The 2015-16 season comes to a close Sunday evening when the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos square off at Levi's Stadium for Super Bowl 50. The Panthers are a 5.5-point favorite, with the point total set at 44.5 points. Before getting into my pick, it's time to present the case for both teams.
Why you should pick the Panthers
A lot of folks are betting on the Panthers, with upwards of 75-80 percent of public money coming in on Carolina. That is a red flag. And yet, it is hard to not take Carolina. They have the better offense, with Cam Newton easily the most dynamic offensive play-maker on either roster. Peyton Manning has better receivers, but that arm is just not what it once was. C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman can run, but I have a hunch Carolina is prepared to force Manning to beat them.
And let's not forget that the Panthers have a very solid defense. They've got guys like Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman and Kurt Coleman who can all make a ton of plays. The Broncos last Super Bowl appearance was a beatdown at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, and that Seahawks defense turned that game in a hurry. I could see a repeat this year.
Why you should pick the Broncos
When this many people are betting on one side, a bettor should pause and take stock of the situation. Recency bias is a concerning issue. Carolina stomped Arizona, while Denver edged out New England. People are prone to over-value more recent events. Casinos in Las Vegas did not build themselves, so let's not forget that oddsmakers generally know what they are doing. Could Denver get stomped and Vegas gets killed? Certainly. But that No. 1 ranked defense could have some say in this before it's all said and done.
I'm going with Carolina and the over. It's the public bet, but this is a year where i just see a bad defeat for Denver. Yes, they have the No. 1 defense, but the Broncos also had the No. 1 defense heading into their eventual 55-10 Super Bowl loss to the San Francisco 49ers. History might not repeat itself, but that's what I feel is coming.