Atlanta Falcons (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 5th, 1:00pm ET
Where: Bank of America Stadium – Charlotte, NC
by Bob, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:ATL +1.5 / CAR -1.5
Over/Under Total: 44
This Sunday in Bank of America Stadium, we get a great NFC South showdown between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. This rivalry has become one of the better ones in the NFL over the last few years, simply because both of these teams have seen themselves in contention over that time and not only that, both teams have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl the last two years. Carolina in 2015 losing to Denver and then just this past season, the Falcons against the Patriots in a Super Bowl I prefer not discuss. With that said, this is going to be a very competitive and chippy game.
So far in 2017, both of these teams have been a roller coaster. Both are trying to find their way and this week’s showdown could hold a lot of weight later in the season. The Falcons enter as a 1.5 point underdog to the Panthers at home and the over under is set at 44 total points. The public likes the Falcons to cover and potentially win this game outright seeing as how 59% of the action is on them. If this trend continues, we may have an even pickem by kickoff. So if you are on the Falcons regardless of what I think…bet them now while you are still getting points. As for the total points, 54% likes this game to sail over the 44 combined. I think this number will sit and not move much throughout this week.
Many talk about how the Falcons offense is suffering and is not explosive like it was in 2016. Well, while this is true and while new OC, Steve Sarkisian, is still trying to run the Shannahan Offense in Atlanta, they are still a good unit. Atlanta is ranked 9th in the NFL in passing yards and they are ranked 11th in rushing, gaining almost 125 per game. The problem has been turnovers, especially in the red zone. I think I read it correctly that Atlanta has scored only 5 times in their last 11 redzone visits. Not touchdowns, these guys have not score ANY in six of the eleven trips. This weekend, Matt Ryan and the Falcons cannot waste trips inside the 20 of Carolina. The Panthers have the 5th best scoring defense, and scoring chances may not come often, thus the Falcons need to make sure they score when in the redzone.
From a defensive standpoint, the Falcons should be okay. The Panthers are not an explosive, high scoring offense. Carolina is averaging just 18.5 points a game and both their pass game and run game is ranked in the lower half of the NFL. Cam Newton and the Panthers will need to improve this if they want to get their record to 6-3 and take down their biggest rival this Sunday. Defensively, the Panthers need to force turnovers and put their offense in good spots in order to score on this Falcons defense. Along with forcing turnovers, Carolina also needs to control the ball and time of possession. Against the Jets this past Sunday, Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense showed glimpses of getting back on track. The Panthers will want to keep that unit off the field for as long as possible. Getting into a shootout with Atlanta would not bode well for Carolina.
This game is a tough one to predict. This has been a funky series and they are both playing in a division that has had its share of surprises over the last decade or so. I can see this game going either way and if you know me, you know I am a Falcons fan yet I am realistic and pick against them as much as I pick for them. This weekend I have a good feeling…as a fan. I think the Falcons go into Charlotte and take care of business in a hard fought and physical game. I like Atlanta to squeak out a 23-20 win over Carolina to improve to 5-3 in 2017.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: TAKE THE ATLANTA FALCONS +1.5 OVER THE CAROLINA PANTHERS. – Bet this game for FREE by taking advantage of a FAT 100% bonus up to $1000 at MyBookie! (Use Promo Code: PRDCT14)