This year's Super Bowl 50 matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos is a tale of two quarterbacks. Peyton Manning may be standing at the edge of a legendary career and retirement, while Cam Newton is ready to kick down the door and signal his arrival into an elite club of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. The biggest storylines leading up to the game might involve the quarterbacks, but this matchup promises to be a defensive battle between two of the top squads in the league. The question is whether Denver's defense can remain disciplined against a quarterback that moves out of the pocket and can run the ball.
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Let's take a closer look at the Super Bowl matchup between Denver and Carolina and figure out the best side to wager on the total during the game.
2016 Super Bowl Totals Odds and Storylines
Most people-experts and fans alike-seem to expect a Carolina blowout, which isn't an unreasonable assumption for a Panthers team that produced the largest point differential in the entire NFL. On the other side of that analysis, Manning and the Broncos are coming off a lopsided Super Bowl loss two years ago in a similar situation against the Seattle Seahawks. The totals line opened up in the 45-point range, with some books opting for the half point at 45.5, but the line has managed to stay steady throughout the week without any movement. Totals are always tricky to bet, so do not expect much movement on the number as "overs" and "unders" generally do not inspire the general public to go running to a sportsbook.
Expect this game to be heavily influenced on the defensive end of the ball as Denver is ranked in the Top 4 in fewest total yards, passing yards, rushing yards and points allowed in the entire NFL. Carolina also comes in with an excellent defensive team that is ranked in the Top 6 in fewest total yards, rushing yards and points allowed. On paper, this matchup seems to be trending toward an under, but don't let those expectations get in the way of your handicapping for this game. The Super Bowl has been high-scoring over the last decade with six of the last seven totals going over the 48-point mark. Even Seattle managed to go over its total in 2014 by hit 51 points. Here is a quick look at the totals for the last 10 games:
2015: 52 points (Patriots vs Seahawks)
2014: 51 points (Seahawks vs Broncos)
2013: 65 points (Ravens vs 49ers)
2012: 38 points (Giants vs Patriots)
2011: 56 points (Packers vs Steelers)
2010: 48 points (Saints vs Colts)
2009: 50 points (Steelers vs Cardinals)
2008: 31 points (Giants vs Patriots)
2007: 46 points (Colts vs Bears)
2006: 31 points (Steelers vs Seahawks)
2016 Super Bowl Totals Odds Picks and Predictions
Even if a Carolina blowout is the most likely outcome, that does not necessarily mean an under will come with it. In 2014 Seattle held Denver to eight points, but the game still managed to go over its total with 51 points. The Super Bowl is the most bet, most watched, and most everything sporting event of the year, and every player on that stage wants to deliver a standout performance. With all things being equal, Carolina is the better team with the better quarterback. However, Manning remains as sharp as ever, and his guile alone might be enough to get Denver into the 20-point range.
Carolina's totals during its first two playoff matchups averaged 60 points, while Denver's averaged 38. Of course, anything can happen in the Super Bowl, but a higher-scoring matchup where both offenses pull off all the stops seems like the best way to bet on this totals number. Many times these defensive battles go the opposite way, and with both teams having the ability to score the ball, the total should end up in the high 40s range. The Pick: Take the over on a blowout game where Carolina alone scores 30-something points.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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