Few online football betting fans would have expected the Carolina Panthers to have a losing record and the Atlanta Falcons to have a winning one four weeks into the regular season, but that’s the way it is as the two collide at the Georgia Dome on Sunday, October 2nd. Then again, few people would place online football bets against the Panthers, even if it’s just out of habit.
Panthers -3 (-120) 50 (-110)
Falcons +3 (EV) 50 (-110)
The Panthers saw a 14-home game winning streak come to an end at the hands of Sam Bradford and the Minnesota Vikings. Carolina had been averaging 42 points per game at the Bank of America Stadium but could only collect 10 against the Vikings, who intercepted Cam Newton three times and sacked him eight times – the second-most ever against the Panthers QB. In addition to that, Minnesota kept receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess from ever catching the ball. The final score was 25-10. The Panthers are 1-2.
The Falcons improved their own record to 2-1 with a 45-32 win over the New Orleans Saints. Running back Tevin Coleman ran 42 yards on 12 carries for three TDs, QB Matt Ryan threw 20 of 30 for 240 passing yards with two touchdowns, and LB Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for another score. RB Devonta Freeman did not score but drove the Saints’ defense crazy with 152 rushing yards and 55 receiving yards. Atlanta had no turnovers and currently leads the NFC South Division.
As mentioned above, not too many online football betting fans would wager money on the Panthers losing. After, it’s only been three weeks since the start of the regular season. Let’s ask the Professor, shall we? Professor, would you say it’s time to admit that the Panthers are suffering from a case of the Super Bowl Hangover? The Professor says, yes, he would. Surely, these aren’t last season’s Panthers, but even if they were, the Falcons have already proven that they can beat those Panthers – in fact, they were the only team that defeated those Panthers during the 2015 regular season. Speaking of whom, Atlanta has had a pleasantly surprising start – not as good as last season’s 5-0 start but much better than their 2015 finish would have anticipated.
These two teams are as good as their QBs – aren’t they all, though? – and Matt Ryan has played better than Cam Newton so far. Matty Ice has connected 73 of 103 attempted passes for a 70.9 completion percentage for 970 yards with 7 TDs and one interception. Meanwhile, Newton has completed 63 passes of 108 attempts (58.3%) for 809 yards with 5 TDs and five interceptions. This doesn’t mean that Ryan is better than Newton, per se – a sentiment that many online football betting fans might find far-fetched. However, it does mean that the Panthers are not doing as good a job at protecting their QB as the Falcons are doing protecting theirs. Illegal or not, the four helmet-to-helmet hits Newton sustained in the season opener against the Broncos speak for themselves, as do the 12 season sacks on the Carolina QB – that’s twice as many times as Ryan has been sacked.