2016 Super Bowl – Back the Carolina Panthers

 

Shane Lambert reviews news from Week 14 and sticks with the Carolina Panthers for Super Bowl futures.

Week 14 in the NFL ended on Monday when the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins to inject some life into their playoff hopes. However, news following Week 14 largely had to do with the Cincinnati Bengals, the New England Patriots, and the Carolina Panthers.

The Bengals were the subject of bad news in Week 14. Not only did they toss in their third loss in their last five games, but they also saw their starting quarterback suffer an injury. Andy Dalton fractured his right thumb and, while it won’t require surgery, both his availability and his effectiveness – if available – are now in question. Cincinnati are now considered 20 to 1 long shots to win the Super Bowl (William Hill) as a jewel of a season now appears to have lost a ton of momentum.

The Patriots made positive news as they ended a two-game slide by cooling off the Houston Texans. Rob Gronkowski played in the game, one that New England won by 21 points. With an 11-2 record the Pats can’t miss the playoffs in any scenario now. However, whether they will host games, travel, or play on Wild Card Weekend are still matters that need to be settled.

For betting odds, the best ones available on the Pats are 7/2 with Bwin to win the Super Bowl. In my view, those considering backing the Pats will want to make sure that they secure a first-round bye before acting. It’s unlikely that 7/2 will shorten that much in the weeks ahead.

Carolina, the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL, did not miss a beat in Week 14 – in fact they put up a huge winning spread. The Panthers, playing at home, defeated the Atlanta Falcons 38-0, a spread that should sound off more alarm bells with Carolina. Unlike the Pats, the Panthers are guaranteed a bye in the opening round of the 2015/16 playoffs. That alone suggests that their betting odds, which are also 7/2 (888Sport) to win the Super Bowl, offer a little better value than NE’s.

But, this season aside for a moment, what happened to this club last season may play well in their favor. Carolina were only a 7-8-1 team in 2014/15, however they still managed to get some playoff experience as champions of their division. Winning one game at home last year, this team has some post-season success to build off of and that could prove valuable as they look to host playoff games in the near future.

Recommendation:

1 point win bet on Carolina to take the NFC at 8/5 with Paddy Power