Atlanta Falcons (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 4:05 PM EST
Where: Sports Authority Field
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread:ATL +5.5/DEN -5.5
The Denver Broncos will look to stay perfect both SU and ATS when they play the Atalanta Falcons at high altitude in Colorado. Denver remained undefeated by beating up on the hapless Buccaneers 27-7 as 3.5-point road favorites. The Broncos outgained Tampa Bay by 92 yards and have won the stats in three straight games. The Falcons are flying under the radar, having scored 38, 45, and 48 points in three consecutive victories. Last Week, they defeated the Super Bowl runner-up Carolina Panthers 48-33 as 2.5-point home underdogs. Atlanta outgained Carolina by 193 yards and sit 3-1 in the stats this season.
This is a very tough game to handicap for me. I normally would be all over the underdog in this spot. But, the Falcons have scored 93 points in their last two games and now have to play a road game. This would normally be an automatic play against situation. The Broncos have the league's top-ranked defense in my database. It doesn't really matter who plays QB for Denver right now, the offense has been efficient enough to stay undefeated. The defense is so good, so fast, and playing with a lot of confidence. This will be the best offense the Broncos have faced so far this season. Atlanta is ranked No .1 in yards per game, No. 1 in passing yards, No. 1 in points per game, and No. 6 in rushing yards per game. On the flip side, this will be the best defense that the Falcons have faced so far. That's what makes this matchup very difficult to predict. I think the odds-makers are on point with this line. If the Broncos were minus -4 or less, I would be all over the home team. If the line was 7 or more, I would be all over the road team. My power rankings would make the Broncos 6-point home chalk. Wise guys bet numbers while Jo Public bets teams.
The Broncos are ranked No. 21 in yards per game, No. 23 in passing yards, No. 5 in points per game, and No. 14 in rushing yards per game. Based on the raw stats you would think the Falcons have an excellent chance to keep this one close. Not so fast. Julio Jones is coming off a record performance with 300 receiving yards, becoming just the 6th player in NFL history with a 300+ yard receiving game. Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards and four touchdowns in last week's win over Carolina. This would be another situation (record-setting performance) I would look to play against. There are strong systems to support both sides in this one. When that happens, it's a good idea to pass.
Denver is 9-5 SU all-time against the Falcons. This includes their meeting in Super Bowl XXXIII, Denver's second-ever Super Bowl Title and Atlanta's only ever trip to the Title game. This could be a high-scoring game based on the Falcons team trends so far this season. In the first four games of the season, the Falcons and their opponents have combined for 276 points, the most in NFL history through four games. Check this out. Over the past two seasons (2015 & 2016), the Broncos are 9-0 and the Falcons are 8-1 in the first five weeks of the NFL campaign, the first and second-best records, respectively, in the league over that span.
Demaryius Thomas is listed as questionable and his status for this game is unknown as of Wednesday night.
Very few receivers will have any impact on the betting line, but Thomas could be a difference maker in this game. In 12 career home games against the NFC, Thomas is averaging 107.3 receiving yards, 7.0 catches, and 1.0 touchdowns per game. The Broncos are 11-1 SU in those 12 games, with the Over a sparkling 9-3. The Broncos' defense is allowing 283.3 yards per game and just 4.6 yards per play, while the Falcons are allowing 419.3 yards per game and 6.2 yards per play. Based on those stats alone ,there might be some value on the Broncos minus 5.5 points.
The Falcons are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games when listed as an underdog. The Falcons are 5-7 SU and 3-9 ATS after a division game over the last three seasons. Atlanta is 1-8 ATS in Weeks 5 through 9 over the last three seasons. The Falcons are 1-6 ATS off a win against a division rival over the last three seasons. Denver is 20-5 SU and 16-8 ATS in all games when the total is between 42.5 and 49 points over the last three seasons.
Jeff's Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Denver Broncos -5.5I will lean to Denver only if Demaryius Thomas practices Thursday and/or Friday and starts. Quite honestly, there are stronger games to bet this Sunday. Check out some other previews on these pages. Enjoy all the action!
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