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Falcons vs Panthers Odds, Picks, Prediction | NFL Week 8

Falcons vs Panthers Odds, Picks, Prediction | NFL Week 8 article feature image
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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Atlanta Falcons.

  • The Falcons are favored at home against the Panthers in Week 8.
  • The winner of this matchup will sit in first place in the NFC South.
  • Blake Krass breaks down the matchup and makes his pick below.

Falcons vs Panthers Odds

Sunday, Oct. 30
1 p.m. ET
FOX
Falcons Odds -4
Panthers Odds +4
Moneyline -198 / +166
Over/Under 41.5
Odds via FanDuel.

Sitting at 30th overall in DVOA, the Panthers are undoubtedly one of the worst teams in the NFL. However, they are coming off of a massive upset win over the Bucs in which they didn’t allow a touchdown to Tom Brady.

On the other side, the Falcons were the last remaining undefeated against the spread (ATS) team entering Week 7 before getting dismantled by the Bengals. A win here though would put Atlanta in sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

This is actually the first game all season that the Falcons are favorites. It’s a strong opportunity to put away a team in the midst of a fire sale and prove they can be a playoff team.

For Carolina’s PJ Walker, it is a chance to cement himself as the deserved starting quarterback of this team. For interim head coach Steve Wilks, the rest of the season is an audition to show he deserves to become the permanent HC.

Panthers vs. Falcons Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Panthers and Falcons match up statistically:

Panthers vs. Falcons DVOA Breakdown
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 30 32
Pass DVOA 32 32
Rush DVOA 15 26
Offense
Defense
Edge
Overall DVOA 9 23
Pass DVOA 15 22
Rush DVOA 4 13

The Falcons’ defense is objectively bad — they rank last in pass defense DVOA and 26th in rush defense DVOA. However, they face a Panthers team that is last in pass offense DVOA. Carolina is around league average in rush offense though you have to take into account that most of those numbers are thanks to Christian McCaffrey, who is no longer on the team.

Chuba Hubbard has been ruled out for this game, which means D’Onta Foreman will be given the lion’s share of rushing attempts on Sunday. I don’t trust this Panthers offense to be able to generate much production despite the Falcons’ defensive struggles.

Offensively, the Falcons are still underrated in my book. They are ninth in offensive DVOA and more well-balanced than most people think. They have been elite running the football and are in the top half of the league in passing DVOA as well. Marcus Mariota has been really impressive in how he has managed this offense so far this year.


Bet Carolina vs. Atlanta
Panthers +4 | Falcons -4


Defensively, the Panthers are much better against the rush than against the pass, but Atlanta’s attack is really unique due to its scheme and weapons.

The threat of Drake London and Kyle Pitts keeps defenses on its toes despite Atlanta’s proclivity to run. That is why Mariota is in the top 10 in adjusted EPA per play this season. Mariota is also third in the league in average depth of target. That means when he throws, he goes for big plays.

This game and cover could easily come down to converting red zone chances into touchdowns. The Falcons are elite at doing this as they are fourth in the NFL in scoring touchdowns when they get in the red zone — they have done that 100% of the time over their past three games.

The Panthers are 22nd in the NFL in allowing their opponent into the red zone, which sets up the potential for a lot of scoring opportunities.

As always, if this game comes down to the small margins, the Falcons are elite when it comes to special teams. They are fourth in special teams DVOA.

Betting Picks

The Falcons’ balanced offensive attack should be able to exploit the Panthers’ defense. When they get into the red zone, they should score touchdowns and put the Panthers away.

PJ Walker is still not a viable NFL quarterback and with no help in the run game, Carolina should struggle to put up points.

I think the best course of action is just to lay the points with the Falcons. I think they could pull away at home and turn this into a blowout once they get to the fourth quarter. Once they do have a lead, they will lean on their running game to hog possession and maintain momentum.

If all goes according to plan, the Falcons should comfortably win this game by a touchdown or more. The lookahead line was Falcons -6.5 and I would play it up to that number if it inflates again.

I think this line has dropped way too much just because the Falcons struggled against the defending AFC Champions and the Panthers beat a Bucs team that has proven itself to be a dead dog.

Pick: Falcons -4 (Play to -6.5)

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