Super Bowl 50 betting wasn't supposed to have this much drama. The New England Patriots were expected to eliminate the Denver Broncos before going on to school either the upstart Carolina Panthers or Arizona Cardinals. But then the impossible happened: the Broncos, with ailing and aging quarterback Peyton Manning, beat the Pats, and the Panthers dominated their way into the Super Bowl.
Sportsbooks have been dealing with the aftermath ever since, as the betting public has been throwing most of the money Carolina's way. Much of this has to do with the Panthers' 34-point win over the Cardinals and their impressive win over the defending NFC champion Seahawks, not to mention their 15-1 regular season record.
The earliest money came in on the Broncos, who had upset the Patriots in the AFC championship game, which moved the line to +3 on Denver. But since then, the betting public has been all about Carolina, pushing the betting line back to -4, then up to -5 ½ by Wednesday afternoon. Sportsbooks may have to move the line even further, to -6 or more, before the Super Bowl takes place.
The moneyline bets are following Carolina just as much, with little money coming in on Denver to win the game straight up. This is another surprise, as underdog betting in the Super Bowl is typically a popular bet. But with what could be Peyton Manning's last game, and his diminished role as an injured game manager, the great expectation is for the Panthers to win, if not dominate. Currently, the Panthers are a -220 to win SU, while the Broncos are listed at +180, but we could see movement in that line in the coming week.
So if you're waiting to place a bet on either team, right now might not be the time to do it. If the line moves to -6 or more for the Panthers, it makes the decision on which team to bet on a little easier.
The line may shift around a bit in the next week, and most of the early money is coming in on the Panthers. But the majority of the total money that is bet on the Super Bowl comes in the couple of days before the big game is played, which could test which direction the line moves in the final hours before the game.
In terms of the total, the current money is coming in on the Over. The lowest lines on the over/under are sitting at 45, with some sites offering up to 46 ½. But with two strong defenses facing off against each other, smart money has been playing the Under.
For a point of comparison, last year, the Patriots were -1 point favorites and won by 4 points, and took the Over of 47 ½ points, in a 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks.