Falcons-Redskins Betting Preview: Time to Buy Atlanta Off a Bye?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Tevin Coleman (26) and Adrian Peterson (26).
Betting odds: Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins
- Spread: Redskins -1.5
- Over/Under: 47
- Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: Spread bets in this game are split 50/50 at the time of writing, but the Falcons are getting 63% of the money.
They opened at +2.5 at most books and were at one point down to +1, but it appears there has been some buyback on Washington, which has since moved back to -1.5/-2 depending on the shop (check here for updated line).
We have yet to see the line hit the key number of three. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: The Redskins have not made the playoffs since 2015 and have not won a playoff game since 2005, but things are looking up through the first half of this season.
They enter Week 9 with a 5-2 record and have won and covered three consecutive games, which were all basically around a pick’em. Since 2003, teams to win and cover at least three straight after missing the playoffs the season prior are 141-115-8 (55.1%) against the spread, according to our Bet Labs data.
In November or later, those teams are 104-77-7 ATS (57.5%), profiting bettors 22.6 units. — Evan Abrams
Did you know? Adrian Peterson has eclipsed the 4.0 yards per carry with 90-plus rush yards in each of his past three games. Peterson hadn’t accomplished either feat since Nov. 15, 2015.
The NFL is a passing league — and the Falcons are one of the best passing teams in the NFL, averaging 317.7 yards per game.
Since 2003, teams averaging 305 or more passing yards have gone 50-37-4 ATS (58%) when they are listed as small favorites (three or fewer points) or underdogs in October or later in the season. — John Ewing
Biggest mismatch: Falcons’ receivers vs. Redskins’ secondary
Wide receiver Julio Jones leads the league with 116.0 yards receiving per game, but he hasn’t scored a regular-season touchdown since Week 12 of last year. Is this the week he finally finds the end zone? Maybe.
Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin) has already missed back-to-back games, and his replacement, Greg Stroman, is a seventh-round rookie who has allowed a 10-190-2 receiving line on 17 targets and 113 coverage snaps.
Julio has lined up across from right corners on exactly 50% of his offensive snaps this year. Given that cornerback Josh Norman plays almost exclusively at left corner, the Falcons could choose to use Julio on the other side of the formation even more.
With such an advantageous one-on-one matchup against Stroman, Julio could have a massive performance even if he doesn’t get a touchdown. And if Jones frequently puts his team in a position to score, the Redskins could struggle to keep pace with the Falcons offense. — Matthew Freedman
Which team is healthier? Falcons
The Falcons could be down multiple key starters, as kicker Matt Bryant (hamstring), receiver Mohamed Sanu (hip) and cornerback Robert Alford (ankle) should be considered questionable for Sunday.
The Redskins have a wide array of injuries on both sides of the ball: Offensive contributors at risk of missing time include running backs Kapri Bibbs (shoulder) and Chris Thompson (rib), along with receivers Paul Richardson (shoulder, knee), Jamison Crowder (ankle, out) and Jordan Reed (neck).
Left tackle Trent Williams (thumb) is also far from 100%, but the defense should at least get cornerback Dunbar (shin) back on the field.
DFS edge: Julio Jones again failed to score a touchdown during the Falcons’ Week 8 bye. He has failed to find the end zone in a career-long 12 games, and it appears offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has largely given up on trying to get Jones more involved near the goal line.
Overall, Jones has averaged a career-low 0.4 red-zone targets per game this season. Perhaps even more amazing than Jones’ inability to find the end zone has been the fact that he’s still the WR9 in PPR per game after eight weeks.
Next up could be a shadow date with Norman, who traveled with Beckham last week after largely sticking to the left side of the field from Week 1 of 2017 to Week 7 of 2018. OBJ still rung up an 8-136-0 line on 11 targets, but not a single catch came while in Norman’s coverage (per PFF’s Jeff Ratcliffe).
The Redskins likely relented on letting Norman shadow due to the absence of No. 2 cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin). The continued absence of Dunbar would be great news for Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu, although both are averaging only five targets per game. — Hartitz
Bet to watch: Falcons +1.5
This is a good matchup for an undermanned Falcons defense that started to look a little more comfortable — and more importantly, tackle better — against the Giants.
The Redskins don’t really beat teams by throwing deep, explosive passing routes with Alex Smith under center. That should help the Falcons simplify their defense and assignments.
The Falcons’ passing attack should be able to exploit a vulnerable Washington secondary. Newly acquired safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will eventually have a large, positive impact on the defense, but I’m not sure how much he will play or be up to speed in time for Sunday.
Look for Atlanta to have success with play action, an area they’ve really thrived this season. The Falcons should continue to use a short-passing attack and move the pocket for Ryan to neutralize the Skins’ vaunted pass rush.
The Redskins’ defensive line is legit and it can defend the run, but I still don’t trust the pass defense. Washington has benefited from a schedule that has featured a number of rush-first offenses (and a banged up Aaron Rodgers).
But when the Redskins played the Saints, the secondary looked lost. Matt Ryan is playing at an MVP level and could enjoy the same type of success, especially as he comes off a bye.
I think it’s a good time to sell high an overachieving Redskins team and buy a rested Falcons team looking to salvage its season. — Stuckey
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.