Using Turnovers to Handicap SB50 Odds

Posted by Joe Solari on February 5, 2016 in

While it is undisputable that nearly all games are won through offenses and defenses, the value of avoiding mistakes or forcing mistakes off your opponents plays an almost singular importance in winning games. The Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers are living proof that turnovers, both made and forced, are essential elements in the modern-day NFL betting, something is affirmed by the fact that takeaways and giveaways played a monumental role in helping both teams winning the majority of their games this season, including their respective conference championships. It would therefore be ill-advised to think that turnovers won’t factor importantly in Super Bowl 50 betting. With that in mind, here is a look at how Denver and Carolina compare in the turnover battle.

Using Turnovers to Handicap SB50 Odds

Carolina and Turnovers

Over the course of the season, no team fared better than the Panthers in terms of generating turnovers from opponents and capitalizing on them. During the regular season, Carolina had 24 regular-season interceptions and 15 takeaway fumbles, compared to just 10 given interceptions and nine fumbles lost, giving the Panthers a league-best plus-20 (+20) turnover differential. Not to mention, those 39 total takeaways helped Carolina to net a total of 148 points, while the Panthers 19 total committed turnovers resulted in just 32 points for their opponents–a whopping difference of 116 points in Carolina’s favor. Put in perspective, that’s 40 more points than what the Kansas City Chiefs (second behind Carolina in turnover differential) scored off of their 29 takeaways in the regular season.

And to confirm that those ball-hawking ways were no fluke, the Panthers continued into the playoffs with the same strong ability to force and capitalize on opponent’s turnovers. Against the Seahawks, they picked Russell Wilson twice, followed by seven forced turnovers –four Carson Palmer picks, two Palmer fumbles and a Patrick Peterson punt return fumble—against the Cardinals. Against Seattle, Luke Kuechly had an interception returned for a touchdown, something he repeated against Arizona, with Devin Funchess also scoring a touchdown following Kurt Coleman’s interception of Palmer.

Given Peyton Manning’s hard-to-forget tendencies to commit turnovers in the regular season, along with the fact that Manning’s receivers, led by Demaryius Thomas, have a tendency of dropping the ball or missing it altogether, you can’t help but Carolina could capitalize greatly on its superior turnover ways.

Denver and Turnovers

Although it is a well-established fact that Denver’s defense has been the best in the league all season, especially in limiting yardages and preventing points, it’s turnover numbers aren’t as great as Carolina’s, with only 27 total forced turnovers on the regular season–14 interceptions and 13 takeaway fumbles. Not to mention, Denver has been more careless with the ball, throwing 23 interceptions along with 8 fumbles lost, giving the Broncos a turnover differential of minus-four (-4). Then there is the fact that Denver hasn’t been good at capitalizing on opponent’s turnovers like Carolina, with their 27 total earned turnovers leading to just 78 points scored. Meanwhile, their 31 giveaways have resulted in 100 points for their opponents, offering another negative differential (-22 points) to their name.

Manning, as earlier glimpsed, was the biggest culprit of giving away turnovers, finishing the regular season with the second-most interceptions thrown in the league (17), yet he only appeared in just 10 regular season games, nine of those being starts and starting nine. The good news, however, is that Manning is yet to turn over the ball in the postseason once, while his defense has generated two picks and two forced fumbles, plus one recovery. He could therefore be on to a good game, for all we know.

Conclusion and Super Bowl 50 Prediction

Based on the above analysis, we are not sure Manning will be safe from Carolina’s lethal ball-hawkers, or that Carolina’s QB Cam Newton will be safe from Von Miller and company. Manning could actually have a clean game like he’s done so far in the playoffs and lead his Broncos to a Super Bowl win. Similarly, Newton could continue from where he left off against the Seahawks and Cards to make light work of Denver’s defense. The bottom line is that both teams have good histories of winning the turnover battle and using it to win games, and this game should be no different. Whoever wins the takeaway battle in Super Bowl 50 is thus likely to be the winner, that is, if the trends stay true. Carolina, evidently, has the upper hand and should be favored, but don’t sleep on the Broncos with both eyes closed!