Another week means another heavy loser will get tons of money. This is interesting because the dog seems to win when the bettors throw a lot of money behind it. This season alone, most of the reviews I’ve written revolve around the New York Giants 6-1. Big Blue has the ability to control the tempo of the game, dominate the ball with incredible time, but still manage the big ball – a big reason for their success despite the lack of talent. clear.
Looks like the G-Men worked their way out of the hole. A new contender has joined the fight instead – the Carolina Panthers, who are being supported by a former XFL MVP, PJ Walker.
Based on OddsChecker US, 60% of the bets on the upcoming Panthers-Falcons game went to Carolina, who will be the road team in this competition. That can really be an advantage. The Panthers have won their last two laning games against Atlanta, and in this series, the top laner has won each of the last four and five of the last six.
Furthermore, it’s hard to beat the Carolina Panthers after Walker and company just dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21-3. That said, the Falcons are leading 2-1 at home this year with a win over the 49ers, so how reliable are betting trends really?
The Dirty Birds run the ball in second place ratio in the NFL (60.6 percent) – just ahead of the Chicago Bears (64 percent). The Carolina Panthers have one of the best running defenses in the NFL, at least in terms of allowed size per wear (Allow 4.1 yards per dash – seventh in the NFL). Follow Pro-Football-Reference.
After everything I just said, you’d probably think I’d be leaning heavily into Carolina’s favor as well, but I’m not. Why? Because San Francisco also has an elite run defense, and the Atlanta Falcons dominated the Niners.
Using the run game to open up the passing attack is what made Atlanta so dominant in that game. The Falcons weren’t very effective running the ball. Caleb Huntley and Tyler Allgeier averaged less than four yards per carry. Sure, that’s pretty par for the course for any team playing against the 49ers, but unless you’re averaging close to five yards per carry, most teams tend to run the ball less as the game progresses. Not Atlanta. The Falcons ran the ball with either Huntley or Allgeier 31 times, with 14 of those carries coming in the first half before any normal team would start giving into game script. That doesn’t include runs by QB Marcus Mariota or Avery Williams either. That number would be way higher if that was the case.
In the passing game, Mariota went 13-for-14 through the air. We all know he isn’t the most accurate quarterback, but even he was able to dissect the 49ers defense. Was a lot of it due to great play design by head coach Arthur Smith? Probably. However, at least in the first half, most of Atlanta’s big pass plays didn’t come off play action or quick screen passes. They were just either good pre-snap reads, Atlanta receivers finding a hole in coverage, or Mariota stepping up and making a play with his legs. Sure, the touchdown to MyCole Pruitt was off play action, but in terms of the drive down the field almost all of these aerial plays were on basic dropbacks. Same goes for the Falcon’s second touchdown drive capped off with a Mariota rushing TD.
While Carolina’s offense looked somewhat potent last week, I’m not ready to call a team led by Walker, DJ Moore, and D’Onta Foreman better than San Francisco. Atlanta’s defense was able to handle a Christian McCaffrey-less 49ers team and shouldn’t have a more difficult time with a Run CMC-less Panthers team. There’s just no way I see the Panthers handling the Falcons as well as bettors seem to assume. Considering the San Franmanhandled the Panthers just a few weeks ago, I’m leaning heavily in Atlanta’s favor. Sure, Carolina has arguably a better quarterback now, but that won’t be enough to grant a win. Give me Atlanta minus-four.