NFL Betting: Public Loves Falcons – But So Do Sharps

Atlanta Falcons players entering field

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 3:44 PM GMT

The Atlanta Falcons are drawing a lot of public support for Saturday’s Divisional Round game against the Seattle Seahawks. The sharps have Atlanta in their NFL picks, too.


It has been swelled for Seattle, over five consecutive years, the Seattle Seahawks were a profitable NFL picks during the regular season. They were also the top team on the efficiency charts at Football Outsiders for each of their first four seasons under the Pete Carroll-Russell Wilson regime. Oh, and they won Super Bowl XLVIII as 1.5-point underdogs to the Denver Broncos. Good times.

The shine is off now, though. The Seahawks failed to make a profit during the 2016 regular season, finishing 10-5-1 SU and 8-8 ATS. They were No. 9 on the efficiency charts, and this Saturday (4:35 p.m. ET, FOX), they’ll face the No. 3-ranked Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional Round. Not only are the Falcons 4.5-point home faves on the NFL odds board, they’re also drawing most of the early action, moving from –4 at the open. It isn’t just the betting public, either – sharps want a piece of Atlanta, too.
 

Emerald Flowsion

That’s what our expanded consensus reports are telling us. At press time, the Falcons (11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS) are pulling in 60 percent of the wagers placed, and 73 percent of the amount wagered. That’s good for an average bet of $68 on Atlanta, almost twice as much as Seattle’s $39. Looks like it’s time to run down the curtain on the Emerald City.

Not so fast. Atlanta is drawing less overall money and a smaller average bet size than the other three hot commodities for the Divisional Round: New England, Kansas City, and Green Bay. It’s not a vote of supreme confidence from the sharps, in other words. In theory, recreational bettors will over-value the Falcons offense (No. 1 in efficiency) and overlook how awful Atlanta’s defense (No. 27) has been this year. And the data gurus at FiveThirtyEight have slapped an Elo-based spread of Atlanta –3.5 on this bad boy.
 

What’s a bettor to do? We could try the OVER, which is 13-2-1 for the Falcons this year, but the wiseguys have already driven the total from 49.5 to 51.5. We’ll take it anyway. Elo doesn’t know that safety Earl Thomas is out for the Seahawks with a broken leg. It didn’t stop Seattle from beating the Detroit Lions 26-6 (Under 45.5) as 8-point home faves, but that was against Matthew Stafford and his injured throwing hand. Matt Ryan is made of stronger stuff. MVP stuff.



Free NFL Pick: Over 51

Best Line Offered: at BetDSI

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