What do the Carolina Panthers have to do to get some respect around here? The New England Patriots are still favorites to win Super Bowl 50, despite their loss to the Denver Broncos last Sunday and the Panthers’ status as the NFL’s only remaining undefeated team entering Week 13, according to a popular online sportsbook.
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Led by starting quarterback Cam Newton, the Panthers trounced the Dallas Cowboys 33-14 on Thanksgiving to improve to 11-0. The Patriots fell to 10-1 and lost superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski to an injury in a 30-24 overtime loss to the Broncos. Even with that loss, the Patriots have 10/3 odds to win Super Bowl 50, according to leading online sportsbook Bovada. Despite their unblemished record, the upstart Panthers are ranked second, with 4/1 odds to win the big game next February.
The defending champion Patriots have won four Super Bowls with head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady at the helm, developing an aura of invincibility in the process. Gamblers have bet “probably double the amount of money” on the Patriots to win Super Bowl 50 than any other NFL team this season, according to Kevin Bradley, Bovada’s sportsbook manager.
“People still like the Patriots. They like Tom Brady, he’s been there before, he’s won before. I think they just feel he’s proven. If it came down to them playing the Panthers in the Super Bowl, the Patriots would be favorites,” Bradley said.
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It’s rare for an NFL team that’s still undefeated at this point in the season to not be the favorite to win the Super Bowl. But the Panthers’ dubious distinction has more to do with the public’s trust in the Patriots than any lack of confidence in Carolina’s roster.
“I wouldn’t say it’s normal, but the one reason is because it’s the Patriots. If it was any other team, if the Patriots didn’t only have one loss, the Panthers probably would be the favorite,” Bradley said.
Bettors are still placing a significant amount of money on the Patriots to win it all despite their Week 12 loss, injuries to Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman and the relatively small payout afforded by 10/3 odds. But Bovada has taken more bets for historic NFL powerhouses such as the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys to win this year’s Super Bowl than the Panthers, despite their strong performance.
Traditionally, the Panthers have lacked the brand recognition and the nationwide popularity to attract a high volume of wagers, Bradley said.
“The Panthers, up until now, no one was betting on them. Every year, no one really bets on them. They’re not a popular team, there’s not a base of Panthers fans around the US,” Bradley said.
Still, the Panthers have a chance to join the 2007 Patriots and the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only teams in NFL history to finish the regular-season undefeated. Carolina has 4/1 odds to go 16-0 this season and 10/1 odds to win the Super Bowl with a perfect 19-0 record, according to Bovada.
Not even the Patriots have done that.