When the Super Bowl 50 matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos became official, odds makers gave the NFC champs the edge. With the biggest NFL game of 2016 getting closer and closer, much of the betting public seems to think Carolina will win its first ever championship with ease.
Just hours after the conference championship games were decided, Denver was a 3.5-point underdog. As of Friday morning, several Las Vegas casinos have the Broncos getting 5.5 points. The point spread is even higher at some online sportsbooks, as Bovada.lv and Sportsbook.ag have set the betting line at six points.
The betting odds have moved so much in the Panthers’ favor that gamblers can win double their money for correctly picking a Broncos' victory. According to vegasinsider.com, the Denver moneyline is +200, while Carolina has -240 odds to win Super Bowl 50.
The Panthers had the third-best record against the spread this season, and they’ve gone 13-5 against the spread including playoff games. The Broncos went 8-6-2 against the spread in the regular season, going 1-0-1 in the playoffs.
Carolina was favored in their only loss of the season. Twelve of their 18 wins have come by six points or more, including four wins against playoff teams.
Denver is 4-1 this year as an underdog, winning outright when they were given points against the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. Their only loss came when they started Brock Osweiler at quarterback and visited the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15.
In recent Super Bowls, underdogs that have covered the spread also won outright. Last year’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks was a pick’em, but the underdog was victorious in the previous five title games. A favorite hasn’t covered the spread in the Super Bowl since 2007 when Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears by 12 points.
The over/under was at 45.5 points at some betting websites earlier in the week, but it’s seemed to settle in at 45 points at most sportsbooks. Carolina is the NFL’s top scoring team and Denver has the league’s No.1 ranked defense. Each of the last three Super Bowls have totaled at least 52 points, and the Super Bowls between the Patriots and New York Giants are the only title games since 2007 that have totaled less than 45 points.