Atlanta (-4) to cover vs. Carolina Spread
Tyler Allgeier anytime TD scorer vs. CAR Player Prop
By Lawrence Smelser
Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons Week 8 matchup preview and current betting lines
The Carolina Panthers will travel to Mercedes Benz Stadium to take on their NFC South foes, the Atlanta Falcons. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (ET) and the game can be viewed on FOX.
This NFL season has been one of the most unpredictable ones as of late. The Atlanta Falcons currently sit atop the NFC South standings without having played their week 8 matchup. This is due to the Buccaneers losing Thursday night, 27-22, to the Ravens.
To open the season, Atlanta was 60-1 to win the NFC South. These odds were higher than many teams to win the Super Bowl.
The 2-5 Panthers’ season looked to be all but over. The team fired Matt Rhule after a 12-28 record after their week 7 loss to San Francisco. Last week, the organization traded away arguably its best player, Christian McCaffrey, as well as deep threat Robbie Anderson.
More than 99% of the time moves like this constitute a total rebuild. Starting from scratch may have been the Carolina brass’ plan but the season is surprisingly very much alive with a playoff berth at stake. The Panthers will move to first in the division with a win. The NFC South is wide open for the taking.
NFC South Standings
Tampa Bay 3-5
New Orleans 2-5
All good things must come to an end. After starting out the season 6-0 against the spread, the Panthers finally failed to cover after losing to the Bengals (35-17) last week.
Carolina shocked the world after practically no one gave them a chance to win against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in week 7. Interim head coach Steve Wilks’ team limited Tampa to just a field goal in the 21-3 win. The Buccaneers were 13-point favorites and -714 on the moneyline.
Oddsmakers on BetRivers Sportsbook currently have the Falcons set as 4-point favorites. The moneyline odds are Carolina (+155) vs. Atlanta (-220). Among the public, 51% of bets and 67% of the money have been placed on the Falcons to cover.
Players to watch in the Panthers vs. Falcons contest
DJ Moore: The dangerous slot receiver posted three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to open his career with Carolina. This year, when paired with the “WR1 Killer” Baker Mayfield, Moore hasn’t been targeted often. Last week with P.J. Walker under center, the former first-rounder recorded his best game of the season — seven receptions (10 targets) for 69 yards and a touchdown. Mayfield is healthy, but Walker will remain the starter, therefore Moore’s production should continue to improve.
Kyle Pitts: The highest-drafted tight end in history (4th overall in 2020) only has 16 receptions for 178 yards and one touchdown in six games this season. Pitts is averaging an awful 11.1 yards per contest and 2.7 receptions per game. Falcons fans and many analysts are frustrated with Pitts’ usage, along with No. 8 overall pick, receiver Drake London’s. The freakishly athletic tight end will hopefully be more involved in the passing game if Arthur Smith allows Mariota to let it fly.
Our NFL bet of the week for the Panthers vs. Falcons
ESTNN is providing wagerers with two free selections for this game.
Carolina vs. Atlanta Spread: Atlanta -4 @ -113
Despite the Panthers’ upset win over Tampa Bay, it’s hard to see them consistently putting a strong product out on the field each week. In his two starts this season, the former XFL quarterback (Walker) is averaging 118.5 passing yards. Prior to the win over Tampa, the Panthers suffered a three-game losing streak where they lost by an average of 12.3 points per game.
Offensively, it’s been a nightmare for the Charlotte-based team. In terms of total offense, the unit ranks dead last in the NFL with an average of 271.9 yards per game. Carolina is also 26th in scoring offense (17.7 points per contest). Defensively, the team ranks in the middle of the pack, (18th) allowing 351.9 yards per outing and giving up an average of 21.3 points each week (17th).
The Falcons aren’t much more impressive statistically than the Panthers but they have found ways to keep games close. Three of the team’s four losses have come by six points or less.
On offense, Atlanta ranks 12th in the NFL in points per game (23.3) and 27th in average yards per game (308.6). On the other side of the ball, Atlanta is 30th in total defense (406.9 YPG) and 24th in scoring defense (24.4).
The team’s quarterback, Marcus Mariota, has played well this season despite low expectations. The former Heisman Trophy winner was brought in to replace long-time signal caller Matt Ryan. Ryan has struggled this season in Indianapolis and was benched for second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Mariota is widely considered to be a journeyman backup after previously playing for the Titans and Raiders.
The Oregon product has thrown for 1,179 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. Mariota ranks 10th in the league in quarterback rating (58.4). The dual-threat 29-year-old has also added 237 yards on the ground (4.8 yards per attempt) and has rushed for three scores.
The Falcons are 10-4 against the spread in their last 14 matchups at home against the Panthers. Carolina is 2-7 against the spread in its last nine games against Atlanta and 2-12 ATS in its last 14 contests.
Our pick at ESTNN is to take the Falcons to cover the 4-point spread. BetRivers offers the spread bet at -113 odds.
Panthers vs. Falcons odds: Tyler Allgeier anytime TD scorer @ +125
Tyler Allgeier is the lead back in Atlanta while Cordarrelle Patterson is out injured. The rookie had 16 and 15 carries in his previous two games versus Cincinnati and San Francisco. Against the Bengals, Allgeier found the end zone and recorded 50 yards. In each of the last four weeks, the BYU product has seen double-digit touches.
Allgeier has out-carried fellow running back Caleb Huntley in two of the last three games. Last week Huntley only recorded eight touches.
Carolina is 20th in rushing yards surrendered per game with 120.9. The Falcons rank fifth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (156.9) and will give the 22-year-old chances to score. Atlanta rarely throws the ball and relies on its running game. Mariota only averages 21.4 pass attempts per game and has had 14 or fewer attempts in the last two contests.
The value is just solid at +125 odds. Our pick is to bet Allgeier to score anytime during the contest on BetMGM Sportsbook.
If you’re interested in learning about more prop bets for week 8, read our NFL player props page.
Frequently asked questions regarding Carolina vs. Atlanta in week 8
Matt Ryan has the most wins by an Atlanta quarterback (120). The Boston College product won an NFL MVP in 2016.
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