Falcons vs. Panthers Odds & Picks: Another Atlanta Upset Brewing?

Falcons vs. Panthers Odds & Picks: Another Atlanta Upset Brewing? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Matt Ryan

  • Our experts analyze every betting angle of the Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers, complete with odds and picks.

Falcons at Panthers Odds & Picks

  • Odds: Panthers -4.5
  • Over/Under: 49.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Falcons staged the biggest upset of Week 10 with a 26-9 rout of the Saints in New Orleans thanks to the return of Matt Ryan plus a standout performance from the defensive line. Now, the Falcons travel to Carolina to take on Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers.

Our experts break down what to expect from this matchup, complete with picks.

Falcons-Panthers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Panthers

The Panthers should be getting cornerback James Bradberry (groin) back after he returned to full practice on Thursday. However, they could potentially be down two other corners as Donte Jackson (hip) and Ross Cockrell (quad) haven’t practiced his week.

Meanwhile, the Falcons are expected to be without two heavily-utilized offensive pieces in Devonta Freeman (foot) and Austin Hooper (knee). Running back Brian Hill saw 21 touches last week after Freeman’s early exit. I’d expect more of the same against a Panthers defense that struggles to defend the run. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Panthers WR DJ Moore vs. Falcons Secondary

The Falcons defense has had trouble slowing down opponent’s top wide receivers. They’ve given up six-plus catches and/or 90-plus yards to every top wide receiver they’ve faced since Week 3.

Moore has posted at least six catches for 70 yards in six of nine games this season and is a good bet to extend that to 7-of-10.Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Panthers -5
  • Projected Total: 50

The Falcons were able to stun New Orleans in part because they were much better than their 1-7 record indicated. And they’re still better than their 2-7 record indicates as their Pythagorean expected record is closer to 3-6.

With the line dropping from -7 to -4 despite 65% of the action coming in on the Panthers as of writing (see live public betting data here), it looks likely that sharps are backing the Falcons again.

I’m going to pass on the Falcons for now given how many key offensive players they’re losing with Hooper and Freeman suffering injuries that will sideline them for multiple weeks. Not to mention they traded Mohamed Sanu to the Patriots a few weeks ago. Their big-name WRs Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are healthy, but the cluster of injuries to key role players shouldn’t be overlooked — it’ll make it easier for the Panthers to game plan a way to slow Atlanta down. Sean Koerner

PRO System Match

Since 2003, the under is 820-726-29 (53.0%) in division games. Unders have been a smart play in division games as increased familiarity between teams creates a lower-scoring environment.

It may seem obvious to some bettors, but it’s been more profitable to take the under in division games with high totals (more than 44 points). It’s just easier for unders to cash when more points are expected to be scored.

Following this Pro System, bettors have gone 180-109-3 (62.0%) since 2003. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $6,206 following this strategy.

The Falcons-Panthers total opened 54 and has been bet down to 49.5, an indication sharps are on the under. John Ewing

PRO Systems are data-driven betting strategies that turn winning long-term trends into easy-to-follow picks, all handpicked and monitored by our team of analysts. Try Action PRO now and instantly access real-time game matches for every PRO System.

Expert Picks

Stuckey: Falcons +4.5

Out of 32 centers who have played at least 300 snaps this season, Matt Paradis ranks dead last with a 27.2 pass blocking grade from Pro Football Focus. The guard performance in Carolina has also been subpar. Really, in total, the Panthers offensive line has done a very poor job in pass protection, ranking 26th as a unit in pass-blocking efficiency.

Well, where is the strength of the Falcons defense? Up the middle, specifically in the interior defensive line and at middle linebacker. Just ask Drew Brees and the Saints, who saw the pocket get blown up consistently all last week.

Grady Jarrett and the rest of the Atlanta interior could make life miserable for Allen, who already has more turnovers than touchdown this season. He’s due for some regression if you dig a little deeper into some of his advanced metrics.

The Falcons run defense is pretty solid while their pass defense is very leaky. However, I think their front can generate enough pressure up the middle to slow down the run game and disrupt the passing game, forcing Allen into a key turnover or two.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill (23).

I think the Falcons can establish the run like they did last week with Hill, and that was against a much better run defense than Carolina’s, which is allowing a league-high 5.2 yards per rush. The Panthers transitioned from a 4-3 base to more 3-4 this season in order to generate more of a pass rush. They have achieved that goal, but the run defense has suffered as a result.

The Panthers secondary has been great all season, but they’re dealing with a number of key injuries and may be undermanned and/or banged up against a talented wide receiving corps with Ridley and Jones.

The Falcons will miss Hooper, especially in the red zone, but I think Ryan and the running game can get it done inside the 20 against a Panthers defense that has a 70% red-zone TD percentage allowed, last in the NFL.

Bottom line: The Panthers are an average team like the Falcons, who finally showed us life again last week. To illustrate just how mediocre the Panthers are, look no further than their negative point differential — Carolina has allowed 228 points and scored 225.

I rate these teams close to even, so give me the better quarterback and anything over in Carolina.

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