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Panthers vs. Denver Broncos Super Bowl Pick.
Denver Broncos ( 5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (2-6 SU, 4-4 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date/Time: Sunday, November 11, 1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV: CBS/DirecTV 708
by Vesper Abadon, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Den -4/Car +4
Over/Under Total: 48
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What a time it is to be a Denver Broncos fan. Just last year the team made an improbable run at the Playoffs with Tim Tebow under center, and now they’re 5-3 and primed to make a legitimate run at the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning leading the charge. The acquisition of the future Hall of Fame quarterback during the offseason was considered a slight gamble because of his neck injury, but the Broncos took the risk and are now reaping the reward.
Another team that had high hopes entering the season was the Carolina Panthers, who were electrified by rookie quarterback Cam Newton in 2011. Unfortunately, neither Newton nor the Panthers have met expectations and are a lowly 2-6. In Week 10, these two teams will meet in an inter-conference battle.
Let’s start with the obvious-Manning is having an unbelievable year. Many argued he could win NFL MVP last year when he missed the entire season because the Indianapolis Colts were miserable without him. Of course that wouldn’t happen, but it was an interesting thought. Well folks, don’t look now but Manning, who has been named the league’s MVP a record four times, is primed to capture the award once again. Through nine weeks, Manning is the #1 ranked quarterback in the NFL with a 108.6 rating as he’s went 203 of 292 for 2,404 yards, 20 touchdowns, ten sacks, and just six interceptions. Not too shabby for the 15-year veteran.
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Manning has the Broncos’ offense, which is ranked fourth in the NFL, running like a well-oiled machine. The passing game is fourth best as both Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are having a fantastic year; the former with 45 receptions for 756 yards (16.8 Avg) and four touchdowns, and the latter with 46 catches for 583 yards (12.7 Avg) and seven touchdowns. The passing game is complimented by a 17th-ranked rushing attack led by Willis McGahee, who has carried 146 times for 620 yards (4.2 yards) and four touchdowns-nothing extraordinary, but plenty good for a pass-happy offense.
Regarding the Panthers, they’re actually a little better than their record might reflect. They’re currently ranked 20th offensively, which includes the 17th and 12th ranked passing and running games respectively. Newton hasn’t caught fire like he did last year, and despite being a sore loser on various occasions, he has went 134 of 235 for 1,902 yards and six touchdowns, good enough for a 77.7 rating. Unfortunately for him, he’s also thrown eight picks and been sacked 17 times. His favorite target, veteran Steve Smith, is silently having a good year pulling in 38 passes for 630 yards (16.6 Avg), though he only has one score to his credit.
Surprisingly Newton also leads the charge on the ground in Carolina as he’s the team’s leading rusher with 347 yards on 59 carries (5.8 Avg) and four touchdowns. That’s a 100 yards more than running back DeAngelo Williams, who has carried 67 times for 247 yards (3.7 Avg) and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, both teams are fairly balanced defensively. The Broncos, who are ranked 10th, allow 325.1 yards per game (221 passing/104.1 rushing), while the 13th-ranked Panthers allow 343 yards per game (224 passing/119 rushing). Likewise, the Broncos and Panthers allow roughly the same amount of points per game at 21.9 and 22.5 respectively.
Vesper Abadon’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This ought to be a high-scoring affair as both teams have more potential on offense than they do on defense. Manning shows no signs of slowing down in what could be an MVP season, and it’s hard not to pick the Broncos on the road.
Furthermore, the Panthers are hard to predict. Last week they ended a five-game skid, most of which were close defeats, with an impressive win over the Washington Redskins. With that said, it’s too soon to jump on their bandwagon. The Broncos have a tried and true formula, and I think they successfully implement it against the Panthers. It could be a close one, but I think the Broncos will come out on top and just barely beat the line.
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