Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons Betting Pick
Philadelphia Eagles (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Football Week 1
Date/Time: Sunday September 12th, 2021. 1:00PM (EST)
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
Point Spread: PHI +3.5/ATL -3.5 (Bet -105 Lines)
Over/Under Total: 48
NFL Football is back, and that means there are numerous betting opportunities every Sunday afternoon. While Week 1 expectations traditionally produce volatility across the league, these opening games can also offer a prime opportunity for bettors to capitalize on unrealistic expectations before odds-makers have a larger sample size to make more accurate betting lines. For example, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons will have an advantageous match-up when they host the Philadelphia Eagles inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium as mere 3.5 point favorites.
To be clear, neither the Eagles nor the Falcons have lofty expectations this season. The Falcons are on the heels of a 4-12 SU campaign in 2020. Over the offseason, they lost star WR Julio Jones and turned over the keys of the organization to new Head Coach Arthur Smith who appears to have a rebuilding job ahead. Meanwhile, the Eagles had a pretty similar 2020 campaign going 4-11-1 SU which was highlighted by horrendous play on the offensive side of the football. Over the offseason, former QB Carson Wentz jetted to Indianapolis as the Eagles made it clear Jalen Hurts would be the focus moving forward. However, Hurts is a far from proven quarterback, and there are plenty of lingering concerns entering the 2021 season among Philadelphia fans.
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In fact, Hurts completed just 52% of his throws in backup action for Wentz last year. While Hurts does provide dual-threat capability, which seems to be more desirable in today’s NFL, the Eagles’ offensive line has been downright awful, which is not exactly ideal for an inexperienced quarterback. The Eagles did get some help in the receiving corps with rookie WR Devonta Smith over the offseason, and running back Miles Sanders seems to be fully healthy for the first time in recent memory. Still, if you look around this offense, there does not seem to be a lot of star power. The Eagles were held to 17 points or less in five of their last seven games last season, and I just don’t see enough changes in this offense to expect significantly different results.
QB Jalen Hurts vs. QB Matt Ryan
This may seem like a very elementary way of analyzing this Week 1 contest by comparing the quarterback play, but I also don’t think it can be overlooked either. As I mentioned above, the Eagles lack star power on offense and have major concerns along the offensive front. Personally, I feel like they are going to need too much help from Hurts, and that is going to lead to mistakes, especially so early in his career. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Falcons are led by veteran Matt Ryan. Despite the 4-12 record in 2020, Ryan still completed 65% passing for 4,500 yards with 26 touchdowns and 11 picks. The Falcons had huge issues on defense, but they could move the football, which is going to be their biggest advantage against Philadelphia.
Despite losing Julio Jones, WR Calvin Ridley steps into an alpha role alongside the capable talent of Russell Gage. Atlanta also spent their 1st round draft pick on TE Kyle Pitts, who is an absolute freak of an athlete who will make an immediate impact in the passing game. Additionally, the Falcons acquired running back Mike Davis from the Panthers. Davis had a big role in Carolina’s offense in 2020 behind the injured Christian McCaffrey and did a really good job in this replacement role.
I’m not expecting Davis to have the same upside in Atlanta because of the differences in the offenses, but I think he will provide a more reliable threat in the backfield compared to injury-plagued Todd Gurley. As a result, I don’t see the Falcons losing much firepower going into 2021, and I expect they will move the football, as usual, meaning we will get to see right away if this Eagles offense has really improved. Personally, I just think it is way too early in the season to expect significant changes. Perhaps Hurts will grow into the ideal offensive weapon for Philadelphia, but I don’t believe that happens anytime soon!
Eagles vs. Falcons Betting Trends
The Eagles are 0-6 ATS in their last six games on the road
The Eagles have hit the “under” in seven of the previous ten games
The total has hit the “under” in seven of the last eight meetings between the Eagles and Falcons in Atlanta
The total has hit the “under” in the previous five meetings between the Eagles and Falcons
The Falcons have hit the “under” in five of their last seven games
The Falcons are 2-10 SU in their previous 12 games against NFC opponents
The Falcons are 0-5 ATS in their last five Week 1 games
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m going with the better offense and more reliable quarterback. I believe this is an easy win. Take Atlanta -3.5. Be sure to also check out my NCAA football picks each week of the season!