Does Carolina’s Freefall Continue?
The Panthers looked like the darlings of the NFL in their 3-0 start, but it’s been a slide since then with four straight losses. Atlanta, meanwhile, is trending the other way, notching the win in three of their last four.
Both teams are looking up at the Buccaneers in the NFC South, and betting odds from Bovada give a slight edge to Carolina at +3, as BetOnline has them as +2.5 underdogs. The Panthers have covered the betting lines in 8 of their last ten road games, and the Falcons are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven as home favorites.
As for those interested in totals betting, the line is currently set at 46.0 points.
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Carolina at a Season Low
Things are never going good when you’ve lost four straight, but last week’s 25-3 loss at the Giants looks like rock bottom for the Panthers. The Panthers had built some momentum with 11 points in the final five minutes to force OT in a 34-28 loss to Minnesota, but that looks gone after last week.
New York picked up just their second win of the season last week, holding Carolina to an atrocious 173 yards of total offense. Totals betting for Sunday’s meeting with Atlanta has the O/U at 46, a number that would seem to favor the under considering Carolina’s defense didn’t play that bad last week in holding the Giants to 103 yards rushing (on 31 carries) as well as just 199 yards through the air.
About that Panthers offense, though. QB Sam Darnold was yanked after three quarters and a 16/25 for 111-yard performance. Darnold also threw another INT, his 7th in the last four games. P.J. Walker didn’t exactly impress in relief, though, going just 3/14 for 33 yards even as the Giants relaxed their defense a bit.
Atlanta Building Momentum
The Falcons look good with wins in three of their last four, but you also have to take the competition into account. Atlanta’s victories have come against the Giants, Jets, and Dolphins – teams with a combined 4-16 record.
You have to give Atlanta credit; they are taking care of business even if it’s against bad teams, and the Panthers would definitely qualify as a bad team right now in their four-game skid. The Falcons have put up 27+ ppg in three straight, and QB Matt Ryan looked good with 336 yards and 2 TD in the win over Miami.
Ryan would be a major reason to take Atlanta as a part of your NFL picks this week, as he has 10 TD to just 1 INT in his last four games. Carolina has the #2 pass defense in the league; however, giving up just 197.1 ypg through the air.
The thing that is concerning about Atlanta is their defense. Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa completed 80% of his passes against the Falcons last week with 4 TD throws. The Dolphins also had 132 yards on the ground on 29 carries, while Atlanta struggled to get their running game going with 72 yards on 22 carries.
Panthers at Falcons Pick
Oddsmakers have added the standard -2.5 to -3 points for home-field advantage in the Panthers vs. Falcons matchup. That means this game is essentially a toss-up, so does that make Atlanta the default play at home?
Carolina looked terrible against the Giants last week and now play their second straight game on the road. Darnold’s confidence is shot after being benched last week, and meanwhile, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has multiple TD throws in five straight games.
If you are going to bet online, take the Falcons to cover the spread!
Pick: Falcons -2.5