Monday, December 8, 2014

Atlanta Falcons Vs. Green Bay Packers

Market Watch

This point spread is taking a predictable trajectory.  In the advanced line it was -11.5. It reopened at the same number after Week 13, and it's gone up to -13 since then.  Sharps know that the public will be all over Green Bay, so they are likely waiting for the best number before coming in on the dog.  As we inch towards kickoff, 76% of the bets are on the Packers.

Bottom Line

When it comes to double digit favorites, the "sharp" money will usually comes in on the dog. The question for this game is, should they?

From where I'm sitting, the answer is "no". The Packers are the third best team in the league by DVOA, and the top ranked offense. We know that Rodgers is virtually unstoppable on home turf, and the Falcons D ranks as the worst in the league by the numbers.

So what's the case for Atlanta here?  Can we make one?

Statistically, the Falcons offense and the Green Bay defense matchup pretty evenly against each other. If we go up and down the categories, there isn't a clear mismatch in Atlanta's favor anywhere to be found. They hold a slight advantage on special teams, but those rankings don't mean much unless one is near the very top or bottom of the list - which isn't the case here. Even worse, Atlanta is 0-3 against the NFC North, and 0-4 on the road outside of their division.

The only factors that I see that the Falcons have going for them is that Matt Ryan is capable of big offensive games, and they are legitimately alive for the divisional race. They also have the kind of aerial attack that could be ripe for a backdoor cover late in the game.

It's obvious that the Packers will win this game, but even if they are up 20 points in the 4th quarter, the risk of a Matt Ryan garbage TD is very real. For me, this number is too high to get involved, even though all indicators point to a blowout. Green Bay have won their home games this year by an average of 23 points, so the only logical approach for this one is Packers or pass. If you're taking a chance with Atlanta, it would be nothing more than a blind contrarian play.

Read more: Week 15 picks.