Monday, December 9, 2013

NFL Predictions 2013 Week 15: Redskins vs Falcons

Washington Redskins vs Atlanta Falcons: ATL -6 (Bet365)

Market Watch

When it comes to markets in the sports landscape, it doesn't get much sharper than the NFL. Due to the sheer popularity and amount of money bet, it's not very often that the markets are late to react.

Yet, it's taking some time to catch up to the Washington Redskins.

If anyone was wondering what the motivation level was for this Redskins team, the game against KC left nobody in doubt.

This is all reflected in the Week 15 line movement for this matchup. A week ago the Falcons were only -2.5 point favorites in the LVH look-ahead line. Once the dust (or snow) settled on Sunday, Atlanta re-opened as -4.5 point favorites.

Since then, money has come pouring in on the Falcons, and I don't see it stopping anytime soon. We've already seen a move to -6.

How high will it go? It's possible it reaches -7, but the important thing is to not wait on this line. 71% of the early bets are on the home team.

Bottom Line

For NFL games in December, there are certain matchups that don't require too much focus on the X's and O's. This is definitely one of those games.

It is noteworthy that Matt Ryan is quietly having a really strong season. Much more was expected out of RG3 this year, but he's never looked 'right' since returning from injury and now he finds himself in the middle of a mess.

What's impressive about the Falcons is their current level of effort. This is a veteran team that expected to go to the playoffs, but have failed miserably. They could have very easily packed it in when they had road games in Toronto and Green Bay, but they fought hard in both and continue to improve in the "make-or-break" moments. Over the last three weeks, they've played increasingly well in third down/red zone situations on both sides of the ball.

On the other side of the field, there are no mysteries. Outside of Brian Orakpo, there aren't many players on Washington that look like they want to be playing.  On defense, they missed 12 tackles against the Chiefs. Today there is talk about Shanahan's future and whether or not Kirk Cousins will start this week. Regardless of what unfolds during the week, the focus of this team is already on the offseason.

This pick is mostly a fade of the Redskins, but it helps that the Falcons are still showing some pride and going after victories. I like them at anything under a touchdown.

NFL Pick: ATL -6.