Will the Carolina Panthers Be a Good Super Bowl Bet With Sam Darnold?

Carolina Panthers Team - Super Bowl 56 Logo

The Carolina Panthers sit at +8000 to win the Super Bowl in 2021, odds provided by BetUS, so odds are, they’re not the first team you will bet on.

However, if you’re looking to bet on one safe team, one mid-tier team, and one high-risk team, today’s post will let you conclude whether the Panthers are worth the high risk.

At the time of today’s writing, only 7 teams have fewer favorable odds to win the Super Bowl than the Panthers. The Houston Texans and Detroit Lions sit at the bottom at +20000, with their odds further decreasing by the week.

Are you ready to decide if the Panthers are actually a better bet than most are giving them credit for?

Keep reading for more information. 

Carolina Panthers Offseason

The Carolina Panthers struck gold when they traded for former third overall pick, Sam Darnold. Sure, many of us have posted the bust label on Darnold, but let’s be honest. Shouldn’t we call it a career accomplishment for simply surviving 3 seasons with the New York Jets?

I know, Mark Sanchez lasted longer. But then again, he was never considered a viable starter after his stint with the Jets. Unlike Darnold, who will reunite with Robby Anderson, one of the league’s most dangerous receivers who posted 95 receptions for 1,096 yards in 2020.

The Panthers also brought in tight end Dan Arnold, who was effective but unspectacular during his final season with the Arizona Cardinals. Center Pat Elflein and tackle Cam Erving have carved niches in this league, while linebacker Haason Reddick enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 before signing with Carolina.

Wide receiver David Moore fills in for the void Curtis Samuel left behind when the latter signed with the Washington Football Team.

Other notable offseason additions include cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive end Morgan Fox, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, cornerback Rashaan Melvin, and linebacker Denzel Perryman.

Overall, the Panthers had a solid offseason in the free agent and trade markets.

The Panthers further bolstered their pass-catching unit by drafting Terrace Marshall Jr. in the second round and Tommy Tremble in the third round. Brady Christensen will serve as a solid draftee at tackle, while the Panthers may have landed the draft’s finest RB2 in Chuba Hubbard.

And finally, they further struck gold with the drafting of corner Jaycee Horn in the first round.  

Carolina Panthers Offense

Sure, Sam Darnold flunked out in New York. But let’s not be too tough on the soon-to-be fourth-year pro. The guy never had a chance given the circus the Jets always bring. Now that he’s in Carolina, he has a fresh start.

We already touched on Darnold’s chemistry with Robby Anderson in the previous section.

Plus, the Panthers have D.J. Moore, who emerged as the team’s deep threat with 18.1 yards per reception among his 66 catches for 1,193 yards.

Running back Christian McCaffrey returns after an injury-plagued 2020 campaign. If McCaffrey returns to who he was in 2019, look for Darnold to have the league’s most dangerous hybrid player at his disposal, or second most dangerous, next to Alvin Kamara.

And don’t rule out Chuba Hubbard. He led the FBS in rushing yards with 2,094 in 2019 while tacking on 21 touchdowns. If he too returns to form, the Panthers will have a dynamic 1-2 punch in the backfield along with a solid receiving unit. Especially if new tight end Dan Arnold emerges.

The Panthers also have some fresh faces coming in at the offensive line. Pat Elflein has the potential to become a full-time NFL starter, despite a rough outing in Minneapolis to start off his career.

His career started off not much different from Cam Erving’s, who also steps in as a potential starter. Erving has since become a serviceable journeyman in the league.

Tackle Taylor Moton signed the franchise tag and proved his worth by starting all 16 games in 2020. Ditto for Matt Paradis. John Miller started 14 games in 2020 and returns on a one-year deal.

Overall, the Panthers don’t have any top talents anywhere on offense unless McCaffrey recaptures his magic from the 2019 season. Darnold still has the potential to make things happen in the NFL, and he has more than enough talent around him to perhaps help the Panthers overachieve. 

Carolina Panthers Defense

Despite a losing record in 2020, the Carolina Panthers’ defense was not as bad as you may think. For one, they ranked 18th in total defense, passing defense, and 20th in rushing defense. They also ranked 18th in points allowed.

They struggled in sacks and creating turnovers, ranking 30th with just 7 interceptions and 23rd with 29 sacks.

However, that will change with the signing of A.J. Bouye and the drafting of cornerback Jaycee Horn. Sure, Bouye had an abysmal 2020 campaign, but let’s chalk it up as an outlier for now. Horn will step in and immediately become the CB1. With these new faces, the Panthers will create more turnovers.

With the corner situation set, let’s move onto safety, where Juston Burris faced a learning curve in 2020, but he started 12 games and appears to be a lock to start in 2021, alongside Jeremy Chinn. Chinn was a hybrid defender as a rookie in 2020, but he’s slated to play more safety.

It’s also prudent to keep an eye on Sam Franklin, along with cornerback Troy Pride Jr.

At linebacker, Denzel Perryman and Haason Reddick join the oft-reliable Shaq Thompson. Thompson is quietly one of the league’s most consistent players, having posted back-to-back seasons of 100-plus tackles.

Please Note:
Perryman spent 6 years with the Chargers and when healthy, he’s a playmaker. Reddick looked like a bust until he emerged in 2020 as one of the league’s premier pass rushers. He also recorded 5 sacks in a single game, showing that he’s on the verge of perhaps taking things over in 2021.

Derrick Brown and Brian Burns were first-round selections in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Both have showed off their durability, posting 15 and 14 respective starts. Burns is developing into a special player, given his 21 quarterback hits and 9 sacks in 2020.

Morgan Fox made a name for himself as a pass rusher in Los Angeles over 5 seasons with the Rams. He was a part-time starter who is now looking to do big things in Carolina. Ditto for DaQuan Jones, who posted a career-high 49 tackles during his final season with the Tennessee Titans in 2021.

The Panthers should improve in Year 2 of the Matt Rhule era on defense. And if they do, look for a few more wins from this team than they posted in 2020. And paired with more reliable talent on offense along with a returning Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers may be a better bet than their +8000 show.

At kicker, Joey Slye needs to get more accurate, however. He’s one reason the Panthers struggled, having missed 3 extra points and several late-game kicks. In total, he finished just 29 for 36 on-field goals, barely scraping the 80-percent mark.

Punter Joseph Charlton averaged 46.3 yards per punt as a rookie and was among the team’s most consistent players.  

Are the Carolina Panthers a Good Bet?

The Panthers are currently sitting at +8000, which never means they’re a good bet. However, one reason behind their 5-11 meltdown during Year 1 of a rebuilding process came because of inconsistent quarterback play and the absence of McCaffrey.

Now McCaffrey’s back and Sam Darnold, who is still as young as many rookies, has a chance to show that he was not the bust many people think he was. Again, simply being considered a starting quarterback after 3 seasons in New York is an accomplishment within itself.

The defense will be better in 2021, especially with productive players like Reddick, Perryman, and Bouye coming to town. Add in some of the young players, and this defense that actually played better than many think may evolve into a top-ten unit.

On offense, the Panthers have potential at every unit, and there really are no glaring weaknesses here. In fact, they got depth at several key areas and if McCaffrey especially remains healthy, they can easily sneak into the playoffs and make noise.

Sure, they’re a long shot, but it’s still somewhat realistic to believe the Panthers can surprise a lot of people. 

Place Your Bets Now!


With the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South, the Panthers are, at best, a third option when it comes to Super Bowl wagering. However, you should by no means count them out.

Especially since they have a potential franchise quarterback, one of the league’s best running backs, and arguably the hottest up-and-coming defenses in the game. That, along with Matt Rhule’s knack for rebuilding programs, shows you that the Panthers could be a steal of a Super Bowl bet.

It’s still farfetched to place a large bet on them. But a high-risk, high-reward cheap bet may take you places.

What are your thoughts on the Carolina Panthers? Would you place a Super Bowl bet on them in 2021? Let us know in the comments. 

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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.

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