Cam Newton Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are favored by as much as 5.5 points at some sportsbooks. Getty

As the 2016 Super Bowl gets closer, the Carolina Panthers are getting more and more support from the betting public. The initial point spread has increased as the week has moved along, and the Denver Broncos are decided underdogs in the final game of the NFL season.

Carolina was a 3.5-point favorite on the morning after the NFC Championship, but that wasn’t the case for long. By Monday afternoon, the betting line jumped up to 4.5 points, and it’s increased even more over the last two days. Some sportsbooks have Denver getting five points in Super Bowl 50, while a handful of casinos and online sportsbooks have moved the point spread up to 5.5 points.

The Panthers were undervalued for much of the year, finishing the regular season with the third-best record against the spread. But the public is now backing the team that’s won 17 of their 18 total games. Of Carolina’s 17 victories, 13 have come by five points or more.

The Broncos won three fewer regular-season games than the Panthers, and they haven’t been nearly as impressive in the playoffs. While Carolina has beaten their postseason opponents by 41 total points, Denver has been just nine points better than their playoff opponents. Their games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots both came down to the wire.

Denver went 12-4 in the regular season, but they were nowhere close to dominant. Six of their wins were decided by scores in the final two minutes, and the AFC Championship would have gone to overtime if New England converted a two-point conversion with 12 seconds remaining.

More than anything, the public is supporting the better quarterback. Cam Newton will be the likely MVP winner at the NFL Honors on the night before Super Bowl 50, and Peyton Manning is in the twilight of his career. Newton continues to put up big numbers in the playoffs, while Manning has been carried by the NFL’s best defense.

Sportsbooks are rooting for the Broncos, much like they hoped the Patriots would defeat the Seattle Seahawks a year ago. With $115.9 million wagered on the 2015 Super Bowl at Nevada sportsbooks, gamblers lost a total of $3.2 million.

The over/under has remained the same at most sportsbooks, shifting between 45 and 45.5 points.