Panthers Holding Steady as the Super Bowl 50 Betting Favorites

Leave a comment

As the kickoff for Super Bowl 50 approaches the Carolina Panthers have solidified their position as 5.5-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Carolina opened as 3.5-point chalk following their 49-15 demolition of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game but the betting line for Sunday night’s Panthers vs. Broncos Super Bowl matchup at Levi’s Stadium quickly moved in favor of the NFC champs, reaching six points at select sportsbooks before settling at 5.5.

The Panthers owned the NFL’s top offense this season, averaging 31.3 points per game, a point total they have eclipsed in eight of their past 11 contests overall. However, they will be up against the Broncos’ top-ranked defense, which surrendered a league-low 283.1 yards per game, including just 83.6 yards per game on the ground.

The health of running back Jonathan Stewart could be cause for concern for Carolina.

Stewart has missed time at practice with an ankle injury, joining a lengthy group of Panthers who are listed as questionable on the early injury report for Super Bowl 50, including linebacker Thomas Davis and defensive end Charles Johnson.

However, none are expected to miss action on Sunday, including lineman Jared Allen, who is expected to play after missing the NFC Championship Game with a foot injury.

The Broncos are dealing with injury troubles of their own, most notably to safeties TJ Ward and Darian Stewart, who both missed practice last week and are listed as questionable for Sunday.

The injury to Jonathan Stewart has done little to impact the rusher’s Super Bowl MVP odds, which have held steady at 22/1. But it is the opposing quarterbacks that lead the way on the Super Bowl 50 MVP odds, with Carolina’s Cam Newton pegged as a -130 favorite, followed by Denver’s Peyton Manning, who sports +275 odds. Speculation has run rampant that Manning will announce his retirement following Super Bowl 50.

The 39-year-old Manning makes his fourth Super Bowl appearance on Sunday, and second in the last three years, but has just one championship to his credit, claiming Super Bowl MVP honors at Super Bowl XLI while leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears.

Manning has endured a difficult campaign, throwing just nine regular season touchdowns while missing six weeks to injury, but looked strong in Denver’s 20-18 win over New England in the AFC Championship Game, ending the club’s five-game losing streak against the spread per the OddsShark NFL Database.

Bennett doesn’t fear backlash for skipping White House trip

10 Comments

HOUSTON (AP) Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett says he is not worried about upsetting team owner Robert Kraft by not attending New England’s trip to the White House as Super Bowl champions.

Bennett said after the Patriots’ 34-28 win over the Falcons on Sunday night that he’s “not going to go” to the traditional meet-and-greet with the president. It will be the first visit of a Super Bowl champion to Washington since Donald Trump was sworn into office.

Trump’s positions have alienated some athletes, which has raised questions about whether some might choose to skip the trip while the new president is in office.

But Bennett said he isn’t concerned about it and thinks the team believes “in whatever I want to do.”

Kraft is a supporter of Trump and attended a celebration dinner in Washington for him the night before his inauguration.

Patriots’ Tom Brady earns 4th Super Bowl MVP trophy with epic comeback

2 Comments

HOUSTON (AP) The greatest quarterback in NFL history led the biggest Super Bowl comeback to be the MVP on Sunday night.

Tom Brady rallied New England from a 25-point third-quarter deficit for a 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the first overtime game in Super Bowl history to earn his fifth Super Bowl title and fourth MVP trophy.

“They’re all sweet,” he said. “They’re all different and this was just an incredible team and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” he said.

Brady threw touchdown passes of 5 and 6 yards in the second half and tied things at 28-28 when he connected withDanny Amendola on a 2-point conversion with 57 seconds left.

He then directed the drive in overtime which ended with a 2-yard run by James White to make the Patriots the first team to win a Super Bowl after trailing by more than 10 points.

“We all brought each other back,” he said. “We never felt out of it. It was a tough battle.”

His performance certainly wasn’t without its struggles. His incredible second half and overtime came after a first half where the Patriots managed just three points and he threw an interception which Robert Alford returned 82 yards for a touchdown. He was hurried and harassed for much of the games. The Falcons sacked him five times and hit him on another eight occasions.

He noted the beating he took when he was trying to recount the details of the comeback and couldn’t remember what the score was at one point in the rally.

“There was a lot of (stuff) that happened tonight,” he said. “I got hit pretty hard.”

His 466 yards passing are a Super Bowl record, surpassing the 414 yards Kurt Warner had 17 years ago. He also set a record for most passes completed in a Super Bowl with 43 and most attempts with 62.

He is the first to play in seven Super Bowls and the victory ties him with Charles Haley for most Super Bowl rings.

After all Brady has done in his career, was this his finest moment?

“Tom’s had a lot of great ones,” coach Bill Belichick said. “But, yeah tonight was one of them.”

It’s a triumphant end to a difficult season for Brady, who missed the first four games because of his “Deflategate” suspension and dealt with his mother Galynn Brady suffering through an undisclosed illness. The Super Bowl was the first game she’s attended all season.

“They’re all happy,” he said fighting back tears. “It’s nice to have everybody here and it’s going to be a great celebration tonight.”

He shared a quick moment with her right after the game, but was looking forward to more time with her in the upcoming days.

“It’s kind of madness after the game so I didn’t get much quality time with her but we’ll get it this week,” he said.

But he certainly wasn’t asking for sympathy for his rough road to this title though, chuckling when someone asked about the adversity the Patriots have gone through in the past couple of years.

“We’ve done pretty good over the last few years … so I don’t think anyone’s feeling bad for the Patriots,” he said. “I don’t think anyone feels bad for the Patriots.”

Brady also collected the MVP trophy in 2001, 2003 and 2014.

“It was just a lot of mental toughness by our team and we’re going to remember this one for the rest of our lives,” Brady said.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL