30 Nov

The Lede: Are the Falcons the New Favorites in NFC?

In a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship, the Atlanta Falcons proved (again) they are too much for the Green Bay Packers to handle, posting a 34-23 victory. After both teams scored touchdowns on their opening drives, the Falcons defense made the necessary adjustments and held Aaron Rodgers off the scoreboard over his next six drives.

While the Packers offense was struggling to protect Rodgers in the pocket, the Falcons continued to run like a well-oiled machine. Matt Ryan led three more scoring drives in the second quarter, and the Atlanta defense opened the second half with a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Atlanta headed into the fourth quarter with a 24-point lead, and then Green Bay’s offense started to find its groove. The Super Bowl LI jokes started writing themselves. But this time Ryan and company were able to move the chains and kill enough clock to thwart a fourth-quarter comeback. With the Falcons win, there is no definitive NFC favorite anymore among online sportsbooks. Takeaway: Bovada reacted to the Sunday night outcome by making the Falcons the favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LII. Atlanta jumps to +350, while Green Bay’s odds fall to +550 — behind even Seattle (+450). Meanwhile, Betway and Bet365 were not as impressed by the victory, and have left the Falcons (+500 and +450, respectively) behind the Packers and Seahawks, who are tied atop both sites at +450 and +400, respectively. If you’re ready to bet on the Seahawks at that price, we must see the game quite differently. But before you go and invest in the Falcons on Betway, remember the Packers played last night’s game without their two starting offensive tackles, and also lost Jordy Nelson and Mike Daniel early in the game, followed by Randall Cobb and Davon House later on. Green Bay getting +550 on Bovada is awfully enticing.

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Matt McEwan

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