At 40 to 1, the Carolina Panthers are the most attractive NFL team to bet on to win the Super Bowl.
The reasons are many.
First and foremost, they have arguably the league’s most talented player. Cam Newton has the body of Ben Roethlisberger with the athletic skills of Michael Vick.
And the quarterback is the one position that can make the biggest difference for a team.
Newton is a difference maker. He proved this at Auburn and during his rookie year with the Panthers last season.
With Newton at the helm, the Auburn Tigers won the national championship and the Panthers improved by four games to 6-10.
The Panthers will keep improving this season and will challenge for the division title.
The Saints have been the juggernaut of the NFC South the past few seasons, and Atlanta has been steady too, but both are due for letdowns. Tampa Bay is still not ready to make a move. This leaves Carolina to contend.
Expect the Panthers to compete hard at every home game and go at least 6-2. On the road, they will have to win 3 or 4 to have a shot at the playoffs.
Any team who wins the division gets at least a guaranteed first round home game. After a win in the first round, anything’s possible from there on as the NFL has proven year in and year out.
The St. Louis Rams were more than 100 to 1 at the beginning of the 1999 season. Kurt Warner took over for injured Trent Green and made a few bettors into good investors.
Betting always comes down to value. An underdog pays better with less risk involved. It takes more money to bet the favorites to get the same end result.
For $500, Carolina pays $20,000. To make that same 20 grand with the Patriots, it would take a bet of $3,700. New England currently sits at 6 to 1.
In Dan Marino’s second year, he led the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl appearance. So, for Cam Newton, there is a precedent.
Marino is a good comparison for Newton. Marino has passing records that Newton may not be able to match, but as far as impacting the game for many years, Newton looks like Marino’s equal.
If Newton repeats what Marino achieved in the second year, then this Super Bowl bet has a lot riding on it.
The key with betting futures is to get a number at its peak. 40 to 1 could be the highest number for the Panthers the entire season.
Many times, higher odds are offered later in the season, like when a team is the sixth seed in the Conference going into the playoffs.
As seen from recent history, sixth seeds are doing well. Just ask the Steelers or Packers.
If the bettor prefers to go a safer route and feels Newton has the ability to guide his team like Marino did before and lose in the Super Bowl, then take the 20 to 1 bet to win the NFC Conference.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com