We called it spot on yesterday. We’ve dominated our picks in the playoffs going 8-2 (really it is 9-1 but we had an idiot make a last moment change when posting our wild card picks).
The early line is Carolina Panthers -4′. We actually thought it would open higher than that so we see value in Carolina right now. The betting general public will likely be all over Carolina and drive this line upwards. Early word is the wise guys (professional betters) are going he way of the Denver Broncos. We’re not surprised by this either as two weeks prep time is a great equalizer. The Broncos defense is superb.
And if the Panthers hadn’t crushed the Arizona Cardinals, this game likely would be Broncos -1. Which then means there is value on the Broncos. Which explains why the pro gambles are going with Denver.
But the truth is the Panthers have been undervalued all season. Especially Cam Newton and the Panthers defense. There are some plays to be had down the field against the Panthers D, but often requires the opposing QB to buy time to see it come to fruition. Does Peyton Manning have the ability to take advantage of this at this stage of his career? At least Manning should have decent weather to work in.
Another angle of this is Carolina is peaking at the right time. They are playing their best ball now. Or did they peak one game too early?
One other item though, is even though we believe the betting public will go with Carolina, there is also a large segment of the population who loves Manning with others loathing Newton. This too influences the betting lines. We think it will likely keep the line from moving too much.
It is going to be fun to watch the line moves these two weeks. If it ever gets down to 4 or lower, jump on Carolina. If it ever gets up to 6, hedge with Denver. Leave more on Carolina, but try to hit in the middle.
Lastly – remember the game is two weeks away. Though you do want to take advantage of some early action where value may be leaning where you want, don’t load up too much one way or the other. A lot can happen in two weeks. Player slips in shower, blows ACL in practice, gets arrested. A player could guarantee a victory during media day. Who knows.
We’ll post our final pick closer to the game.