It’s hard to believe that the 2015 season is almost over, as we get ready for Super Bowl 50 between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. Kickoff for the big game is scheduled for 6:30 EST on Sunday, February 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California and will be televised nationally on CBS.

Depending on which book you go through, the line for the Super Bowl can vary anywhere from the Panthers as a 4.5-point (Pinnacle) favorite to a 6-point favorite (5Dimes). As for the total, almost every book is either offering 45 or 45.5 points. Regardless of which side of the spread or total you bet, you can see the importance of shopping around for the best line.

Early Free Super Bowl Prediction: Broncos +6

While I’m still haven’t made my final decision on who I’m going to take in Super Bowl 50, my early lean would have to be the Broncos as 6-point underdogs. While the Patriots covered as the favorite last year, they were a mere 1-point favorite and extremely fortunate to come away with the win. The underdog had cashed each of the previous 3 Super Bowls and 6 of the last 7, so clearly there’s some value with taking the points.

I believe this is going to a lower-scoring game than people are anticipating. I know Carolina’s offense put up some impressive numbers in their two playoff wins against two of the better defensive teams in the Seahawks and Cardinals, but Denver’s defense is a whole different beast.

The Broncos have the ability to only rush 3 or 4 guys and put an enormous amount of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They also have the speed an athleticism to keep Cam Newtown from beating them with his legs.

Anytime you are expecting a lower-scoring game with a spread approaching a touchdown, the value almost always lies in the underdog.

While Denver’s offense will also be going up against a really good defense in the Panthers, I don’t believe Carolina is going to be able to keep Peyton Manning and the Broncos from putting up points. While Manning’s physical attributes aren’t what they once were, he’s healthier than he’s been in quite some time.

You also have to factor in Manning’s ability to breakdown a defense and get the offense in the best play possible for success. He’s still one of, if not, the best in the game at pre-snap adjustments and you can be assured that he’s going to have a great understanding of the Panthers defense with 2 weeks to prepare for them. Keep in mind that the Broncos are a dominant 17-4 ATS in their last 21 games when they have 2 or more weeks to prepare for an opponent.

If there is a weakness with Carolina’s defense, it’s their secondary, outside of star corner Josh Norman. Manning is one of the best in the business at finding mismatches in the secondary and taking advantage of them. As unlikely as it might seem given Manning’s lackluster 2015 season, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Denver’s offense stole the show in this one.

There’s also something to be said about having experience of how to handle the big game, something many of Denver’s players will be able to fall back on, as they were just in the Super Bowl two years ago. As for Carolina, this is unfamiliar territory for this team and it can be a lot harder to handle the pressure than people think.

If I had to make an early prediction on the score, I would say Carolina 24 – Denver 21, but I’m still crunching the numbers and evaluating the matchups on the field.