The New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers are tied for the best betting odds to win the 2016 Super Bowl. As three-point favorites in the AFC and NFC Championship games, the two teams have been given equal odds to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy at Levi’s Stadium on Feb. 7.
Both the Patriots and Panthers have +190 championship odds, via Bovada.lv. The Denver Broncos are home underdogs in the AFC title game, and they have +400 odds to close out the season with two more wins. The Arizona Cardinals have +400 odds to win in Carolina and defeat the AFC champion.
Having the best Super Bowl 50 odds for much of the season, the Patriots are looking like themselves again at just the right time. The bye week helped the team get healthier, as the returning Julian Edelman caught 10 passes for 100 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs, while Rob Gronkowski made his way into the end zone two times. New England’s running game remains nonexistent, but having possibly the best quarterback and head coach of all time gives the Patriots as good of a chance as any team to win Super Bowl 50.
Carolina has had their share of doubters throughout the season, but oddsmakers had no choice but to make them Super Bowl favorites after defeating the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional playoffs. The Panthers have successfully faced every challenge that’s come their way this season, defeating the defending NFC champs after a 15-1 regular season. On offense, Carolina is led by the likely-MVP quarterback, scoring the most points in the league. Defensively, linebacker Luke Kuechly and cornerback Josh Norman might be the best players at their respective positions, making them possibly the best all-around team in the league.
The Patriots and Panthers are the best teams in their respective conferences, and they should move on to the Super Bowl, giving the NFL a rematch of the title game from 12 years ago. Both teams, however, will be challenged Sunday.
The Broncos have an uphill battle to win Super Bowl 50, even though they’ll be at home in the AFC Championship Game. Denver’s offense is easily the weakest of the four remaining playoff teams, and Peyton Manning looks like a shell of his old self. But the team’s defense gives them a chance to win the title. The Broncos allowed the fewest yards of any defense this season, and they beat the Patriots in Week 12.
Arizona was the Super Bowl favorite before the divisional playoffs, but they have a tough matchup ahead of them when they visit Carolina. The Cardinals barely beat the Green Bay Packers in the second round, trailing for much of the second half and needing overtime to get the victory. But Arizona is considered to be the best NFC team by many experts. In the regular season, they ranked first overall in total offense and second in total defense among teams in the conference.
After winning last year’s Super Bowl, the Patriots are looking to win their fifth title with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick leading the way. The Broncos last won a title in 1999 when John Elway won a second straight Super Bowl, though Manning and the Broncos lost in the Super Bowl two years ago. The Panthers and Cardinals both have one Super Bowl appearance with no titles in the Super Bowl era.
Prediction: The Panthers continue to prove that they are the NFL's top team, and they are on their way to winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history.