Carolina Panthers vs Denver Broncos – Levi’s Stadium, California at 23:30
So, 32 teams have been whittled down to 2 and we’ve finally reached the Super Bowl 50, where the Carolina Panthers will face off against the Denver Broncos. On paper this looks like it could be a repeat of Super Bowl 48 where the Broncos were crushed after a lightning start from the Seattle Seahawks. This year’s Panthers team are also blowing people away early on and have been scoring a league-leading 17.8 points a game in the 1st half.
Indeed, Carolina’s scoring in general has been superb and they also lead the league in scoring margin (as you may expect given they’ve only lost once) with a +12.9 average. The Broncos are averaging nearly 9 points less than this with a margin of +3.8, with a game that’s more centred around their defence than their offence.
But given how good that defence is, you’d be foolish not to centre your team on it. Denver’s defence has been formidable all season, ranking 1st in total defence, 1st in pass defence and 3rd in rush defence. It all starts up front and their DL with stars like Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware enable them to blitz a very small percent of the time, allowing more players in coverage to stifle their opponent’s pass attack.
It’s this ferocious line that leads me to believe that Carolina won’t be jumping out to a big lead and the game will be kept quite low-scoring. Under 44.5 points is the bet for me in this year’s Super Bowl.
Of course there is another defence in this game and this Panthers defence, led by LBs Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, is no slouch either. Kuechly himself has already returned an INT for a TD in each of the playoff games so far and is playing superbly (and at 25/1, a decent shot for the MVP). Last week they shut down a Cardinals offense that is far superior to what the Broncos field.
If you had to pinpoint a weakness on this Carolina defence, it is probably against the deep pass, but I just can’t see the Broncos being able to take advantage of this due to QB Peyton Manning’s poor arm strength.
Denver, fielding a superb defence and a limited offence, could mean we’re in for a defensive battle and a low-scoring affair.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 44.5 Points at 1.92
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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