The Atlanta Falcons, co-leaders in the NFC South, play the Panthers in Carolina on Thursday night to open Week 10 of the 2022 NFL season. The Falcons, a 1.5-point choice in advanced wagering a week ago, have been priced as high as -3 during early wagering this week, but according to NFL odds Thursday morning, we’re looking at a market painted -2.5 (-115).
Let’s take a look at the latest Falcons vs. Panthers odds, as well as our TNF prediction.
Falcons vs. Panthers Point Spread, Total, Moneyline
Here are odds on this NFC South contest from top sports betting apps. With rain in the forecast, the total has been adjusted down to 41.5.
Running it Back
This is a rematch from two weeks ago, when Atlanta prevailed at home 37-34 in a game that will be forever known as the one in which Carolina WR DJ Moore essentially cost his team a victory when he ripped off his helmet after catching a game-tying 62-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left.
That celebration no-no in the back of the end zone resulted in a 15-yard penalty, with the ensuing extra-long PAT try hooking just left and the game going to overtime. Panthers kicker Eddy Pineiro blew another opportunity to seal the win but missed on a 33-yard field goal attempt in OT.
At least Panthers bettors got to collect at +4.
Where the Falcons and Panthers Stand in NFC South
Thanks in part to the gaffes by Moore and Pineiro, the Falcons (4-5 straight up/6-3 against the spread) are tied with Tampa Bay atop the NFC South and in the mix to earn their first playoff berth in five years. That’s quite an accomplishment considering BetMGM listed their playoff chances at +650 before the season, the second-longest number on the board behind Houston’s +1500.
Carolina (2-7 SU/3-6 ATS), meanwhile, has the worst record in the NFC and is in turmoil. This week, interim coach Steve Wilks, who took over for fired Matt Rhule after the team’s 1-4 start, gave the heave-ho to two assistant coaches in the wake of Sunday’s 42-21 loss in Cincinnati. The score wasn’t nearly as close as the score might indicate.
Carolina was already buried at halftime 35-0 and was outgained in the first two quarters 311-32, by far the worst yardage differential at intermission in a game this season. Or last season.
Speaking of bad, Panthers QB PJ Walker was 3-for-10 for 9 yards and two interceptions before being replaced in the second half by former starter Baker Mayfield. Walker’s passer rating was 0.0. It would have been worse, but the rating formula doesn’t allow for a negative number.
Yet, a week earlier against the Falcons, he threw for 317 yards, including that late tying score. Wilks said Monday he plans for Walker to be his starter for Thursday’s game.
Atlanta’s QB situation is much improved. Over the past four weeks, Marcus Mariota has had three outings with a passer rating of better than 105 after having none in Week 1-5.
And with the return of four-time All-Pro RB Cordarrelle Patterson off IR (knee), the Falcons’ already strong running game got better. Last week, in the team’s third 200-yard rushing game of the season, rookie Tyler Allgeier had his best outing with 99 yards on 10 carries. Plus, Mariota was quoted as saying the team plans to get star TE Kyle Pitts more involved this week.
Falcons vs. Panthers Analysis and Prediction
Atlanta has fared well against the Panthers since 2015, going 11-3 SU/10-4 ATS in the series and now has its stable of RBs in good health. In its past four visits to Carolina, Atlanta is 4-0 SU/ATS. This trend should continue.
Plus, with the Panthers’ season going down the tubes, crowd noise shouldn’t be much of an issue for the Falcons unless the booing gets too loud.
Carolina’s defense hasn’t fared well lately, either, since the stunning 21-3 home win over Tampa Bay three weeks ago as a 13-point dog, the biggest upset of the year. But against the Bengals, the Panthers yielded 241 rushing yards to a team that had a norm of 73.6 ground yards the previous seven weeks.
As for Carolina’s attack, they surely aren’t the same without all-purpose weapon Christian McCaffrey, who was sent to San Francisco three weeks ago. And second-leading WR Ronnie Anderson was jettisoned, too.
One more thing: Considering both teams rank in the bottom six defensively, the over/under number seems a bit too conservative.
Add this, too: With rain in the forecast, turnovers could be a bigger issue than usual, especially for a Panthers team that has a minus-4 margin. Atlanta is at plus-1.
Forecast: Falcons 30, Panthers 21