Panthers vs. Falcons NFL Week 8 Best Bets: Two Offensively Challenged Teams

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Marcus Mariota #1 hands the ball off to Tyler Allgeier #25 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Cincinnati Bengals. Dylan Buell/Getty Images/AFP.

The Carolina Panthers haven’t won a road game yet this season. Will that change on Sunday at NFC South rival Atlanta? Which way to lean at the best sportsbooks?

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Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons 

Sunday, October 30, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium 

FOX has the telecast of this NFC South matchup, easily the worst division in football as every team has a losing record. These 2 under .500 are not a surprise, but Tampa Bay at 3-4 and tied for first with Atlanta is. These clubs will be tired of each other soon as they play again Thursday night in Week 10 in Charlotte.  

Last year, the teams split with each winning on the road. The one in Atlanta was 19-13 for the Panthers. Zane Gonzalez kicked 4 field goals and Chuba Hubbard (more on him below) scored on a 6-yard run with 6.5 minutes remaining.

Carolina rushed for 203 yards. Sam Darnold was the Cats’ starting QB then, before leaving with a concussion. Matt Ryan threw for just 146 yards with a TD and 2 picks for Atlanta. Of course, he’s now with Indianapolis but was just demoted this week.  

The road team has covered 4 straight NFL picks in the series.  

Panthers Will Stick With Walker 

The biggest point spread upset of the season was last Sunday in Charlotte when the Panthers were 13-point dogs and stunned Tom Brady and the struggling Buccaneers 21-3 to snap a 3-game skid. Can’t say I saw that coming. 

Former XFL star P.J. Walker outplayed Brady by completing 16 for 22 for 177 yards and 2 scores. Interim head coach Steve Wilks already has declared Walker will start again this week. "As of right now, I see no reason not to [start him],'' said Wilks, 1-1 as the coach since Matt Rhule was fired. "The energy was there.''

That was Carolina’s first game since trading Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey to San Francisco.

How Did the Rest Do in Week 7?

The carries were mostly split between D'Onta Foreman (15 carries, 118 yards) and Chuba Hubbard (nine carries, 63 yards, TD). Hubbard did tweak an ankle, so monitor that.

Rookie Raheem Blackshear took the first 2 carries of his NFL career, though he didn't generate positive yardage, finishing with minus-5 yards. D.J. Moore had a TD catch, and he might be the next Carolina player traded. 

Cornerback and former first-round pick Jaycee Horn didn’t play vs. Tampa and it’s not clear if he will here. Fellow defensive backs Donte Jackson and C.J. Henderson were in and out of the game. On Tuesday, the Cats signed cornerback Tae Hayes from their own practice squad and offensive tackle Larnel Coleman off the Dolphins' practice squad.  

Carolina is 0-5 ATS on the NFL odds in its past five after a win and 0-6 ATS in its past six on the road. 

Falcons Don’t Throw Much 

Atlanta might be the most predictable team in the NFL: run, run, short pass. The Falcons are 4th in the NFL in rushing at 156.9 YPG but 2nd-to-last in passing yards at 126.3 YPG.

In Sunday’s 35-17 loss in Cincinnati, Atlanta had only 13 first downs and 214 total yards. Marcus Mariota attempted 13 passes with 8 completions for 124 yards. He hasn’t topped 150 yards in 4 straight games and has topped 200 only twice all season.  

BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review) has a prop on which quarterback in the league is the next to get benched for non-injury reasons and Mariota is a +450 second favorite behind Detroit’s Jared Goff. I do think the Falcons will give rookie 3rd-round pick Desmond Ridder a shot at some point but not in the next few weeks barring injury.  

Players' Injuries

Defensively, Atlanta could be without 75% of its starting secondary. Former Pro Bowler Casey Hayward is for sure out. Falcons coach Arthur Smith said A.J. Terrell, who suffered a right hamstring injury against the Bengals, is “week to week.”

Safety Jaylinn Hawkins is out after a concussion vs. Cincinnati. One of the team’s depth players in the secondary, Dee Alford, is day-to-day after missing last week's practices and game because of a hamstring injury. 

Final Picks

The Falcons allow 306.6 pass yards per game on average, the most in the league, and they are terrible at rushing the passer with a league-low 3.7 sack percentage and just 11 sacks on the year. They can stop the run well, allowing 100.3 YPG. 

Atlanta is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 following a loss. I think the Falcons win, but I don’t love this spread number so let’s play the moneyline. 

NFL Pick: Falcons (-220) at BetOnline 

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Falcons (-220)
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NFL Pick: Under 42 points (-110) at BetOnline 

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Under 42 points (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.