Panthers vs Falcons Pick, Odds: NFL Week 1 Prediction
Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Young (left) and Bijan Robinson.
Panthers vs. Falcons Odds
Panthers vs. Falcons odds have Atlanta installed as a favorite in NFL Week 1.
The Falcons were one of the most run-heavy teams of the modern era in 2022 under Arthur Smith and the philosophical approach of this offense is the groundwork that will allow us to exploit the under on Sunday.
Let's take a closer look at the matchup and make our Panthers vs. Falcons pick.
You may have seen the trend that rookie quarterbacks drafted No. 1 overall struggle in their first appearance. Only one top pick has played well enough to cover the spread in their first start since 2010.
To make matters worse for Bryce Young, D.J. Chark has been ruled out and Adam Thielen’s status is also in question. Rookie Jonathan Mingo may be the odds-on favorite to lead the Panthers in targets. The offense will undoubtedly be conservative in protecting Young and trying to establish its top free-agent acquisition, Miles Sanders.
With Ikem Ekwonu's struggles in pass protection, the Panthers have no choice but to scheme up protection help. Young has already felt the pressure as he was sacked three times in the preseason while averaging a poor 5.4 yards per attempt on 24 passes. The Carolina coaching staff truly has no choice but to implement an extreme ball-control approach that will keep the clock running and shorten the game.
Bet Carolina vs. Atlanta at FanDuel
Speaking of shortening the game, the Falcons are quite familiar with the approach.
This was the most efficient running game in the NFL last season, and that won't be changing anytime soon. Smith lives to draw up creative run plays that tax the gap integrity of opposing defenses. However, the Panthers limited Atlanta to just 4.3 yards per carry in their two meetings last season. For context, the Falcons averaged 5.0 yards per attempt against the rest of the NFL.
After a tumultuous offseason, the Panthers best defender, Brian Burns, will be in Sunday's lineup. The Carolina defense boasts a 31% pressure rate when he's on the field rushing the passer. When he isn’t getting after the quarterback, this defense ranks last in pressure rate at just 20%, according to Sharp Football.
In their November 2022 meeting, there were more punts than third-down conversions. Forty points were scored in the game, which is right where this total sits. However, the Falcons defense should have improved with the additions of Calais Campbell, Jessie Bates and Bud Dupree.
In particular, Campbell and Bates should pay big dividends when it comes to stopping the run. Even at his advanced age, Campbell ranked 11th out of 143 edge defenders in rush defense grade, according to Pro Football Focus. Bates was no slouch either, ranking fifth in PFF's rush defense grade at the safety position.
Panthers vs. Falcons
Betting Picks & Predictions
It wouldn’t be a bad process to simply fade two unproven quarterbacks who have combined for fewer than five starts. Once you add in the familiarity factor and the slow pace of the game, there is nowhere to look besides the under.
For much of the summer, the total hovered just above 40. As the season loomed closer, sharp money has consistently been coming in on the under. I'm still willing to take a chance that these offenses will fail to combine for five total touchdowns.
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