Atlanta Falcons (-1) @ Carolina Panthers Free Pick & Preview: Okay, I get it, this is obviously a trap game for the public bettor. And I see what Vegas sees in this one, really, I do, and yes, I’m making my Falcons pick anyway. What does Vegas see, you ask? Well, they see a Falcons team that can’t stop the run, has lucked out lately, and hasn’t really played elite football consistently all season long. They are just 1-3 on the road, and that offense that was supposed to dominate this season – they’ve been out-gained in 3 of the last 4 games and their opponents have gained more yardage through the air in 6 of their last 7 – even Jake Delhomme and the Panthers out-passed Matty Ice and the falcons. But despite all this, the hype train is running at full speed.
Then you have Carolina, a team that can run on anyone and has done so, has played well against two tough teams in two weeks, and are playing at home against a team that can’t stop the run (or pass for that matter). The Falcons are 5-3, the Panthers 3-5, and there you have it, the Panthers have some value at home if you look at it from those perspectives.
But, look out, I’m ignoring those things. I’m ignoring the Panthers 3-1 ATS record in their last 4 games. I’m going with the Falcons because their coaching staff doesn’t get side-tracked into believing they are something they aren’t. They run the ball well, and will do so against Carolina – they pass the ball better than Carolina, and make way fewer mistakes. They don’t do much for me defensively, but that’s okay, because Carolina loves to forget how easy gaining yards on the ground is. They love to become a passing team with the game on the line, and that has led to much failure.
I’ll ignore all that smart betting business for the simple fact that I can trust the Falcons to do the right thing and I can trust the Panthers to screw up a game where they played like the better team. Fair enough? I think so.