The Carolina Panthers will not be able to make up for losing to the Denver Broncos 24-10 in Super Bowl 50 with a win in the NFL season opener on Thursday.
However, oddsmakers believe they are still the better team in the rematch, as Carolina is listed as a three-point road favorite at Denver at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Panthers closed as 4.5-point chalk against the Broncos in the Super Bowl but saw reigning NFL MVP Cam Newton get shut down by Von Miller and the Denver defense in a low-scoring affair that finished well below the total of 43 points.
Miller was named Super Bowl 50 MVP with six tackles, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the victory before re-signing with the team in the offseason for a record $114.5 million over six years, becoming the highest-paid defensive player in league history.
Newton would love nothing more than to go into Mile High and pick up a season-opening win, and he will have one of his top targets back in wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL.
Benjamin is expected to play 30-35 snaps according to head coach Ron Rivera as he works his way back into football shape, but his large presence on the field should only help Carolina offensively.
Meanwhile, the Broncos will be breaking in a new starting quarterback in Trevor Siemian, who was the third-stringer last year behind retired future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, who left for the Houston Texans as a free agent in the offseason.
Siemian was named the starter over rookie first-round draft pick Paxton Lynch and also beat out veteran Mark Sanchez for the job. Sanchez was released and signed with the Dallas Cowboys. One player Siemian will not have to deal with defensively is former Panthers cornerback Josh Norman since he was traded to the Washington Redskins.
Carolina has dropped four of the previous five meetings with Denver straight up, and the team’s loss in the Super Bowl snapped a five-game winning streak versus AFC opponents.
The Panthers are a perfect 8-0 SU and against the spread in their last eight games as favorites of three points or less, and the under has cashed in each of their past four season openers, all according to the OddsShark NFL Database.