Peyton Manning is back in the Super Bowl for the fourth and likely last time of his career, and it’s the first time that his team isn’t expected to win. The future Hall of Famer will lead the Denver Broncos against the Carolina Panthers as underdogs in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.
The betting odds have increased since the matchup was made nearly two weeks ago, but the point spread seems to have settled at 5.5 points at Las Vegas sportsbooks. Odds makers at online betting websites like Bovada and Sportsbook have made the Panthers six-point favorites. The first-half point spread has the Panthers favored by 3.5 points.
There are countless prop bets for the 2016 Super Bowl, including different versions of the point spread. Gamblers can take Carolina+10.5, but the bet comes with -1000 odds, and taking Denver-10.5 comes with +600 odds. Carolina+7.5 has been a popular bet at -800, and gamblers would get -150 odds for betting Denver+7.5.
In the last few years, most of the Super Bowls have been decided by less than Sunday’s betting line. Five of the last eight Super Bowl winners beat their opponent by four points or less, and the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers by six points in 2011. Only three Super Bowls since 2007 have been decided by more than one score, and Manning played in all of those games.
The Packers were the last Super Bowl favorite to either cover the spread or win straight up. Only one underdog has failed to cover the spread in the last eight years.
The Panthers moneyline opened at -175, according to VegasInsider, but the odds of Carolina winning are up to -230. The Broncos moneyline is +190. Carolina suffered their only loss of the season in Week 16 against the Atlanta Falcons, and Denver hasn’t been defeated since they suffered their fourth loss of the year in Week 15 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s Carolina’s second ever trip to the Super Bowl. They were seven-point underdogs against the New England Patriots in 2004, losing 32-29 on a last-second field goal. The Panthers might have been underdogs if the Patriots beat the Broncos in this year’s AFC Championship Game, but they are significant favorites after winning three more games than Denver this season.
Denver made the Super Bowl two years ago as 2.5-point favorites over the Seattle Seahawks, but they lost 43-8 in one of the most one-sided affairs in the game’s history. Sunday will be the franchise’s eighth Super Bowl appearance, having gone 2-5 from 1978-2014.