Panthers vs. Broncos Early Prediction
The 2016 NFL season kicks off on Thursday night in a rematch of February's Super Bowl matchup between the Panthers and Broncos at 8:30PM ET.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Broncos are 3-point home underdogs versus the Panthers after Carolina opened as a 1-point favorite. The total, meanwhile, has dropped from the opening number of 43 down to 41.5.
The Panthers were the biggest and best surprise of the 2015 NFL season, winning 15 games in route to a Super Bowl appearance against the Broncos. Carolina's only two losses of the season came at Atlanta in Week 16 of the regular season and against Denver in the Super Bowl. The Panthers were an outstanding bet all season for backers, going 13-6 against the spread and winning by an average margin of 11.5 PPG.
As for the defending champs, the Broncos are starting over at quarterback following the offseason retirement of Peyton Manning and the decision by backup Brock Osweiler to sign as a free agent with the Texans. Mark Sanchez was acquired in a trade with the Eagles to be the starter, but he was beaten out by former seventh-rounder Trevor Siemian. 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch will be the backup and former Ram and Brown Austin Davis was signed to be the third-stringer.
OUR PREDICTION: This should be a defensive struggle throughout. It's unlikely that Siemian will move the ball much against Carolina's outstanding defense, which lost corner Josh Norman this offseason but otherwise maintains one of the best front sevens in all of football. And while Cam Newton and the Panthers boast one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, the Broncos are still led by the same group defensively that shut Newton and Co. down in the Super Bowl. There's a reason why the total has been bet down nearly two full points since it opened. Jump on the under now before the number goes down more.
NFL WEEK 1 PREDICTION: PANTHERS/BRONCOS UNDER 41.5