Last Season Recap
The Carolina Panthers had the best season in the 21-year history of the franchise in 2015 and a dream come true for NFL betting fans. They started 14-0 (franchise records for best start and longest single-season winning streak, as well as best season start by an NFC team since the NFL–AFL merger) and finished 15-1, joining only six other teams that have won at least 15 regular season games since 1978. The Panthers won their third consecutive NFC South title and were the first team to clinch a playoff berth. In the postseason, Carolina beat the Seattle Seahawks and crushed the Arizona Cardinals to return to the Super Bowl after 12 years. However, they lost the championship game to the Denver Broncos.
Next season will be the Panthers’ 22nd in the league and 6th with head coach Ron Rivera at the helm. In the 2016 draft, Carolina selected defensive tackle Trevor Butler as the 30th overall pick of the first round. In subsequent rounds they selected cornerbacks James Bradberry, Daryl Worley, and Zack Sanchez, and tight end Beau Sandland. Perhaps in order to address last season’s criticisms that they lacked good wide receivers, the Panthers have signed several players in that position, such as Damiere Byrd, LaRon Byrd, Miles Shuler, Tobais Palmer, Avius Capers, Cobi Hamilton, and Keyarris Garrett. Other new faces include cornerback Lou Young (promoted to the active roster on January 5th, 2016), defensive end Larry Webster, punter Mike Scifres, and cornerback Shaquille Richardson. On the other hand, Carolina released Brandon Boykin, Ras-I Dowling, and Jenson Stoshack, among others. Moreover, they rescinded their non-exclusive franchise tag offer to cornerback Josh Norman, who went on to sign with the Washington Redskins – arguably the biggest blow to Panthers NFL betting fans.
What to expect this 2016 football season
Other than losing Norman – considered one of the best CBs in the league – the Panthers have managed to retained their key players, like QB Cam Newton, linebacker Luke Kueckly, outside linebacker Thomas Davis, tight end Greg Olsen, and center Ryan Kalil, just to mention a few. With the core of the team mostly intact, Carolina fans who bet on NFL at a sportsbook can expect the team to retain their media-bestowed status of “worst undefeated team.” Whether that label was justified or not, one thing’s for sure; if you incur the ire of the media, it means you’re doing something right. And since Newton said the Panthers would return to the Super Bowl, we can expect plenty more angry-mom letters – as well as many NFL betting fans putting their money on Carolina at a sportsbook.
Odds to Win the Superbowl LI: +930