Falcons vs. Panthers NFL Picks: Bet Carolina to Stay Undefeated

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 9, 2015 8:21 PM GMT

Don't look now, but the Carolina Panthers could go 16-0 this year – especially with two games coming up against the Atlanta Falcons. The NFL odds are in Carolina's corner.

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NFL Pick: Panthers -7
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Jason's 2015 record as of Dec. 9: 46-44-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 25-31 Total

Is it time to “sell high” on the Carolina Panthers? They're on top of the NFL mountain right now at 12-0 SU and 9-3 ATS, with a very good chance of running the table from here to the playoffs. But the Panthers got a scare last week at the Superdome, needing a late touchdown to beat the New Orleans Saints 41-38 as 5.5-point road faves. It was Carolina's first ATS loss in over a month.

Next up: the Atlanta Falcons (6-6 SU, 4-8 ATS), who haven't beaten the NFL odds since Week 4. They'll give it another try this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) in Charlotte; the Falcons are getting 7.5 points at press time, but only 41 percent of early bettors are on the underdogs, supplying 42 percent of the action. Nobody wants the leftovers from this bird.

 

The Trendy South
Nobody except for the sharps, that is – at least the ones who fall into the “contrarian” bucket. Our expanded consensus figures show two $1000+ bets on Atlanta to just one for Carolina, and the average bet size on the Falcons is two bucks larger at $56. There's no shortage of wiseguys who are willing to fade the Panthers with their Week 14 NFL picks.

If we ignore Atlanta's recent history for a moment, the betting trends support the contrarian play. The Falcons will be divisional dogs of +7 or better, and they'll be playing in the second of back-to-back road games; according to trend guru Walter Cherepinsky, teams in this situation are 199-133 ATS (59.9 percent) since 2002 when they're the underdogs, and they're coming off a loss. Atlanta dropped a 23-19 decision to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (–1 at home) in Week 13.

 

Me and Julio
That's about all the good stuff we've got for Atlanta supporters. The Falcons have completely fallen off the rails since starting the season at 4-0 SU and ATS. The new DVOA numbers are up at Football Outsiders, and they've got Atlanta ranked No. 23 overall (No. 19 offense, No. 23 defense, No. 21 special teams) in efficiency. Carolina may have played a soft schedule this year (No. 29 overall), but nobody's had it easier than the Falcons at No. 32.

Meanwhile, Atlanta's offense continues to fall apart. WR Leonard Hankerson was put on injured reserve last week with a strained hamstring; Hankerson (+54 DYAR) was the nominal No. 2 wideout on a very thin receiving corps behind Julio Jones (+159 DYAR). The Panthers have the second-ranked pass defense in the league according to efficiency, with Top 10 results against every position from WR to TE to RB. Getting a scare from the No. 8-ranked Saints offense is one thing. From Atlanta? We'll believe it when we see it.