Falcons vs. Panthers prediction, line: Take the Over — with one caveat

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This week’s “Thursday Night Football” offering of the Falcons visiting the Panthers is only slightly more appealing than last week’s Giants-Eagles game, but we can still make money if we bet smart.

Like last week, when we cashed on the Under 43.5 (though we had to sweat it out with the Eagles’ late 2-point conversion), we again find more value in the total.

We loved Over 49 earlier in the week. It has been bet up to 51, as obviously plenty of other sharp bettors saw value at the lower number, so I wouldn’t bet it Over if it goes any higher as 51 is a fairly key number in totals wagering as the final score can land with 27-24, 28-23, 31-20, etc. Hopefully it dips a little lower before kickoff so those scores would result in a win. At press time for this piece, BetMGM had the total at 50.5.

The Falcons (1-6 straight-up, 2-5 against the spread) continue to amaze us in how they can blow big leads and late leads. They give up 29.6 points per game (31 on the road) and we doubt they’ll slow down Teddy Bridgewater and the Carolina offense, which appears likely to be getting back star RB Christian McCaffrey. As bad as the Falcons are overall, Matt Ryan is still putting up solid numbers (2,181 passing yards, 12 TD passes) along with Todd Gurley on the ground, so they’ll get their share of points, too. So the recommendation is the Over, up to 51.

The Panthers are clearly the better team this season and this line seems short at -2.5, even if not giving them much for home-field advantage. Panthers -2.5 looks like the right side, though I wouldn’t talk anyone out of starting an NFL 6-point teaser (where you move the line 6 points in your favor on two or more teams) on the Falcons +8.5. If the Panthers win by between 3 and 8 points (with 3 and 7 being “key” numbers in NFL betting), we all win.

The best games to link it with on Sunday would be teasing the Lions up to +8.5 or +9 versus the Colts or the Raiders up to +8.5 points at the Browns, though I would also suggest including the Packers teased down to -0.5 versus the Vikings.

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