Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Atlanta Falcons Vs. Carolina Panthers: ATL +1.5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

We've lost a bit of value here as the Panthers were favored by -3 (-120) just a few days ago in the look-ahead line. After their MNF flop, the line reopened at -1.5.  It's also no surprise that two out of every three bets are coming in on the Falcons.

Bottom Line

I rarely like to get involved in games that are this ugly and unpredictable, but there are a couple of clear reasons why I like the Falcons to win this game.

The first of which is because the Panthers are in a complete free-fall. They've now lost 4 straight and must bounce back on a short week after getting humiliated on national TV.  Usually that means that they are in a good spot "situation-wise", but are they really?  Cam Newton isn't playing nearly as well as he was earlier in the year, and he doesn't have a whole lot to work with either.

And the biggest red flag for me is that Carolina rank near the bottom in all the make-or-break situations on both sides of the ball. That's not a sign of a team that's been unlucky, or due to turn it around. It's a clear signal that this team folds when it matters most.

Atlanta isn't a team to get excited about either though. They lost five straight before finally getting a win last week in Tampa Bay. The defense is still horrible, and I'm not expecting much from this unit, but the one category that they don't suck in is red zone defense. It would be foolish to call them a bend-but-don't-break defense, but at least they show up when they're asked to.

We also have the benefit of Matt Ryan. If nothing else, the Falcons passing game will keep them in it to the very end. They also rank near the top of the league inside the 20.  They might not move the ball as easily as they used to, but they do know how to convert their drives into touchdowns when they do.

The Falcons might be a bad team, but I'm pretty sure that they still have hope in this division. I'm not sure I can say the same about their opponent.

NFL Pick: ATL +1.5.

Read more: Week 11 picks.