There is NFC South bottom-feeder betting action in the NFL as Week 8 sees the Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers. Before making any betting picks, read our NFL betting early preview and check out the early lines at the sportsbook. Learn what’s happened in NFL injury news and more since gameday.
|Game: Atlanta Falcons (1-6) at Carolina Panthers (3-4)
Location: Bank of America Stadium
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Falcons vs Panthers Week 8 Game Betting Lines
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Only three weeks ago, these division rivals met in what was Falcons’ coach Dan Quinns’ last stand. Both he and the general manager were dismissed after their 23-16 loss to the Panthers. Bettors in that match bet the total under, from the open of 54½ down to 53½. Market support came for the Falcons too, as they lost their fourth in a row against the spread.
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Next game: vs Denver
Atlanta’s preternatural ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory reached the point Sunday where it might be rejected as unbelievable if written in a script. The team that brought you the Super Bowl 28-3 Collapse manages to win the game in order to lose.
Having gone ahead 16-14 on a field goal, the Detroit Lions returned the ball with 3:16 left in the game. Unable to stop the Falcons’ drive, Detroit found themselves on their own 10, out of timeouts with only 1:12 left, and Atlanta with a fresh set of downs. It was one of those rare instances in which the defense will allow their opponent to score quickly in order to get the ball back to have any chance of winning the game.
To their credit, the Falcons understood this. Their plan was to purposefully down the ball at the one-yard line, kill the clock and kick a game-winning field goal as time expired. Of course, running back Todd Gurley, who really does know better, slipped, and his momentum carried the ball just across the plane. Now up by four points, the Falcons tacked on another two and kicked the ball back to the Lions.
As you can imagine, if you didn’t already know, those who backed the Falcons anywhere from -1 to -2½ would be disappointed as Matt Stafford shredded 75 yards in under a minute to score the game-tying touchdown (extra-point attempt still pending) with two seconds left.
As an extra kick in the ribs, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty enforced on the Lions pushed their actual game-winning extra-point kick back 15 yards. Falcons’ backers got to enjoy one last ironic bit of anguish as the kick was true.
The Falcons practiced early this week in anticipation of the Thursday game. Their most questionable player, DE Takk McKinley, missed Tuesday. He returned to action last Sunday for the first time in weeks and doesn’t look good for his return on a short week. Today, the team announced they are engaged in talks to trade McKinley.
It wouldn’t be a Falcons’ injury report without WR Julio Jones making an appearance. He and fellow wideout Russell Gage are both listed questionable but should play. Worth keeping an eye on is the status of starting C Alex Mack and RG Kaleb McGary. Mack missed a play (only one) last Sunday, but both linemen were limited in practice but are likely to play despite being listed questionable.
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Next game: at Kansas City
Nothing went particularly well for the Panthers last time out against New Orleans, but they covered a generous +7½-point spread. Thanks to a Saints’ fumble recovered by Carolina, the final score of 27-24 looks a little more generous in favor of the Panthers than it might otherwise. Carolina was outgained significantly and heavily beaten in time of possession.
The total for the game struck the number. Largely posted at 51 during the week and bet down to 50, it appeared like a no-sweat over with 38 points on the board at the half. Carolina still played tough, and anyone with an under 51 ticket had to feel like it was a miracle push after a scoreless eight-minute stretch ended the game, including a last-second 65-yard field goal miss. (Yes, it was short. It would’ve been a new record.)
First, don’t expect RB Christian McCaffrey to play this week. His long-awaited return is thought to be coming after their bye, next week. Worry now about the fact that starting LT Russel Okung will likely not be able to go on a short week. He missed the better part of the second half of last game with a calf injury and hasn’t practiced yet this week. Also RG John Miller, who missed the last game, might rehab his way back. He was listed as a non-participant on Monday’s practice, but did so limited on Tuesday.
In another setback, DT Zach Kerr seems to have hurt his toe and missed Tuesday practice. His previous absence on the injury report suggests he might be in trouble to play Thursday.
Betting on the Game
The opening spread of +3 for the Falcons was snatched up pretty quickly and now sits at +2½ -115. It’s more likely this is a move against the Panthers rather than in support of the Falcons, since Carolina may have a more serious issue with the O-line.
By the same thinking, the price for Atlanta has come down from +140 to +125 on the moneyline. Rational people don’t believe in things like curses and bad luck, despite the Falcons providing a ceaseless supply of anecdotal evidence.
Support for the under brought the total down from its open of 51, now at 49. Don’t expect it will get back to above 51 again, but our best guess is it’s bottomed out now at 49, excluding any upcoming injury.