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Falcons Lions Betting – Falcons Use Ground Game To Tame Lions

Posted by Stan Simmons on 10/19/2011 11:52:17 AM

Sports betting players have been amazed by Detroit all season, but they were taken down a peg in a loss to another surprising team last week. This week, the Lions will welcome Atlanta to town and the Falcons know they need a win to get back to the level they figured they’d be at by now. With a strong running game, look for Atlanta to flex their muscles.

What: NFL Betting
When: Sunday, October 23rd, 1:00 PM ET
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Pick: Atlanta Falcons +3.5

Why Bet On Atlanta Falcons (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS)

The Falcons took advantage of Carolina rookie Cam Newton’s mistakes in a 31-17 win at home over the Panthers, picking off Newton three times, and they also picked up three first downs due to Carolina penalties. Michael Turner had a solid day, rushing for 139 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 27 carries, while Matt Ryan was 14-of-22 for 163 yards and a touchdown for the Falcons, who weren’t spectacular, but they didn’t turn the ball over and that is often enough to beat a young team like the Panthers. Atlanta also took control of the final 15 minutes, outscoring the Panthers 17-0 as they set out to show they’re still the class of the NFC South.

However, the Atlanta offense has to get going soon if they’re going to raise their profile among NFL betting players, as it ranks 20th in the NFL. Ryan is only 21st in the league in passer rating and instead of heading to the next level in terms of NFL quarterbacks, he seems to be regressing, although he still has a lot of time to get it together. The defense is only 22nd in the league, so Ryan and the offense has to pick it up because the defense isn’t going to carry the team at any point. The big injury worry this week for Atlanta is rookie receiver Julio Jones, who missed the Carolina game with a hamstring injury. The Falcons may sit him this week and rest through their bye next week, so watch the injury reports carefully.

Why Bet On Detroit Lions (5-1 SU, 4-1-1 ATS)

The Lions were brought back to earth by a 25-19 loss at home to San Francisco, and their high-powered offense finally failed to come through. Matt Stafford was 28-of-50 for 293 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but couldn’t get in on a fourth-quarter two-point conversion that likely cost the Lions the game (although they shouldn’t have gone for it in the first place). Calvin Johnson had seven catches for 113 yards, but he failed to find the end zone for the first time this season. The Lions were just 2-of-15 on third down and their ground game didn’t help at all; Detroit actually picked up more first downs from San Francisco penalties (four) than on the ground (three).  Jahvid Best (concussion) may have to sit this week out if he isn’t cleared to play.

It wasn’t all negative for the Lions as they held the 49ers on 12 of 14 third-down opportunities and did a good job of shutting down their aerial attack; the problem is that they gave up 203 yards on the ground. Rookie defensive lineman Nick Fairley was also disruptive on a couple of plays after missing the first part of the season through injury, and that can only help a line that is already one of the most intimidating in the league. Finally, the Lions will hope to use the skirmish between head coach Jim Schwartz and San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh as inspiration. Their coach seems to be willing to fight for them, so the Lions should want to fight for their coach (although not in the literal sense; that is how you get penalties).

How It Will Play Out

Detroit is a 3.5-point NFL betting favorite at home in this massive NFC contest, and they’re 2-3 SU and ATS in their last five meetings with the Falcons, with three games going under the posted total. This looks to be a shootout as the Falcons and Lions are both dome teams who have loaded up on skill players, so there will be no shortage of talent on the offensive side of the ball, that is, if Atlanta shows up.

The Lions have to stop the run because that will allow Atlanta to control the clock, and they haven’t shown the ability to do that. Detroit rode the wave of their unbeaten record but let’s be honest: they still have a long way to go. Atlanta has a little more experience and they know they haven’t played their best this season. Look for an inspired performance from the Falcons as they cover the online betting spread on the road.

Falcons Lions Betting Pick: Atlanta Falcons


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