NFL Picks: Patriots vs. Falcons Betting the Total

Jordan Sharp

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 3:38 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 25, 2013 3:38 PM GMT

The Patriots head into Atlanta this Sunday night to play the Falcons, and what started as a trendy Super Bowl matchup pick has turned into a regular season version of two heavyweights fighting on the undercard.

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The NFL odds for this one opened as a "pick 'em", but has quickly moved to -2 in favor of Atlanta, with a total of 49.5. Both teams are dealing with injuries to some of their key offensive weapons, so should we still look at this game as potentially high scoring?


Banged up battle

For Atlanta, Roddy White is still not himself, and Steven Jackson will miss his second straight game this week. While the Falcons do have other very capable pieces on offense, the New England defense is better than the average NFL fan recognizes. Although the Pats haven’t been very good at stopping the run, they are currently 6th in the NFL in passing yards against through three games. However, the absence of Jackson, and a sub par White shouldn’t hurt Atlanta’s scoring too much. As long as the offensive line can protect Matt Ryan, he is good enough to get the ball out on time and accurately to whoever is running routes.

On the other side, the Patriots are hoping to have the debut of Rob Gronkowski this week, who is almost recovered from his forearm and back issues. Word out of New England is that he is a game time decision for Sunday Night Football, but if you know anything about the Patriots, you know not to trust their injury report. He practiced in full on Wednesday, and as long as there are no setbacks during the week (he is held out or limited) I expect him to play against the Falcons, despite anything you may hear from now until Sunday coming from the Boston area.

Gronk was reportedly almost a go for last week’s game, but the Pats made the decision to hold him out against the futile Bucs. If he plays, it’s going to mean serious trouble for the Falcons’ defense. Atlanta has already given up two touchdowns to tight ends this season, and Gronk would be their toughest cover to date.

For more info, don't forget to also take a look at our Opening Betting Odds Report for this game!

The Sharp Pick

The over has cashed in four of the last five games for the Falcons, and dating way back into the 1990s, three of the last five meetings between these two have gone over the total. With the state the Falcons’ defense is in, I don’t think the offensive injuries will be an issue for this game’s score. Playing in the dome normally makes totals a few points higher, and Tom Brady has a pretty good history when playing indoors.

In his last four starts in a dome, Brady has a combined 67% completion percentage, 1263 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Against a Falcons defense that is below average, Brady should have another banner dome day. It could get even better if Gronkowski is able to play.

On the other side, if Jason Snelling and Jaquizz Rodgers can run the ball like they did last week, the Pats will have to respect them, leaving open lanes for the deadly Falcon passing attack. The total is already creeping upward, and it’s probably best to take the early week plunge and take the over here for your sports picks. We could see one of the higher scoring games of the week, and possibly of the first quarter of the season. After opening at 49, the NFL betting odds have slowly risen over the past three days and are creeping into the 50s. I’m on the over.

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NFL Pick: Bet the Patriots/Falcons game OVER 49.5 points, at William Hill

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