CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers are underdogs. At home. Against San Francisco.
Now, hold on. This goes without saying for the gambling-educated, but the fact that several major bookmakers have the Panthers as one or two point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers does not, actually, make them underdogs for the sake of the actual game.
Bookmakers set the line at a spot where they can get even money on either side, and so if that line happens to spot the 49ers two points, so be it. That line had started out closer to a true pick 'em Sunday night, but has slowly been tilting in the 49ers favor ahead of Sunday's NFC Divisional playoff game.
That said, asking a player or coach about being an underdog is a convenient excuse for said player or coach to to say they've got their opponents right where they want them.
"It's funny," said Panthers head coach Ron Rivera on Monday, "It takes the pressure off us and puts it on them."
If you're wondering, pregame.com had the Panthers' odds of winning the Super Bowl at 10-1 as of Sunday night.