How good are the Carolina Panthers? (Test)
Thanks to New England’s second straight loss last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, the unbeaten Carolina Panthers are now the Super Bowl betting favorites for the first time this season, currently priced at +350 on NFL odds to win the first title in franchise history. There are many signals that put the Panthers as the top contender for this year’s title (They already clinched a ticket to the Playoffs no matter what happens in the NFC South, Cam Newton is perhaps the top QB in the league right now, etc, etc.) but despite their loaded record and strong season, many sportsbetting fans and NFL experts are Is Carolina even a sure bet to run the table in the regular season?
Mybookie online sportsbook lists Carolina at +250 to go unbeaten this season and -400 not to. To win the Super Bowl with a record of 19-0, which the 2007 New England Patriots nearly did, is +800 and no -1600. Carolina shouldn’t have much trouble this week as it hosts Atlanta, which has lost five straight games. The Cats are 7-point favorites on NFL odds. The best against the spread record in the NFL belongs to Cincinnati at 10-1-1. But Carolina is No. 2 at 9-3. The Panthers failed to cover a 5.5-point spread last week in a 41-38 win at New Orleans, didn’t cover a 5-point spread in Week 8 against Indianapolis, winning 29-26, and failed to cover 10 points at home in Week 3 against the Saints, prevailing 27-22. That’s the biggest spread on a Panthers game this season because the Saints were without injured quarterback Drew Brees.
How good are the Carolina Panthers?
Carolina already has wrapped up the NFC South title and can clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs this week with a win. Only Arizona (10-2) has a shot to catch the Panthers who have won 16 straight regular-season games dating to last year, for the No. 1 seed. The Panthers are the ninth team in the Super Bowl era to start 12-0. Of the previous eight, six advanced to the Super Bowl and four of those teams won the NFL title.
We’ve got a good group of young men in our locker room, says Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who might win NFL Coach of the Year honors. “We have a good group of coaches and great support from our football staff and ownership. But we still have a lot of work left to go. We have four more games in the regular season to play.”Rivera is the first person in NFL history to play for and coach 12-0 teams (1985 Bears, 2015 Panthers).
The Panthers also have an easy task ahead. The Falcons and the Buccaneers – who will account for three of Carolina’s final four games – are the NFC’s lone 6-6 teams, one game behind Seattle for the final playoff spot. The Panthers’ toughest regular-season game left likely will be next Sunday at the New York Giants, who tend to play well against unbeaten teams late in the season.
Are the Panthers the Worst Undefeated Team in NFL history?
For many people the only stat that matters is the 12-0 record, which places Carolina as just the ninth in NFL history to get through three-quarters of the season with a perfect record. Although, when comparing other stats, including the SRS (simple rating system), Carolina’s mojo just starts to fade away.
Using the SRS, a simple stat that uses offense, defense and strength-of-schedule stats to determine the team quality against the average, the 12-0 Panthers only rank No. 7 in the NFL. And since the difference in SRS “could be considered a point spread,” that means that six other teams would be favored over the Panthers if they meet on neutral territory.
With four weeks left in the NFL regular season, odds favor the Panthers to win Super Bowl 50. For the first time this season, the Carolina Panthers is the favorite to win Super Bowl 50 with 4-1 odds. New England is the closest contender at 4.5 to 1. Third-best on the list is the Cardinals with 5-1 odds, while the Broncos are fourth at 6-1, and the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers are tied for fifth at 7-1.
At the start of the 2015 NFL season, the Seahawks were 5-1 favorites, while the Patriots were 7-1 (along with the Packers) to repeat. The Panthers, however, opened the season listed at 30-1, tied for the 16th-best odds to win Super Bowl 50.
An interesting point we should take in consideration is the strength of teams the Panthers have defeated this season. So far they have only defeated 2 teams with winning records (Packers and Seahawks), the rest of their victories came against teams with records of .500 or below. Every victory counts in the NFL, but having such a favorable schedule is playing a major part in how well is Carolina playing this year. I’m sure they will close the regular season with a strong winning record, but I would not count on them for my future bets, including my pick to win Super Bowl 50.