Eagles vs. Falcons Pick, Odds, ATS Prediction

eagles falcons pick
PHOTO CREDIT: CRAIG DUDEK

Two teams led by first-year head coaches will do battle at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Sunday afternoon as the Atlanta Falcons play host to the Philadelphia Eagles. Atlanta’s Arthur Smith and Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni inherit four-win teams from last season, but each are hoping better health and solid drafts will have their new charges over .500 when the impending 17-game season shakes out.

With two new-look teams looking to get out to fast starts, let’s take a look at our Eagles vs. Falcons pick, the odds, and an ATS prediction for this Week 1 matchup.

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Eagles vs. Falcons Pick

Smith’s Falcons were surely better than their 4-12 record in 2020 might infer, as 8 of their 12 losses came by seven points or less. A 1-8 record in one-score games will doom any season and it did just that for Atlanta’s. The Falcons will now try to figure out what life looks like without Julio Jones, but they added tight end Kyle Pitts in this year’s NFL Draft, a guy many rate as the best non-quarterback to enter the league this season.

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Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts will look to build off some modest successes and find some consistency in his first full season as Eagles starting quarterback.

In 15 games during his rookie campaign last fall, Hurts completed just 52% of his passes, amassing 1,061 yards and six touchdowns to go with four interceptions. As such, the Eagles owned the fifth-worst passing offense in the NFL in 2020, producing just 207.9 yards per game through the air.

Eagles vs. Falcons Odds

Here is a look at the Eagles vs. Falcons Week 1 odds, courtesy of Barstool Sportsbook:

TeamSpreadMoneylineOdds
Eagles+3.5 (-115)+160O 49 (-110)
Falcons-3.5 (-105)-190U 49 (-110)

This matchup opened with the Falcons as 3.5-point home favorites, a number that has held pretty steady ever since and seems fairly well-lined. The total opened as low as 46.5 and has been bet up to as high as 49 in spots.

Game Preview

Despite Hurts passing inefficiency, his legs (354 yards, 5.6 ypc) helped Philly’s ground game to the league’s second-best rushing yards per carry average in 2020 (5.0), tied with Tennessee and behind only Baltimore. That’s elite company given those two teams also led the league in rushing yards per game, while the Eagles were just 10th best and failed to have any back crest 900 yards. Walking into that kind of success, expect Sirianni to make running the ball more of a focal point this season, increasing the 25.2 rushes per game the team averaged last year, which was just 22nd most in the NFL.

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From a game-planning standpoint, one would have to believe neither Sirianni nor Smith wants his first game as an NFL head coach remembered for losing by being too cute. Yes, both were offensive coordinators prior to their new hires, but in a winnable first game, it’s hard to imagine them welcoming undue judgment from their fan bases by taking unnecessary play calling risks.

Philadelphia found success on the ground last season and has a healthier offensive line to start 2021. Atlanta has one less major outside threat this year, meaning more attention for Calvin Ridley downfield. Smith, who used the run so well in Tennessee (albeit with a far superior lead back), should be able to find ways to rush the ball effectively enough to get Ryan into manageable third down situations, while also keeping the clock running for us.

ATS Trends

Taking a look at some trends, plenty support a play on the under in this one. Philadelphia has played 7 of its last 10 games under against NFC teams, as well as seven of its final 10 games of 2020 under the number.

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The Eagles played 8 of their last 10 opening games to 51 total points or less, including all six played outside the NFC East. Atlanta has seen three of its last four first games stay under the posted total, with those three also producing 40 or fewer total points. That also includes the 2018 season opener between these two, which produced just 30 total points. Further, the Falcons have had five of their last seven opening affairs stay under the number.

Like the aforementioned 2018 head-to-head meeting, when these two get together, it usually spells a lower-scoring result. The two have played five straight under the total against each other with 40 or fewer total points scored in three of the last four. The under has also cashed in five of the last six head-to-head meetings here in Atlanta.

Since 2005, NFL underdogs winning four games or fewer the prior season have played 19 of 24 games under in their first game of the season with a total set between 42 and 50.

Betting Trends
The under finished on a 7-3 run over the Eagles' last 10 games in '20.
The Eagles have played six straight season openers under the total against non-division teams.
The Eagles and Falcons have played five straight head-to-head under.
Since 2005, NFL underdogs winning four games or fewer the prior season have played 19 of 24 games under in their first game of the season with a total set between 42-50 points.

Eagles vs. Falcons Prediction

With a shorter preseason card and many new key faces in both the personnel and coaching ranks for both teams, expect a conservative start to this one that eventually ends under the total.

Our Pick: EAGLES/FALCONS UNDER 49 

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