

    Some may be viewing this year’s Super Bowl as an offense vs. defense matchup given Denver’s great defense and the high scoring of the Panthers. Carolina led the league in scoring this season and the Panthers were also a productive offensive team posting almost 367 yards per game. Denver gained over 355 yards per game as well as the Broncos were capable of moving the ball this season despite not always delivering great scoring numbers. While the Broncos passed for a total of just 360 yards in the two playoff wins combined, in the regular season the Broncos threw for over 248 yards per game despite balancing two quarterbacks, 24 more yards than Carolina’s offense totaled per game on average.

    Denver and Carolina both had successful running games and the balance presented by both offenses should be a challenge for both defenses. Carolina faced potent offensive teams in the two playoff wins but they were also both teams that were pass-reliant late in the season and allowed the Panthers to bring serious pressure. The Broncos also faced a one-dimensional New England offense in the AFC Championship while also facing a Steelers team that was beat up without its top running back or wide receiver and with Ben Roethlisberger not playing at 100 percent.

    With a total of 45 the recent scoring numbers for the Panthers make the case for the ‘over’ an easy one. Carolina’s NFC South schedule can be fairly criticized but facing elite defenses in the playoffs the Panthers put up 80 points in two games and had they not built up huge first half leads they likely could have scored even more. In eight of the last nine games Carolina has scored 31 or more points by themselves and only once since Week 3 did the Panthers fail to score at least 27 points.

    Denver’s defense deserves great credit for getting big stops and holding the Steelers and Patriots to a combined total of just 34 points in two playoff wins but both quarterbacks threw for over 300 yards against Denver’s defense despite its great reputation. The great regular season numbers for the Denver defense also featured no games vs. any of the league’s top seven yards per play offensive teams. Carolina did face a few top offensive teams this season but they also had regular season games vs. four of the six worst yards per play offenses in the league as the case can be made that the numbers on defense are a bit better than they should be on both sides.

    The ‘over’ went 12-5-1 in Carolina games this season and after taking heat for nearly blowing a big lead vs. Seattle in the divisional round an aggressive approach was displayed by ‘Riverboat’ Ron Rivera in the NFC Championship. The team seems to feed off that approach and if the Panthers have their way it will likely wind up as another higher scoring game with the defense daring Manning to beat them through the air.

    Carolina has also shown the ability to score quickly with defensive and special team plays as well as quick strikes on offense. While Denver got big stops in key plays last week, Cam Newton’s size makes the Panthers devastatingly effective in 3rd down and red zone situations as the Panthers rarely settle for field goals. Denver actually scored six defensive touchdowns in the regular season as well as the likelihood of a defensive score or a big shift in field position due to a turnover is great. With a total of only 45 which is relatively low for this season in the NFL, one defensive score would greatly shift the trajectory of the scoring pace.


    Advantage – Under
    By Chris David

    Finding an ‘under’ winner in the Super Bowl hasn’t been easy lately but things normally balance out and if you look at the history of the first 49 finales, you’ll notice that the ‘over’ barely holds a slight 25-23 edge.

    So will the ‘under’ snap the recent ‘over’ run this Sunday?

    We’ve dug up some angles below that could have you pointed that way, plus we’re happy to get expert analysis from handicappers Joe Nelson and Paul Bovi.

    CD’s Under Betting Angles

    — Denver was ranked fourth in the NFL in scoring defense (18.3 points per game) and Carolina wasn’t far behind with 19.3 PPG.

    — Carolina averaged 33.6 rushing attempts per game, which was ranked first in the league. The Panthers were second in time of possession (32:10) and those numbers were both consistent on the road and at home.

    — It’s hard to knock the Panthers offense but their scoring average was 29.5 PPG on the road compared to 34.4 PPG in games played at Charlotte.

    — Denver averaged 22.1 PPG this season, which was ranked 18th in the league.

    — The Broncos averaged 1.3 runs red zone scores per game, which was ranked 26th in the league and second worst amongst all playoff teams.

    — Denver dominated the NFC this season, going 4-0 in non-conference games while holding those teams to 12, 20, 10 and 15 points. For those who remember, the Vikings put up 20 versus the Broncos and seven of those points came on a long touchdown run by Adrian Peterson.

    — The Panthers saw the ‘under’ go 2-1-1 in four games against the AFC this season and the defense only allowed a total of 19 points in two contests played on the road.

    — Peyton Manning has produced a 13-13 postseason record over his career. The ‘under’ has gone 18-8 (69%) in those games.

    — Carolina has been golden for bettors this postseason, covering and going ‘over’ in its first two games. Will we see another wire-to-wire Panthers-Over combo this Sunday? The odds are against them and the last team to go 3-0 SU/ATS/O-U in the playoffs was the 1994 San Francisco 49ers, who outscored opponents 131-69 during that stretch.

    — In their last 10 trips to California, Denver has gone 10-0 versus the Raiders and Chargers while the ‘under’ has gone 7-3 over this span.

    — NFL primetime games have watched the ‘under’ go 30-21 (59%) in the regular season and if you include the playoffs, that number improves to 32-22.

    Expert Analysis –Paul Bovi

    Denver has struggled with point production all year having only hit the 30-point plateau twice, with one of those being an overtime win (New England) in which they only had seven points at the start of the fourth quarter while the other saw them score two touchdowns in the last 30 seconds of a miracle win over the Chiefs early in the season.

    Defensively, they have allowed a team to hit the 30-point plateau just once, which came in a 31-24 loss to the Steelers on the road. Their productivity, or lack thereof, along with their stout defense is reflected in a total that has leveled off at the 44-45 mark and that appears to be the right number. It may very well be that turnovers and/or big plays will decide the fate of this one, but on paper this figures to be a lower scoring slugfest that is marked by Denver’s solid defense along with its rather anemic offense.

    Expert Analysis – Joe Nelson

    Last season’s Super Bowl featuring the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots slipped just ‘over’ the total with 52 points scored on a total that closed at 47, falling from earlier numbers closer to 48 ½. As we all recall it looked like even more points would be scored as an interception near the end zone effectively ended the game.

    In Seattle’s Super Bowl win the previous season, 16 points came outside of offensive scoring plays but last season all the scoring came on offense and while there were three turnovers in the game, every scoring drive travelled at least 50 yards. Super Bowl XLIX had a scoreless first quarter but things escalated in the second quarter with two touchdowns on each side including three of those touchdowns coming in the final three minutes of the half.

    While the past three Super Bowls have played ‘over’ the ‘under’ has still hit in six of the last 11 Super Bowls and the totals on the big game are often considered slightly inflated due to the popularity of the game and the common propensity to favor scoring. With that said 10 of the last 11 Super Bowls have closed with a total above 45, with only Green Bay’s win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV featuring a lower closing total than the current common price on this year’s big game.

    The venue seems to favor the ‘under’ as Levi’s Stadium, hosting its first Super Bowl, saw the ‘under’ hit in nine of ten games this season if you count the preseason. San Francisco’s team certainly played a role in that with a limited offense but none of the games in Santa Clara featured more than 45 points this season. The conditions of the field were also often criticized with complaints of soft spots and there is likely some basis for expecting lower scoring in games played in the 49ers home venue.

    When looking at the defensive scoring the case for the ‘under’ has validity as Denver has held 15 of 18 opponents to 24 or fewer points this season and Carolina has held 14 of 18 foes to 24 or fewer points.

    The two playoff games for the Panthers both soared well ‘over’ but Carolina allowed a total of seven points to Seattle and Arizona combined in two postseason first halves with most of the points allowed by the Panthers coming after a big lead was in hand.

    Given Carolina’s league-best 39 turnovers created (plus 9 more in the postseason) the expectation will be a careful calculated offensive approach from the Broncos. While Denver’s defense led the league in fewest rush yards per carry allowed, Carolina was not far behind and it seems reasonable to expect both teams to have trouble breaking big gains on the ground. Carolina’s yardage numbers on defense were not overwhelming this season but they also faced five regular season games vs. teams that finished in the league’s top five in yards per play on offense.

    Both sides also have dangerous play-making secondary players and avoiding turnovers will be the top priority, especially in Denver’s case given how poorly the Super Bowl started two years ago and seeing how well Carolina has started in two playoff games. Denver and Carolina were the top two defenses in the league this season in fewest yards per pass attempt allowed as big plays were very tough to come by against these teams.

    The ‘under’ went 11-6-1 in Denver games this season and it seems likely that the Broncos will aim to be conservative while sustaining long clock-burning drives as they have in both playoff wins. Denver leaned on its defense to continue to get stops on big plays vs. New England and the Broncos know they can’t take great risks with Peyton Manning’s limitations and turnover issues this season.

    Winning a shootout with Carolina seems like a tall order as Denver will likely aim to keep this game with as few possessions as possible and lower scoring potential. While Manning is an all-time great and Cam Newton may win the MVP this season this Super Bowl is featuring two quarterbacks that completed fewer than 60 percent of their passes this season as a defense-oriented game should not be a surprise.



    ‘Super Bowl 50’
    Sunday, February 7, 2016
    Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA

    Denver Broncos vs Carolina Panthers (-6/44-)
    6:30 EST CBS

    The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers square off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The game will kick off at 6:30 eastern (3:30 local time) as televised by CBS. Look for partly cloudy skies and the temperature in the 60’s on a grass field. This is the home field of the San Francisco 49ers, which has from time to time been criticized as being a “slow surface”. For today, however, the field should be in excellent condition and will not play into the outcome of the game.

    The Carolina Panthers are in the midst of a dream run. Starting shortly after the second half of last season, the Panthers are on a 21-2 SU streak. It is worth noting that in this run, they have only faced seven teams who are .500 or better. Thus, the SOS (strength of schedule) is a bit of a question. It can be argued that the Panthers have played their best football in their two playoff wins to date. On Sunday January 17th, the Panthers bolted to a 31-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks. They then put it in to “cruise control” and survived the Seahawks’ second half surge, with a 31-24 victory. Two weeks ago, the Panthers were once again in control early. This time, in pressing to catch up, the Arizona Cardinals committed a whopping seven turnovers. That boosted the Carolina playoff turnover margin to +8, and increased their NFL best net TO margin to +28. Clearly it is a key reason for their success, as any team with a +2 or more net turnover margin in a game has a nearly 80% chance to cover, and any team with a +3 or more net TO margin in a game has a greater than 90% chance to beat the point spread. The credit, however, should be given to the fact that the Panthers use a strong ground game to force their opponents into catch up mode through the air. In the Seattle game, the Panthers outrushed Seattle 41/144 to 12/78. Against Arizona, the numbers were 37/152 to 16/60. Reviewing our running statistics for the year shows that any team who outrushes their opponent by 30 or more yards in a game will cover 75% of the time. Furthermore, any team who runs the ball 30 or more time in a game, while their opponent does not, has an over 85% chance to cover the game. As a corollary of that, any team who runs the ball 22 or less times in a game, while their opponent does not, is an over 85% ATS play against. With all three of those events occurring in each of the Panthers’ last two playoff games, it is little wonder they have outscored the opposition by a combined 80-39. This is not unusual for the Panthers, as behind QB Newton they author an outstanding ground game, which outrushes the opposition 34/143 to 22/86. It was a main reason why they outscored the opposition by an average of 32-19 per game. If there is a negative to the Carolina success, it would be that after establishing early leads in games they often play conservatively, allowing the opponent to crawl back into the fray. Against the #1 rated Denver Broncos defense, it is not a given that Carolina will bolt to an early lead.

    It is that #1 ranked defense of the Broncos that figures to keep them competitive in this game. For the year, they have allowed just 18 PPG, 292 YPG, just 81/3.3 overland (to slow the way in which Carolina establishes their early dominance), and an amazing 4.7 defensive yards per play. After missing a series of games late in the season, QB Manning has returned in better health, having recovered nearly fully from plantar fasciitis, neck, back, and hip injuries. If he is physically able to play the entire game, his mental acuity can offset the physical advantage of his counterpart, Cam Newton. Manning did throw 17 INTs this season, but none since he returned in the playoffs. The Broncos’ two victories in January were far more workman like than those of the Panthers. Denver ground out victories vs first Pittsburgh, outrushing the Steelers 33/109 to 19/85 (there are those running carries again). The next week it was a similar outcome. Denver outrushed New England 30/99 to 17/44. The ensuing +1 net turnover margin in each game solidified victories in which they were notably out passed. Should the Broncos win today, it will most probably be by a narrow margin. Denver won 11 games by 7 or less points, and recorded three victories after trailing by 14 points.

    The “eye test” clearly favors the Panthers in this game. It has been said that early money has favored the Panthers more than any other Super Bowl in history, with reports of 70-80% of the wagers flowing to the Panthers. This has driven the betting line from 4 to 6 points (though crossing a “dead number” of -5 is of less significance than other 2 point moves). The public is clearly enamored with the strong first halves that the Panthers have authored, while noting that the offense of the Broncos has been significantly less dynamic. But the results of those games significantly favor a contrary wager on the Broncos. In NFL playoff action, teams who scored 40 or more points in the previous game have failed to cover an ensuing playoff game 14 straight times in the last 20 years. In addition, Super Bowl teams with the superior defense, like Denver, have captured 40 of 49 Super Bowls. Noting the Broncos straight up home dog victory against New England, we see that in the last 14 years, that is a momentum building win, which has spawned 8 consecutive covers. And if you’re looking for intangible motivation, consider that it was just two short years ago when the Broncos were in the Super Bowl, losing to Seattle 43-8, in one of the biggest post season debacles in recent years.

    With technical factors pointing to the Broncos, let’s review the previous 49 Super Bowls. The line has come in to play in only seven of those games, meaning the team who won the game got the ATS victory 84% of the time. Considering games with a competitive price range of P to -6, we note that there have been 26 of 49 Super Bowls with that impost. In 25 of those 26 games (where the opening line was 6 or less), the team who won the game also got the money. Eleven times, it was the underdog. This is not shocking, considering that in the NFL regular season in game where the opening line was 6 or less, the team who won the game beat the spread 91% of the time (161/183). This is “right on” the long term record for such a statistic.

    Opinion from this bureau is that the Denver Broncos are the value side in this game. The above statistics indicate that if you are going to wager on the Broncos, you may choose to place part of your wager on the money line where you can return twice your investment. My final rating on this game will be released on Super Bowl Sunday after 11:00 AM eastern time. Note that IF it is a rating of 4% or higher, such NFL side selections from this bureau were 42-16 ATS this season, including 5-1 ATS (83%) in the 2016 January NFL playoffs.


    Super Bowl 50 betting preview:

    Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos (+5.5, 44)

    Game to be played at Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

    Cam Newton may be right when he says the world has not seen anyone like him, but those words also can apply to the quarterback on the opposing sideline when the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos collide in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. Peyton Manning, the NFL’s only five-time MVP, will be the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl when he leads the Broncos against Newton and the Panthers.

    In nearly any other scenario, Newton would be the top storyline after leading the surprising Panthers to a 15-1 regular-season record and the top seed in the NFC. The odds-on favorite to win league MVP honors, Newton is attempting to earn Carolina its first Super Bowl title at the expense of Manning, who could be playing in his final game. Manning has had to overcome injuries and a benching to advance to his fourth Super Bowl and will be looking for a better outcome than the 43-8 drubbing administered by Seattle two years ago. “I’ve tried to take it one week at a time all season long,” Manning said. “I’ve tried to stay in the moment and take it one week at a time.” The matchup between the top seed in each conference also features Carolina’s top-ranked offense against Denver’s No. 1 defense.

    TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, CBS.

    The line for Super Bowl 20 opened at most places at Panthers -2.5 to -3.5 with Carolina seeing most of the early money. That caused the line to move all the way to Panthers -5.5. Even more Panthers money moved the line once again to Panthers -6, a number which resulted in some Broncos buy-back, bringing the line back to Panthers -5.5. Currently you can find between Panthers -5 and -6.

    There was less movement on the total. That opened at 45 and held steady there for most of the two week break despite the majority of the money being on the over. Later sharp money brought the the total down to its current number of 44.


    Panthers – FB M. Tolbert (probable Sunday, knee), LB T. Davis (probable Sunday, arm), DT D. Edwards (probable Sunday, personal), CB R. McClain (probable Sunday, ankle), WR C. Brown (probable Sunday, ankle), RB J. Stewart (probable Sunday, ankle), DE J. Allen (probable Sunday, foot), DE C. Johnson (questionable Sunday, knee), C R. Kalil (questionable Sunday, knee), DT K. Short (questionable Sunday, knee), RB F. Whittaker (questionable Sunday, ankle), S R. Harper (questionable Sunday, eye).

    Broncos – DE A.Smith (probable Sunday, personal), S T. Ward (probable Sunday, ankle), S D. Stewart (probable Sunday, knee), G L. Vasquez (questionable Sunday, knee).

    It should be a great night for football Sunday night in Santa Clara. The forecast is calling for clear skies wit temperatures in the low 70’s at kickoff. For those planning on playing an long field goal props, there will be a 9-12 mile per hour wind blowing towards the southeastern end zone.

    “The line movement on this game has been very interesting. After Denver won the AFC Championship and before the NFC title game began, the initial line was Panthers/Cardinals -2.5 (vs. Broncos). By the middle of the NFC Championship game when Carolina was up big, the line was Panthers -3.5 (vs. Broncos) and then opened between -4 and -4.5 around the world after the NFC title game ended. The line rose to the key number of -6 last week, but then we saw some buyback on the Broncos. The public will likely push this line up higher again this weekend as they backed and won big with Carolina in both playoff games versus Seattle and Arizona. The real question is if the key number +7 will ever show this weekend in Super Bowl 50?” – Steve Merril

    ABOUT THE PANTHERS (17-1, 13-5 ATS, 12-5-1 O/U):
    Carolina won its first 14 games behind Newton, who threw 35 touchdown passes and rushed for 10 more scores to spark an offense that rolled up an average of 31.3 points per game and amassed 80 in dispatching Seattle and Arizona in the postseason. Running back Jonathan Stewart returned from a three-game absence to rush for a combined 189 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the two playoff victories while tight end Greg Olsen had six receptions in each of those games after posting team highs of 77 catches and 1,104 yards during the regular season. Despite the high-powered offense, the Panthers ranked sixth in the league with an average of 19.3 points allowed and fourth against the run (88.4 yards per game). Carolina also was fifth in the league with 44 sacks and has a pair of marquee defenders in linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback Josh Norman.

    ABOUT THE BRONCOS (14-4, 9-8-1 ATS, 6-11-1 O/U):
    Manning has shattered all kinds of offensive marks during his record-setting career, but he has been more of a game manager since reclaiming his starting job, throwing for only 398 yards and two TDs in Denver’s two playoff wins. Manning has elite wideouts in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who each went over 1,000 yards this season, but both of his scoring passes in the postseason were to tight end Owen Daniels. Running back C.J. Anderson had a nondescript regular season, but he rushed for 92 yards in Week 17 and added 72 in each of the two playoff wins. Still, the Broncos’ chances hinge mainly on a defense that permitted a league-low 283.1 yards while topping the NFL with 52 sacks. Linebacker Von Miller, selected one spot behind No. 1 overall pick Newton in the 2011 draft, recorded 11 sacks during the regular season and added 2.5 more in a playoff win over New England.


    * Panthers are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games on grass.

    * Broncos are 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games versus a team with a winning record.

    * Over is 4-0 in Panthers last four playoff games.

    * Under is 5-1 in Broncos last six playoff games.

    According to the Covers Consensus, the public is siding with the favorite in Super Bowl 50, with 57 percent of wagers on the Panthers. When it comes to the total, bettors think it will be a high scoring ‘Big Game,’ with 68 percent of wagers on the over.


    2015 NFL

    Super Bowl

    Denver vs Carolina– Here are some notes I have on Sunday’s game………

    — Underdogs covered six of last eight Super Bowls; had Seattle given the ball to Marshawn Lynch on the 1-yard line LY, it would be seven of last eight.

    — Underdogs are 5-3 SU in last eight Super Bowls.

    — NFC is 5-3 in last eight Super Bowls.

    Carolina lost one game all season, a meaningless Week 16 game in Atlanta, which means they are 13-0 on natural grass this season. I’m little concerned about laying points with team that hasn’t been here before- the franchise has been, but not these players. Panthers scored 31+ points in eight of their last nine games, but Denver has a great defense this season.

    Broncos won two games this season where they didn’t score an offensive TD; no other NFL team won one. Only one of their four losses was by more than seven points- they blew a big lead in last loss, at Pittsburgh in Week 16- that was also their last toad game. Manning is no longer an elite QB, but he is an astute game manager now who won’t screw things up, and has been on this stage more than once.

    One of the obscure Broncos got sent home after he was caught in a prostitution sting, always a red flag that indicates lack of focus (I’m serious).

    All of a sudden, the Carolina bandwagon got crowded; they were vastly underrated all year, now sportsbooks are taking ton of Panthers money. I don’t have a strong opinion here, but if you made me take sides, I’d say Carolina 24-20. .

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