Featured in this article:
  • Carolina is 1-6 straight up in their last seven home games.
  • The Falcons are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven road games.
  • The Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.

Earlier this season, the Falcons became the first team in NFL history to blow 15-point, fourth-quarter leads in back-to-back games. In Week 7’s loss to the Lions, Atlanta became one of the few teams to score a go-ahead touchdown and have the opposition’s defense cheer. Todd Gurley’s late score allowed Matthew Stafford just enough time to march Detroit down the field for the game-winning score and drop the Falcons to 1-6 overall and 2-5 against the spread.

Despite no semblance of a rush attack, the Panthers did just enough to earn the road cover at New Orleans in Week 7. The Saints 27-24 loss dropped Carolina to 3-4 overall, but improved their ATS record to 4-3 after covering +7 inside the Superdome.

Week 8: Atlanta Falcons vs Carolina Panthers Game Info
Date: October 29, 2020, 8:20 p.m. ET
Stadium: Bank of America Stadium
TV Coverage: FOX
Opening Odds: Panthers -2.5 | O/U 51.5
How to Bet: Best Online Sportsbook Reviews

Line Movement

Carolina opened as 2.5-point home favorites, but the spread has since ticked up to Panthers -3. The Falcons moneyline opened at +113, but moved to the +130’s as of Monday morning. The point total opened at 51.5, but dipped down to 51. The total has gone UNDER in six of Carolina’s last seven HOME games against the Falcons.

Atlanta is 6-1 against the spread in their last seven road games, while the Panthers have covered in four of their last five.

Carolina won the first 2020 meeting just last month, 23-16, in Atlanta.

Atlanta News and Notes

Gurley’s inability to fall down short of the goal line and milk critical seconds off the clock earned the headlines, but another play should be blamed for another embarrassing Falcons loss. With less than six minutes to go in the game and Atlanta clinging to a one point lead, Matt Ryan was sacked, fumbled and set the Lions up with great field position that they used to kick a go-ahead field goal. That turnover was the only one committed by either team on Sunday. To be fair, the Falcons played a solid game outside of those two brain farts.

Atlanta’s defense held the Lions to 3-for-10 on third downs, while the offense converted 50 percent of theirs. The Falcons also converted 3-of-4 trips to the red zone and won time of possession, albeit barely.

The one glaring issue that continues to haunt a once up-tempo offense is yards per play. Matt Ryan and company were held to just 5.5 yards per play, a by-product of just 2.5 yards per rush. Through seven games, the Falcons are averaging just 5.7 yards per play, which ranks outside the NFL’s top 20.

A big reason why Atlanta managed to hang with Carolina in the first matchup was Gurley’s 8.6 yards per touch on 14 carries. In the two games since, he’s failed to rush for better than 2.7 yards per carry.

Could Gurley be the butt of the joke one week and the offensive savior the next?

Carolina News and Notes

Let’s give credit where credit is due. When the Panthers lost Christian McCaffrey to a high ankle sprain the second game of the season, most critics were willing to give first year head coach Matt Rhule and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a pass. However, the Panthers went on to beat a very good Chargers team in Los Angeles, a very, very talented Cardinals team, and the Falcons before back to back losses to the Bears and Saints, in which Carolina competed and lost two games by a combined 10 points.

Now, to be fair, the Panthers running game has been a mess without McCaffrey. They rushed for just 31 yards against the Saints in Week 7 and just 91 per game over their past three, fifth-worst in the NFL. On the flip side, Bridgewater, who has passed for seven touchdowns with three interceptions over his past five games, is averaging 263 passing yards per game and completing well over 70 percent of his passes, second best in the league behind only Drew Brees.

When you dig into the box score to figure out what went right for the Panthers in their first win over the Falcons, the three things that jump out are:

  • Matt Ryan finished with a QB rating of 63.6 with no touchdowns and one interception
  • The Falcons were 0-for-2 in the red zone
  • The Panthers won time of possession by six minutes

Bridgewater passed for more than 300 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers in that game.

Betting Pick: Panthers -3

Carolina’s defense remains suspect, but on their home turf they are more than capable of beating a Falcons franchise lacking confidence in the moment. With wins over the Chargers, Cardinals and this same Falcons team already on the resume, don’t be surprised to see the line move to the Panthers side more in the lead up to kickoff.

Check out our expert NFL betting guide if you want to learn more about How to Bet on Week 8 of the NFL or head right to our favorite online sportsbook review page and find the right site for you!

Ryan Fowler

Ryan has covered sports on every media platform over the past 17+ years. The first seven years of his professional career were spent as a sports anchor and reporter at various local television stations, while he picked up side gigs as a freelance sports columnist and recurring radio guest before he decided to jump to the web. As content manager of sports simulation website WhatIfSports.com and senior editor of FOXSports.com's fantasy baseball and football coverage for the better part of this decade, Ryan embraces advanced metrics, trends, and outside-the-box angles to find his edge. You can follow him on Twitter @FreelanceFowler.

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