February 7, 2016 (10:12 AM ET)
Some people incorrectly believe that the bigger the game, the bigger you should bet! That is the mindset of a 'gambler', not an 'investor'. It's the mentality of the average person out there, not professionals making a living off wagering on sports. That's because for sharps, this is just a game at the end of a long lucrative season and one that in fact often has the very sharpest numbers (line and total)!
Sports Profit System has topped all handicapping charts thanks to another very profitable season. We are 41-25 going into the final game, having won 62% of our NFL picks!
Take Carolina Panthers on the Moneyline (-210) against Denver Broncos risking 4.2% to win 2%.
This is a RARE and UNIQUE situation in which it is much wiser to bet the ML than the point-spread!
That's because while Carolina is the better team and may in fact end up covering the spread, they are the public side in this game. Siding with the majority of the public is risky in nationally televised contests that get big action (lots of money wagered) and there's none bigger than the Super Bowl! In what is the biggest game of the year, Vegas and sportsbooks stand to lose a lot more money if Panthers cover the line than if they don't. Don't be surprised if a comfortable double-digit lead turns into a narrow 1-4 point win! That's because often times, a team leading by 10 or 11 gives up a late touchdown and ends up winning the game by 3 or 4 points but falls short on the spread. That could be a possibility here as despite this being a mismatch in our opinion, it is not only better for the books but also NFL itself and TV ratings if there was something to play for in the final few minutes of the 4th quarter and the outcome was not already decided or out of reach. The league likes it when games are decided on the final possession of the game as do advertises that spend big money on commercial breaks. Experienced sports-bettors understand that these 'outside' factors can impact the final score of a game as much as the actual matchup itself. For that reason, we believe it is unwise to lay points in this contest. That's why SPS is releasing a very RARE moneyline wager on an NFL game! Because strange things can happen at the end of some of these games and while we fully expect Carolina to win the game, it wouldn't surprise us if they somehow fall short of covering the spread.
The Panthers were the best team in football this season and will deservedly become champions. It is not only their impressive 17-1 record that is evident of their dominance but the manner in which they've racked up wins! Ron Rivera's side runs an extremely balanced and efficient offense that has averaged 32.2 points on the season and could've scored more if it wasn't for a 'lack of interest' in the second halves of many of their games, since at that point, it was already a blowout! This is a very tough group to stop because you have to pick your poison and there are no good strategies to truly contain them. If you stack the box and try to stop the run, Newton will connect with speedy receivers like Ted Ginn Jr. and Philly Brown or his favorite target, veteran TE Greg Olsen! If you try to play man-to-man coverage and limit the big play ability of those dynamic wideouts, they will hurt you on the ground. When opposing defenses have paid attention to the running game behind the likes of Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, Artis-Payne and Fozzy Whittaker, it's been Cam Newton that has faked handoffs and done the damage with his legs! And finally when teams have focused on the QB's ability to get key 1st downs with his legs, it's been guys like Jonathan Stewart that have made them pay as he has 8 rushing TDs and over 1000 yards this season! This is the true advantage of having a versatile offense that can hurt the opposition in numerous different ways. No team has been able to stop them and we don't expect Denver to be the exception. That's because while the Broncos have an elite defense, so did the Seahawks and Cardinals. Furthermore, Denver is coming off a game where they had to basically focus on only stopping the pass (Tom Brady) and didn't have to worry much about the running game. The New England offense had grown rather one-dimensional but the Panthers don't have that problem as they have gained 100 or more rushing yards in each and every game this season!
The Denver offense not only lacks an elite quarterback at this stage of Manning's career but is one that has not had as much continuity this season. That's because while Newton has been the unquestioned leader of Carolina in each and every game, Brock Osweiller filled in for the veteran for a good number of games and to have 2 different signal-callers does not help the rhythm and chemistry between the QB and receivers. Peyton Manning came back from that injury late in the season and has since put in a few decent outings where he's limited mistakes but he's played the role of a 'game-manager' in those contests. In those games, Gary Kubiak could afford to be consertative with play-calls as his team's running game and defense was far superior to its opponents. That is not the case here. In this game, the Broncos are likely to fall behind and perhaps even by double-digits and Peyton Manning will be forced to throw the ball down the field. When that happens, look for this opportunistic Panthers' secondary to come up with momentum-shifting interceptions! Denver will have to take more risks at some stage in this game and we don't believe they'll do so successfully, unless referees decide to bail them out with phantom 'pass-intereference' flags!
For all the media attention on Newton and the Carolina offense, many have forgotten that their defense is one of the very best in NFL. They have great pass rushers, smart linebackers and are athletic at the cornerback and safety positions. Much like their opponents, they are menacing from front to back and have no weaknesses in that department. Captained by Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, this is a unit that reads the game well and communicates effectively. They put pressure on QB's and force them into hurried throws. They've created an average of 1.7 turnovers and have done even better in the post-season when teams have had their backs against the wall and have been forced to adopt a less cautious plan! They are equally adept at forcing fumbles as they are coming up with INT's and we'd be surprised if Denver doesn't turn the ball over at least twice today.
The Carolina Panthers are simply the better team as they are the more 'complete package'. The difference in the level of offense between the two sides is quite big while the difference in their defensive cabilities is minor. The Broncos don't necessarily have an advantage in 'special teams' either which means this is somewhat of a mismatch overall. Denver may have been the #1 seed in AFC but they were somewhat fortunate to clinch that right at the end and in our opinion, the best squads in the league were in the NFC conference this season, teams that the Panthers demolished one by one! While upsets are always a possibility, we don't see the Broncos as live underdogs in this contest. Carolina really should win this game and it is only a matter of how much by! However given that close to 70% of the public is laying a couple of points more than they should be, we'll not bet on the spread. The safer and smartest play in this rare situation is to simply back the better team on the moneyline where margin of victory does not matter.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Panthers are 8-1 as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points this season!
- Panthers had 59 touchdowns in the regular season compared to just 38 for the Broncos.
- Panthers have lost only one game and that was due to overlooking an opponent that they had beaten 38-0 two weeks earlier!
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