NFL Betting – Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

It was just a few weeks ago when coach Dan Quinn and GM Rob Dimitroff were fired from their jobs shortly following the Atlanta Falcons’ loss to the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons can exact some revenge on their NFC South rival when the team’s open Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season on Thursday night. Losing their first five games, Atlanta responded with a win under interim coach Raheem Morris, however they returned to their losing ways last week with another fourth quarter meltdown. Their inability to finish games has the Falcons at the bottom of the standings with a 1-6 record and more changes are coming.  Bookmaker.eu is offered a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600).

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
Date and Time: Thursday, October 29, 2020, 8:20 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Opening NFL Odds: Carolina -3, O/U 51.5
Falcons at Panthers TV Coverage: FOX/NFL Network

Odds Analysis

The teams met in Week 5 with Carolina getting the outright 23-16 victory as a 2.5-point dog ending a five-game losing streak in the series. That was the Panthers last victory dropping close games to two of the NFC’s best since. Playing as a favorite for the first time the Panthers were upset by the Bears in Week 6 and covered the 7-point spread in a 27-24 loss to the Saints last time out. Carolina is 4-1 ATS in its last five games. The Panthers hit the board for this game laying 3-points with the line wagered down slightly to -2.5. Seven of the last nine meetings have closed with a spread of 3.5-points or shorter, but only two of the nine games were decided by less than 10 points.

Atlanta Falcons

Finding new ways to lose games is getting tiresome for the Falcons. They didn’t blow a double-digit fourth quarter lead last week, but it was an inventive setback. For the third time in six defeats they had a lead in the final period, though gaining the advantage against Detroit came with risk. It wasn’t supposed to happen the way it did, but when you’re a bad team things just work out for the worst.

You can’t blame Todd Gurley for scoring a touchdown with just over a minute remaining. The Falcons were losing and getting points was the top priority. Gurley scored and following a 2-point conversion, Atlanta’s first of the season, they held a 22-16 lead. The plan was to stop short of the goal to run out the clock then kick a field goal. In theory that’s a sound plan. However, there’s no guarantee Younghoe Koo makes the kick. Instead, let’s throw some blame on the defense for allowing Matthew Stafford to drive 75 yards with a minute left and no timeouts.

Stopping opponents has been an issue all season. The Falcons have the NFL’s second-worst pass defense and also rank 31st allowing 426 yards per game. The group has been better lately giving up exactly 23 points in each of the last three games after yielding an average of 34.5 points over the first four games. Takk McKinley will sit out Thursday’s game taking one of the top defensive linemen out of the equation.

Carolina Panthers

Looking to add more pop in the offensive attack, the Panthers are hopeful Christian McCaffrey makes his return this week. He was designated for return off the injured list prompting Matt Rhule to say, “As soon as they say he can go, he’ll go. I’m hopeful that we’ll have him.” McCaffrey hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in Week and his return will boost an offense that ranks 16th in yards and 25th in scoring.

The Panthers did win three in a row after McCaffrey went down, largely due to improved play from the defense. After surrendering more than 30 points in the first two outings, the Panthers have yielded an average of 20.6 points over the last five games. One reason why they allowed the most points since Week 2 in a 27-24 loss to the Saints was their inability to get off the field. New Orleans converted 12 of 14 third down chances while holding onto the football for nearly 35 minutes. “We just have to be able to help our offense out,” linebacker Shaq Thompson said.

The efficient play of Teddy Bridgewater was enough to keep the Panthers above water during McCaffrey’s absence, for a while. They ran for only 37 yards and totaled 283 in their loss to the Saints. Bridgewater’s 74-yard touchdown pass to DJ Moore accounted for a quarter of the total. Bridgewater had one of his better games in Week 5 throwing for 313 yards and a pair of scores while not getting sacked. The Falcons have only 10 sacks this season, one reason why they allow over 333 passing yards per game.

Bet Falcons at Panthers at BookMaker.eu

Both teams made costly mistakes that led to their misfortune last week. It’s happened way too often for Atlanta. The teams played below the closing total in five of the last seven meetings and neither screams offense right now. McCaffrey’s potential return will spark the Panthers and their defense looks much improved. I can’t see Atlanta fixing their mess, and it’s not happening on a short week, so I’m taking the Panthers minus the points.

NFL Score Prediction: Panthers 24, Falcons 20

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- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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