Week 16 NFL Picks: Take Falcons At Value Price of +7 vs. Panthers

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, December 24, 2015 2:16 PM GMT

In this article our handicapper previews next Sunday's Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons game and provides his Big Dog of the Week NFL pick.

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NFL Pick: Falcons +7

Best Line Offered: at Bovada 

 

Carolina Panthers (-7) vs. Atlanta Falcons 1:00 EST
Each week in this space I author my Big Dog play of the week. It is an NFL selection that offers an outstanding opportunity to cash your ATS ticket based on a combination of fundamental, statistical, situational, and technical reasons. Today, we visit the division rivalry that is the game between the Carolina Panthers as they visit the Atlanta Falcons. Let’s go inside the thinking of the reasons why it will be no surprise to this bureau if Atlanta wins this game outright, ending the undefeated season of the Panthers. 

It was just two short weeks ago that Carolina hosted Atlanta, and whitewashed their NFC South division opponents 38-0. In that game, the Panthers outrushed the Falcons 32/142 to 16/54, outgained them by a combined margin of 424-230, and then put the icing on the cake with a +4 net TO margin. The result was a 38-0 whitewash of their division rival. Results such as that, particularly in such a short time frame, create a painful memory for the defeated team, and overconfidence by the first game winner. Major edge to Atlanta in the role of divisional home dog rival As They Take The Same Number At Home As They Did On The Road Two Weeks Ago . That loss by the Falcons dropped their recent record to 0-6 SU, 0-9 ATS following a 4-0 SU ATS beginning. Yet they remained in the playoff race if they could only pull the upset at Jacksonville last week. In snapping those lengthy losing streaks, that is exactly what they did in their 23-17 victory. At 7-7 SU, they remain in the hunt for a potential Wild Card spot, as they are just two games behind both Minnesota and Seattle. Those two factors, along with the motivation of being the team who ends the Panthers’ undefeated season, provides a huge situational edge for the Falcons today. 

When not facing Atlanta on their home field, the undefeated Carolina season has gotten very precarious in their previous two road games. Three weeks ago, they barely escaped New Orleans with a 41-38 win. Last week on the road vs New York Giants, they led 35-7 before conservatism and overconfidence set in. Much credit goes to QB Newton who, after the Giants had tied the score at 35 all, directed his Panthers down the field for a game winning field goal and 38-35 victory. That win means the Panthers have scored 27 or more points in each of their last 12 games, extends their overall winning streak to 18-0 SU in the regular season, and leaves them at 14-0 SU, 11-4 ATS on their quest for the undefeated season. It also tightens the noose considerably, as they play their final game of the regular season on the road. 

With the above knowledge, I invite you to put the NFL odds in your favor and join me with my NFL pick on the Atlanta Falcons as the Big Dog of the Week.