NFL Picks: Bet Panthers to Cover ATS vs. Falcons & Move To 15-0

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 9:38 PM GMT

The Carolina Panthers are two games away from finishing the season 16-0 SU. Can the Falcons defy the NFL odds and upset the Panthers? Here’s our guiding NFL betting preview complete with NFL picks.

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NFL Pick: Panthers -7

Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Carolina Panthers (14-0, 7-0 Away)
The banner season continues. Panthers survive a nerve-bitter on Sunday, fending off a late rally by the Giants to win on a last-gasp field goal.

Things got off the mark better than most NFL bettors expected as the Panthers raced to an impressive 35-7 lead, a massive lead that would have been daunting for just about any team in the NFL save for the giant-slaying Giants. One would have thought all the Panthers needed to do was just coast to the finish line, but Eli Manning and the G-men had other ideas as they erased a 28-point deficit, tying the record comeback accomplished by the 1980 Niners against the Saints, to knot up the game at 35-35. Alas, there was enough time for the Panthers to put together a game-winning drive, capped by a field goal, to win 38-35.

Tale told, the Panthers kept their undefeated season alive but failed to cover as the closing road faves – a low of 4-points at Heritage and a high of 5-points at Bookmaker and 5Dimes – on the NFL odds board. Indeed, some would say they were lucky to win the game at all. Had Odell Beckham Jr. not boggled an almost sure touchdown at the start of the game or allowed himself to be distracted throughout the G-men might have pulled off the unthinkable.

What ifs are irrelevant at the end of the day. Point is, the Panthers are undefeated and the rest of the schedule stacks up so that it’s quite conceivable they’ll finish the season with a perfect 16-0 SU record.

 

Atlanta Falcons (7-7, 3-3 Home)
So the Falcons haven’t packed it in after all. Let’s pour the eggnog shall we. The Falcons bounce back with a hard fought 23-17 win over the Jaguars that snaps a horrendous six-game skid and puts them back into the playoff hunt, but only just. Now, they’ll look to keep the ball rolling in what’s arguably going to be their toughest challenge yet, a divisional clash with their NFC South pals Carolina Panthers

The task before Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons couldn’t be more difficult as evinced by the NFL odds. Falcons are trading as the significant home underdogs, anywhere from 6-to-7 points depending on your choice sports betting shop.

Consensus betting reveals the Falcons are barely striking an audible chord in public circles at early doors, which says a lot about what the public thinks of their win over the Jaguars in week 15. Not a whole lot. Early NFL betting trends reveal the Falcons have attracted 36.45% of spread bets at early doors but those amount to just 28.47% of the money.

Of course, the Panthers’ refusal to go quietly has something to do with these illuminating NFL betting trends. Case-and-point: the way they stopped a late surge by the G-men on the road.

 

NFL Betting Verdict
On one hand, allowing a 28-point lead to frit away into the thin cold air is a bit concerning. What’s more important though is how they dealt with it that says a lot about this team. They didn’t panic or lose the plot. They simply regrouped and took the last minute or so of the game to orchestrate a game-winning drive that put paid on any upset notions the G-men might have been entertaining. Sometimes it’s not about how you win, just that you do. That alone makes the Panthers the savvy NFL pick to win outright and potentially even cover.

That the Falcons have come out of slumber and revived their slim hopes for the postseason might give them contrarian value, if not for the win then at least to cover as the home underdogs. There is also the established trend that divisional rivalries are closer than the NFL odds would have them to be sometimes. That may well be the case here as well. Somehow, we just don’t see it happening though. One win by the Falcons isn’t enough for us to get on their bandwagon for our NFL picks.