Easily the most important overall game on the final Sunday of the 2017 NFL regular season is an NFC South showdown between the Panthers and Falcons in Atlanta. The Panthers are in the playoffs but could improve their position. The Atlanta Falcons likely needs a win to get in and is an NFL odds favorite.
How to Bet on Panthers at Falcons NFL Odds & Week 17 Pick
“It’s put up or shut up time” https://t.co/EaaJxJTEsa
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) December 27, 2017
When: Sunday, 4:25 PM ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta
Radio: WBT 1110 AM (Carolina) / 92.9 The Game (Atlanta)
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Odds: Falcons -4 (46.5)
- Chance of Thunderstorm: 2°C/35°F
- Humidity: 80%
- Precipitation: 21%
- Wind: 6 mph NNW
- Cloud Cover: 43%
- Type of Stadium: Retractable
In Week 9, Carolina was a short underdog but won 20-17 over the Falcons. Atlanta led 10-0 after one but didn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter. Carolina ran for 201 yards, including 86 yards and a TD from Cam Newton and 66 and a touchdown from rookie Christian McCaffrey. Devin Funchess had 86 receptions for 5 yards. Matt Ryan threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns and had one costly first half interception that led to a Carolina touchdown and 14-10 lead. Julio Jones had six catches for 118 yards, but Atlanta had no running game.
Latest NFL Odds Trends
- Carolina is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games
- Carolina is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Carolina’s last 6 games
- Atlanta is 4-8 ATS in its last 12 games
- Atlanta is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5 games
Why Bet on Carolina?
The Carolina Panthers could win the NFC South on Sunday or fall as low as a No. 5 seed and travel next weekend in the wild-card round. To win the division, the Panthers must win and have the Saints lose in Tampa. To be the No. 2 seed and get a first-round bye, Carolina must win, have New Orleans lose, the Rams lose to the 49ers and the Vikings lose to the Bears. Those first three are all very possible, but it’s hugely unlikely the Vikings lose at home to Chicago.
To be a third seed and host a wild-card game, the Panthers must win, Saints lose and either the Rams or the Vikings must lose to move Carolina up in the order among division champs. For a fourth seed, Panthers must win and Saints lose and both the Rams and Vikings win. Should Carolina lose or New Orleans win, the Panthers are the No. 5 and probably visit the Saints next weekend.
In last week’s 22-19 win over the Bucs, wide receiver Damiere Byrd had a 103-yard kickoff return for a score. The return was the longest play in the NFL this season and the longest kickoff return in franchise history. It surpassed a 101-yard return by Kealoha Pilares in 2011. However, Byrd has been lost for the year to a leg injury. As a consolation prize, he was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Panthers LB Thomas Davis’ one-game suspension for violating the league’s player-safety policy is over. DE Charles Johnson will also return from a four-game PED ban. Two big boosts for the Carolina defense. Right guard RG Trai Turner could return this week after missing the past two with a concussion.
Why Bet on Atlanta?
It’s simple for the Falcons: win and they are the NFC’s final wild-card team. Should Atlanta lose, it would still get in the playoffs as long as Seattle loses at home to Arizona, which isn’t likely.
Atlanta lost 23-13 in New Orleans last week. That dropped the team to 0-6 when they fail to score 20 points this season. Besides the 13 against New Orleans, the Falcons scored 17 in losses to Buffalo, Miami and Carolina, nine in a loss to the Vikings, and a season-low seven points in a loss at New England. The team that averaged 33.8 points per game a year ago with Kyle Shanahan as the offensive coordinator now averages a mere 22.1 points per game.
No. 1 tailback Devonta Freeman has four lost fumbles in the last three games, including one at the goal line Sunday. Dropped passes also have been a problem all season. Jones dropped a sure touchdown in the fourth quarter of the first game with Carolina. He has six drops this season. As a team, the Falcons have 24 drops on 471 targets, which is tied for fourth most in the NFL.
Jones, who had a career-high 300 receiving yards the last time the Falcons hosted the Panthers, could surpass injured league-leader Antonio Brown to finish as the NFL’s leading receiver if he has at least 170 yards against the Panthers. Brown won’t play in the season finale and has 1,533 yards on 110 catches. Jones has 1,364.
In their first 10 games, the Panthers allowed 25 pass plays that gained 20-plus yards. In their five games since, they’ve allowed 21 such plays. After going their first eight games without allowing a receiver to hit 100 yards, the Panthers have allowed five different players to hit the century mark in their past seven games. That could bode well for Jones.
Expert Prediction & NFL Week 17 Pick
Honestly, I’d buy this down all the way to 2.5 as I believe the Falcons win by a field goal. Or go Atlanta on the moneyline.