Atlanta Falcons Odds Preview

It isn’t easy sharing a division with the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, but the Atlanta Falcons have fans and bettors optimistic about 2010 anyway.

After all, they went 11-5 two years ago and, during last year’s 9-7 run, just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Is it time for the Falcons to bounce back in a big way and become a major NFC contender? If history repeats itself, they will get off to a great start ATS, as the Falcons are 10-2 ATS in their past 12 season openers. Falcons Odds to Win NFC South at SBG Global: +190 Regular Season Win Total: 9.5 (OV -115, UN -115) Falcons Super Bowl Odds: 20 to 1 It’s hard not to get excited about Atlanta’s SBG Global odds when you look at their offense. At quarterback is Matt Ryan. Matty Ice took a step backward from his sparkling rookie season in 2009, but that was largely because he battled a toe injury. He studied video of elite quarterbacks all offseason and the dedicated Ryan looks ready to break out in 2010.

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He certainly has some nice targets. Roddy White has emerged as one of the NFL’s most consistent and athletic deep threats and future Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez looks ageless as ever at tight end. Ryan’s injury wasn’t the only one to hold back the Falcons’ offense last year. Michael Turner’s weight climbed and his body buckled a bit under the extra pounds; he spent some time in the infirmary. Now, he’s back down to his playing weight of two years ago: a “svelte” 244 pounds. Does that mean Turner can return to being a 1,600-yard back? Almost any pundit or betting expert believes the Falcons will score plenty this season. But their defense has to improve to get them back into the playoffs. It hasn’t cracked the top 20 in the past two seasons. The Falcons worked to address their defensive woes this offseason, drafting linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Curtis Lofton with their first two picks and signing cornerback Dunta Robinson. 9.5 wins seems just right for the Falcons’ 2010 win total. Betting between nine and 10 wins essentially means picking them to miss or make the playoffs. Might the schedule give the Falcons the boost they need? Facing the AFC North is no fun but the Falcons also get Cleveland, Tampa Bay twice, St. Louis, and Seattle. The Falcons will have plenty of supporters and detractors this season. But if their “D” catches up to their offense, look out.

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