I’m fairly confident no one is going to say this is going to be the best football game they’ve ever seen. These two teams will clash for the second time this season after meeting in Week 8. The game would go to overtime and see the Falcons edge the Panthers by a score of 37-34. If you’re thinking we’re getting another high-scoring affair, however, it should be noted that it’s going to be messy in Carolina tonight. Let’s take a look at some bets to make here for Thursday Night.
The worst of the weather, at least the rain, is supposed to occur in the first half of this game. With the Falcons looking to run the ball to begin with anyways, this feels like a great spot to grab the under to begin this game. Coming into this week, the Falcons are running the ball at the second-highest rate in the league at 60%. That trails only the Bears, of course, who are doing so 63% of the time. If we’re seeing a run heavy offense from both teams, which feels extremely likely, that isn’t going to translate to a high-scoring first half.
The Panthers have also been one of the lowest scoring teams in the first half. They’re averaging 7.3 points, which is the third-lowest mark in the league. Only the Commanders and the Colts have a lower average. With the combination of the bad weather, the Falcons slowing the game down and the Panthers quarterback play extremely questionable, it’s hard to not like the under here to start the game. I mean, is anyone even confident that PJ Walker ends this game under center? I’m certainly not. We’ll talk about later.
Byrd is a total hit or miss when it comes to catching the football. But, he’s been the Falcons guy when they need a deep shot. I mean, when you aDOT (average distance of target) is at 28, that certainly paints the picture. He logged the third most offensive snaps last week when the Falcons played the Chargers, so he’s getting on the field enough to try and generate some offense.
Byrd blew past this total in the prior meeting against the Panthers, seeing a season-high six targets, in which he made three catches for 67 yards. His big play came against corner CJ Henderson, as he went for 47 yards, 31 of which came after the catch. While his snaps and targets will be limited in this game, at such a ridiculously low total, it’s really hard to pass up.
It’s funny to think about taking the under on his total after going he absolutely smashed it in Week 8. Walker went for 317 yards on 19 completions when these teams last met. However, the situation is vastly different just a half a month later. We’ve talked about the weather already, that is the top factor. Despite the Falcons secondary being decimated by injury, the weather alone should limit the number of pass attempts we see from Walker. When he is throwing the ball, he isn’t overly accurate. In fact, in that last game, he only completed 52% of his pass attempts and that was in a controlled environment. Tonight will be vastly different.
I also am not convinced, as mentioned, that Walker finishes out this game. While Sam Darnold was activated off IR, he’s still not game ready. We saw the switch last week to Baker Mayfield and I wouldn’t be shocked if that happens once again. It’s very clear the Panthers aren’t going to stick with Walker moving forward and getting Mayfield in game action is not out of the question tonight.
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