Expert Sports Picks: The big dance takes place in San Francisco with Super Bowl 50 Time officially set at 6:37 PM ET on CBS. Super Bowl 50 Odds have Carolina as -6 point favorites on the spread with 53% of the action on the Panthers. Denver (14-4 straight up 9-8-1 against the spread) is coming off a 20-18 upset win at New England as +3 point underdogs. Carolina (17-1 SU 13-5 ATS) displayed their full arsenal in the NFC Championship game with a 49-15 thrashing of Arizona as -3 point home favorites. “The Sheriff” Peyton Manning looked like his old self against the Patriots but can he muster up one last great performance against “Superman” Cam Newton? ESPN2 News Super Bowl 50 Predictions panel broke down the duel for the Lombardi Trophy. Super Bowl 50 Odds have Denver as +190 moneyline underdogs (Bet $100 on Denver to win $190) at BOVADA.LV
Mensa-minded Peyton Manning is healthy but it would be a 50/50 bet weather he could hurl a ball further than 50 yards. Cam Newton is arguably the best dual threat to ever put on a uniform with the ability to throw 75+ yards or run over people at 6’5″ 250 Lbs. (4.59 40-speed).
5’10” 235 Lb. Panthers bulldozer Jonathan Stewart (4.46 40-speed) has been in fine form averaging 5.0 yards per carry in the playoffs. The Broncos 1-2 punch of C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman had some dry spells during the regular season but have played solid in the postseason.
If Cam Newton is the league MVP than athletic 6’3″ 310 Lb. guard Trai Turner (4.91 40-speed 400 Lb. bench-press) should be the co-MVP. Turner can get out in space for Newton, pancake defenders for Stewart or pass-block with light feet and impeccable technique. The Broncos have an above-average set of blockers with G Evan Mathis a road grader in the run game. The Panthers only concern is banged up All-Pro center Ryan Khalil who is battling a knee injury.
6’3″ 236 Lb. Broncos All-Pro wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (4.38 40-speed) has been missing in action but is still the most dangerous receiving threat on the field. Alongside Thomas has been reliable Emmanuel Sanders who always seems to get open. 6’3″ 247 Lb. Broncos TE Owen Daniels has been Manning’s go-to guy in the playoffs and appears to be in his prime in his 10th season. Panthers All-Pro tight end Greg Olsen is sure-handed and a precise route runner that provides Newton with a reliable 3rd down option. Carolina’s best receiver has been speedster Ted Ginn (4.35 40-speed) who has repaired his reputation as a brick-handed wideout.
The Broncos elite defense was particularly nasty against the run allowing only 3.3 yards per carry. The Panthers run stop unit was solid but was marked for 4.0 yards per carry. Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short (440 Lb. bench-press) has quietly emerged into one of the best players in the trenches. Broncos DE Derek Wolfe (485 lb. bench-press) has been almost unblockable and is Denver’s 2nd best defender next to Von Miller.
Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is arguably the best defensive player in the NFL with Broncos OLB Von Miller not far behind. Both Miller and Kuechly are extrodinary players that swing games in their favor. The Panthers unit could be weakened with All-Pro Thomas Davis playing with a cast on his arm. Danny Trevathan and Brandon Marshall have been formidable presences in the middle for Denver. Denver has had some issues covering tight ends which is a big concern facing elite Panthers TE Greg Olsen.
Panthers All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman provides Carolina with a lockdown defender against the Broncos #1 option. Norman has been so good that opposing QB”s have 54.0 passer rating against passes thrown in his direction. Denver CB Chris Harris has played at a level comparable to Norman’s. Denver has been very-good against the pass with a 75.3 defensive passer rating. Denver has the edge at safety.
Denver’s pass-rush has been suffocating with pass-rush specialist Demarcus Ware the closer that gives the Broncos the slight edge over Carolina’s explosive pass-rush.
Both teams have playmakers and All-Pro specialist but the nod goes the Broncos because of their superior coverage units.
Both teams have formidable kickers making this category a wash.
Peyton Manning is the equivalent to a coach on the field which gives the Broncos a solid 10. With a month of preparation time Manning will have his X’s and O’s mapped out. Ron Rivera has a pair of stellar coordinators in OC Mile Shula and DC Sean McDermott.
ESPN2 News Bottom Line: Our Super Bowl 50 Picks panel believes this will be a higher scoring game than expected. Super Bowl’s tend to be high scoring and the Panthers top scoring offense and Peyton Manning’s improved health will equal more offensive production. Manning has kept his head inside the playbook ever since he boarded the plane and his brain will make his backers money on the point spread. The Panthers superior athletes will give Denver all they can handle but Manning’s brilliance combined with a better run defense will be the difference makers.
Super Bowl 50 Predictions: Denver 27-24
Super Bowl 50 Picks: Denver point spread +6, Over 44.5 points at BOVADA.LV