Atlanta Falcons betting odds, Week 1 NFL spread and Matt Ryan MVP chances
It's easy to overlook considering the Atlanta Falcons started last season with a 1-7 record, which nearly got Coach Dan Quinn fired, but the Dirty Birds enter 2020 tied for the fourth-longest regular-season winning streak in the NFL at four in a row. The Falcons look to keep the momentum going Sunday as 2-point home underdogs vs. the Seattle Seahawks. Atlanta is 10-4 against the spread in its past 14 as a home dog.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan is now the only former Top-10 NFL Draft pick starting at quarterback in the NFC South after the Panthers released Cam Newton to sign Teddy Bridgewater, and the Bucs said goodbye to Jameis Winston in favor of Tom Brady -- who, like Ryan, has won an MVP Award. Brady is one of three former NFL MVPs the Falcons will face this season, along with Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers and Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes.
Atlanta will play two nationally televised prime-time games in the 2020 NFL schedule; every other Atlanta game but one starts at 1 p.m. ET. The team only has back-to-back road games once, and it's the final two games of the year. In fact, no team may have a tougher final three games than the Dirty Birds as they face Brady twice and Mahomes in the middle of those two vs. Brady's Bucs. If there's a soft spot, it's Weeks 7-10 with three games vs. teams with losing records from last year and the perfectly-placed bye. Travel-wise, the Falcons are in good shape with only one trip to the West Coast.
Ryan is 109-80 straight up as a starter in the NFL (missed one game last year and two in 2009) and the Falcons have covered the spread in 52.1 percent of his starts, going 97-89-3 ATS. As a home underdog, Ryan is an excellent 11-6 ATS -- the Falcons were home dogs three times in 2019 and were 1-2 ATS. On the Over-Under, Atlanta is 85-100-4 with Ryan and the average total has been 47.5.
By one metric, the Falcons have the toughest schedule in the NFL this year: Combined opponents' Over-Under win totals from William Hill sportsbook. The NFC South has a projected combined winning percentage of .547 that's No. 1 in the league, and the Falcons also play the toughest division in the AFC, the West (.531).
Bettors may want to wager on the Under in Week 4 when Atlanta visits Green Bay as the Under has hit in 11 straight Falcons games the week before hosting Carolina -- which they do Week 5. Also consider backing the Chiefs in Week 16 as the Falcons are 1-8 ATS in their past nine after hosting the Bucs.
ATLANTA FALCONS BETTING PROFILE
2019 record: 7-9 (second, NFC South)
2019 against the spread: 8-8
2019 ATS margin: +1.1
2019 Over-Under: 7-9
2020 strength of schedule: Tied as fifth-toughest; Falcons' opponents combined for a .525 winning percentage last year (134-121-1).
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WILLIAM HILL 2020 ATLANTA FALCONS FUTURES ODDS
Win total: 7.5 (both -110)
To make playoffs: No -300, yes +240
Division: +6000 to win NFC South
Conference: +2000 to win NFC
Super Bowl 55: +6000 to win first Super Bowl in franchise history
NFL MVP: QB Matt Ryan +3300, WR Julio Jones +20000
Defensive Player of the Year: S Deion Jones +6600
Defensive Rookie of the Year: CB AJ Terrell +5000
Coach of the Year: Dan Quinn +2800
SportsLine Model's projection: 6.7 wins (Pick is Under)
ATLANTA FALCONS GAME-BY-GAME BETTING TRENDS
Week 1 vs. Seattle, 1 PM ET: The Falcons are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 home openers. They covered their third straight vs. Seattle last year in a 27-20 home loss as 7.5-point dogs.
Week 2 at Dallas, 1 PM ET: The Falcons' three-game ATS & SU win streak in this series ended in the last meeting (2018).
Week 3 vs. Chicago, 1 PM ET: Consider the Under as it has hit in nine of the past 10 meetings.
Week 4 at Green Bay, 8:15 PM ET (Monday): The total has gone Over in five straight meetings.
Week 5 vs. Carolina, 1 PM ET: The Falcons are on a five-game ATS & SU winning streak at home in the series after last year's 40-20 win.
Week 6 at Minnesota, 1 PM ET: The Falcons are 0-4 SU & ATS in the past four meetings following a 28-12 road loss in Week 1 last year.
Week 7 vs. Detroit, 1 PM ET: This is the first meeting since 2017 but the Falcons own a five-game ATS win streak vs. the Lions.
Week 8 at Carolina, 8:20 PM ET (Thursday): The Under is 19-6 in 25 all-time meetings in Charlotte.
Week 9 vs. Denver, 1 PM ET: This is the Broncos' first visit since 2012. The Under is 3-0 in the past three meetings.
Week 10: BYE. Almost right in the middle -- perfect.
Week 11 at New Orleans, 1 PM ET: One of 2019's biggest upsets was the Falcons (+14) winning 26-9 at New Orleans last year.
Week 12 vs. Las Vegas, 1 PM ET: Atlanta is 6-4 SU but 4-6 ATS in its past 10 home games vs. AFC West foes.
Week 13 vs. New Orleans, 1 PM ET: Atlanta lost to the visiting Saints 26-18 in 2019 and is 1-4 ATS in the past five home meetings.
Week 14 at LA Chargers, 4:25 PM ET: Atlanta is 7-0 SU and ATS in its last seven games at AFC West foes.
Week 15 vs. Tampa Bay, 1 PM ET: The Falcons haven't been home underdogs vs. the Bucs since November 2007 but may well be this year vs. Tom Brady.
Week 16 at Kansas City, 1 PM ET: This is Atlanta's first-ever matchup against Patrick Mahomes; the Over is 5-0 in the past five meetings.
Week 17 at Tampa Bay, 1 PM ET: Atlanta won its fourth in a row in Tampa (2-2 ATS) last year as a 1-point dog.
Some trends contributed by SDQL Gurus
EXPERT PICK FROM FORMER VEGAS BOOKMAKER MICAH ROBERTS: Under 7.5 wins (+100)
The Falcons closed out 2019 strong with four straight wins, which saved Quinn's job, and it's possible they carry the momentum into 2020 with game-breaker Todd Gurley joining the offense, but getting eight or more wins seems a bit far fetched in a top-heavy division. It looks like another 7-9 season with a very ordinary defense. Under 7.5 wins is the play.
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