The New England Patriots had their drive toward a second straight Super Bowl title abruptly halted by the Denver Broncos, whose 20-18 AFC Championship Game victory advanced them to a Super Sunday showdown against the Carolina Panthers as 4.5-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Quarterback Peyton Manning led the charge for the Broncos, connecting on a pair of TD passes for the first time since the team’s 27-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9, earning Denver its second upset win over the Pats this season, this time as 3-point underdogs.
Denver now has picked up straight-up wins in each of its past four outings, earning it a shot at their first Super Bowl title since 1999 in next month’s Panthers vs. Broncos betting matchup at Levi’s Stadium.
However, the low-scoring Broncos have largely been a betting disappointment this year, going 5-7-3 against the spread after covering in the first three games of the season. They’ve posted back-to-back ATS wins just once during that stretch.
Manning also has fallen well short of the dominating stats he has posted in previous seasons. The 39-year-old has failed to find the end zone in five of his last eight appearances, throwing for more than 290 yards just once during that stretch while tossing a disconcerting 12 interceptions.
However, the future Hall of Fame quarterback looked far more comfortable in Sunday’s victory over the Patriots and arch rival Tom Brady, driving the Broncos’ offense to a pair of scores in the first 16 minutes of the game to give the club early momentum they would not relinquish.
Things get much tougher for Manning and the Broncos against the Panthers, who amassed 476 total yards in a crushing 49-15 defeat of the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.
Carolina has dominated in three consecutive SU wins, building on its league-leading offensive production by averaging almost 39 points per game during that stretch, according to the OddsShark NFL Database.
While the Panthers have had little difficulty finding the end zone this season, they have been outgained overall in two of their past three contests, but have held opposing rushers to less than 80 yards per game in their past four outings.
Super Bowl 50 marks the first-ever postseason meeting between these two clubs, who have faced off just four times in the past 19 years. This is their first matchup since Manning threw for 301 yards and one touchdown in a 36-14 victory over the Panthers as 3.5-point chalk during the 2012 NFL campaign.
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