Atlanta at Carolina: Predictions and Picks
We have seen 1-point games in back-to-back Thursday Night games.
The Week 8 match-up is shaping up to be another close divisional battle.
The Atlanta Falcons suffered another crushing defeat in Week 7, losing to the Detroit Lions on the final play of the game. That's another game they should have won.
The loss dropped them to 1-6 on the season, which includes a Week 5 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Since that win, the Panthers have lost two in a row, dropping games to the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints. They are now 3-4 and sit third in the NFC South.
At first glance, this looks like it could be a high-scoring match-up since both offences are pretty talented, and both defences are way below average. However, the weather looks like it could play a factor. Hurricane Zeta, now coming up through the southern part of the United States, is expected to reach North Carolina by Thursday morning, and that will bring rain and high winds along with it. At the time of writing, wind gusts are expected to be around 35 km/h in Charlotte tomorrow night, which would drastically affect the passing game.
This should be taken into account when looking at sides, totals, and props.
Now, let's look at some bets worth considering:
Place your bets at play.spreads.ca
Teddy Bridgewater — UNDER 279.5 Passing Yards (-115)
Even if the weather was going to be perfect, Bridgewater has only gone over 280 passing yards twice in seven games. Granted, one of those games was against the Falcons' secondary, but the weather and the potential return of Christian McCaffrey have me fearing that they will lean on the running game very heavily.
DJ Moore — OVER 67.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
Robby Anderson — OVER 74.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
That doesn't mean they won't throw at all, which is why I like for both Moore and Andersson to hit their respective overs in this matchup. When Bridgewater throws the ball, he is looking for Moore or Anderson almost every time. When it's not there, he checks it down to Mike Davis or McCaffrey. Anderson is averaging 8.4 targets, and Moore is averaging 7.6, so Bridgewater is making sure to get both of them involved.
Moore has racked up 93 yards in three straight games, including four grabs for 93 against the Falcons in Week 5. Anderson continues to be reliable, having gone over 74 yards in six of seven games this season. His busiest day came against Atlanta, where he hauled in 8 of 12 targets for 112 yards.
Bridgewater could throw for only 200 yards, and both Moore and Anderson could still hit the over...that's how large their target share is in this offence.
Matt Ryan — UNDER 278.5 Passing Yards (-115)
Ryan has been forced to air it out all season, averaging 40.9 pass attempts and 311.6 yards per game. However, his worst game of the season came against these Panthers. With Carolina having a playbook on how to slow down the Falcons passing attack and Hurricane Zeta helping limit Calvin Ridley's vertical threat, they should have another successful day against Ryan.
Toddy Gurley — OVER 63.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
If the weather requires the Falcons to run the ball more than they normally do, Gurley should see around 20 carries for the third straight week. The volume in addition to a match-up against the NFL's fifth-worst run defence (Per FootballOutsiders.com DVOA Rankings) should help Gurley hit the over on Thursday. His only 100-yard rushing performance of the season came in Week 5 vs. the Panthers when he averaged 8.6 yards per carry. Add in some additional motivation after costing the Falcons a win last week and Gurley should be in for a big day.
-- by Tommy Bits