The 2016 NFL playoffs come to a close on Sunday with Super Bowl 50. The Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos square off at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, with the game kicking off at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The Panthers opened as 3.5-point favorites, but the line has expanded to between 5.5- and 6-points, depending on your sportsbook of choice. The public has been overwhelmingly betting on the public, with as much as 75-80 percent of the money hitting the Panthers.
Pick: Panthers -5.5
It is usually hard to pick the team that is getting such overwhelming public support. This is particularly true when the other team has a great defense. The Broncos have a fantastic defense that could certainly give Cam Newton some issues.
And yet, I cannot pick the Broncos. If the line got up over a touchdown, it would be a harder pick, but even then, I’m honestly not sure the line can be high enough. Recent bias can be a problem, particularly with such a big win over the Arizona Cardinals. And yet, Cam Newton is unlike anything the Broncos have faced recently. Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but right now, I don’t know that anybody is more on top of their game than Cam Newton.
The other reason for picking the Panthers is that defense. It is not quite on the level of the Broncos, but it is a strong unit that will give Peyton Manning problems. Given his recent struggles, I just don’t see it ending well for him.
That combination of offense and defense makes it hard to think this will be a remotely competitive game. I generally try to shy away from the public support, particularly at this level, but I just don’t think it will be close in any way.
Editor's Note: David Fucillo is a member of Team OddsShark and the Sportsbook at the end of 17 weeks for our team in the Sportsbook SuperContest. Picking five teams a week (ATS) during the NFL regular season, Fucillo finished with 53 out of a possible 85 points (62 percent), and tied for 24th overall in the record field of 1,727 SuperContest entrants. Each week during the NFL playoffs, the SBNation writer will bring you his picks for the weekend’s action.