The Carolina Panthers rolled into Super Bowl 50 via a dominating 49-15 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Cam Newton headlined the victory with 4 total touchdowns, while the Carolina D harassed Arizona QB Carson Palmer into 6 turnovers. The Denver Broncos had a much-tougher conference championship game, barely surviving the New England Patriots by a score of 20-18. But Peyton Manning and the Broncos moved on nonetheless and will look to give the future Hall of Famer a second-career Super Bowl title in what may be his final game.
On paper it looks like the 17-1 Panthers have the advantage. However, when analyzing the matchup, each team has a solid chance to both win and cover the spread. This being said, let’s look at why both Carolina and Denver can cover the Super Bowl 50 line.
GTBets.eu Line for Super Bowl 50 (Feb. 7th at 6:30 EST)
Carolina -6 (-110)
Over 45 (-110)
Under 45 (-110)
Why Denver (+6) can cover the Spread
Nobody is more tested in close games this season than the Broncos. The 2-point victory over New England bumped their record to 11-3 in contests decided by seven or fewer points. Beyond this, they’ve also played extremely tough competition, including the Chiefs, Patriots and Steelers all twice.
Denver also lays claim to the league’s best defense, finishing No. 1 in total defense, pass defense and sacks during the regular season. Considering how good this unit is at stopping opposing teams, it’s little wonder why the Broncos are rarely out of a game. If there’s anybody who can knock Newton out of his rhythm, it’s the Denver defense.
Of course, we can’t deny the motivation that this team will have when trying to get Manning one final victory. The 5-time MVP hinted that he’ll retire following this season, which will certainly provide some fire behind the Broncos. And despite missing seven starts due to a foot injury, Manning looked much better against the Patriots after tossing two touchdowns.
Why Carolina (-6) can cover the Spread
Because reigning NBA MVP Steph Curry said Carolina will win, and this guy never loses!
Seriously, though, the Panthers are expected to win for a reason: they won 17 out of 18 times this year. And Cam Newton is probably the biggest reason, proving himself to be the league’s scariest dual-threat QB. The 4-year veteran has racked up 3,837 passing yards and 636 rushing yards to go along with 45 total touchdowns. Denver may have minimized Tom Brady’s passing ability, but they could have a much harder time doing the same with Newton’s running/passing abilities.
Then we have the versatile linebacking tandem of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, who can cover slot receivers, then turn around and make huge hits on opposing running backs. These two, who combined for eight interceptions and 2 defensive TD’s, will minimize some of what Denver can do on offense.
We also can’t forget the Panthers’ offensive line, which is a big reason for Newton’s success. This unit, anchored by center Ryan Kalil, left tackle Michael Oher, right guard Trai Turner, left guard Andrew Norwell and right tackle Mike Remmers, ranked sixth in pass-blocking efficiency and has done a great job of picking up blitzes. They also paved the way for Carolina to rank second in the league in rushing.
It would be a great story to see Peyton Manning go out with one final Super Bowl ring. Unfortunately, the Broncos’ problems begin and end with him, who, until the AFC Championship, had tossed just 9 TD’s compared to 17 interceptions. Denver’s run game should relieve some of the pressure for Manning, but will it be enough against a feisty Carolina defense? Meanwhile, the Panthers’ offense is in great hands with Newton, and they look poised to break through a tough Broncos D.
Score Prediction: Carolina 27 – Denver 13