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Falcons, Panthers Clash for Second Time in 18 Days

Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers Betting Preview

There shouldn’t be very much film work necessary when Atlanta (1-6 SU, 2-5 ATS) and Carolina (3-4, 4-3) collide on Thursday Night Football. The Panthers defeated Atlanta 23-16 three weeks ago in Atlanta, snapping the Falcons’ five-game winning streak in the NFC South rivalry. Carolina opened as a 2.5-point favorite.

Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers
  • Date/Time: October 29, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
  • TV Coverage: Fox, NFL Network
  • Opening Odds: Panthers -2.5 | O/U 51.5 (Line History)
  • Falcons vs Panthers Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Seven of the last nine meetings between these NFC South rivals featured a spread of 3.5 points or less, and it’s likely that this one will as well. Those tight spreads haven’t necessarily meant close games, however. Eight of those nine meetings were decided by at least a touchdown, including Carolina’s seven-point win earlier this month in Atlanta. The UNDER received strong early support in this one, moving the number down to 49 by Monday night.

Atlanta News & Notes

The Falcons continued to invent new ways to lose last week against Detroit as Todd Gurley’s late touchdown run – Atlanta’s only points of the second half – enabled the Lions to get the ball back down six with a minute to go.

The Falcons defense, which had played well all day and limited Detroit to just three third-down conversions, then allowed Matt Stafford to drive 75 yards on eight plays and throw the game-winning touchdown with zeroes left on the clock.

Atlanta is certainly used to gut-wrenching losses (they blew 15-point fourth-quarter leads in consecutive games earlier this season), but the short week could make it difficult for the Falcons to recover emotionally before facing the Panthers.

The quick turnaround may also affect star wideout Julio Jones, who was limited in practice last week by a balky hamstring that forced him to miss a game in Week 5. Fellow wide receiver Russell Gage is also listed as questionable with a knee injury.

If the Falcons have Jones in the lineup and are able to rebound mentally, a few trends suggest Atlanta might be the side in this one. The Falcons are 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as road underdogs, they’ve won 17 of their last 24 games against NFC South opponents, and they’re 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six vs Carolina.

Carolina News & Notes

Life without Christian McCaffrey wasn’t too bad at first for the Panthers, but they’re now showing signs of missing their superstar tailback. Carolina has scored just 40 points in its last two games, both of them losses, after winning three straight following McCaffrey’s ankle injury in Week 2.

The Panthers ran for only 37 yards in last week’s 27-24 loss at New Orleans, when a 74-yard touchdown catch by DJ Moore accounted for a quarter of the team’s total offense. McCaffrey returned to practice this week but had not been activated off injury reserve as of Monday night and is not likely to suit up against the Falcons. That means one more start for backup Mike Davis, who has averaged just 2.5 yards per carry over his last two outings.

Carolina has become a strong UNDER team in McCaffrey’s absence, going UNDER in four straight games before last week’s contest slipped OVER the total by 1.5 points. The Panthers have also gone UNDER in four of their last five home games against division foes.

Betting Pick: UNDER 49

The total had dropped two points from the opener by Monday night, and I can understand why. Look for vanilla offensive game plans from these division rivals on a short week, and for a low-scoring affair similar to the 23-16 contest they played three weeks ago.

Shark Bites
  • Atlanta is 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS in its last 7 road games as an underdog.
  • Carolina is 3-12 SU in its last 15 games.
  • The UNDER is 6-1 in Atlanta’s last 7 road games against Carolina.