Does Falcons Hype In NFL Betting Circles Mean Fade Atlanta Now?

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
atlanta falcons odds

After entering with considerable hype following a very successful tenure coordinating the Titans offense, Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith has failed to get the Falcons flying. He has compiled a middling 14-20 record that has even included some good fortune. Yet, Falcons betting thus far prior to the 2023 season has reflected nothing but optimism. The market seems to believe the turnaround starts here. Should bettors buy in to Falcons odds?

This early in the schedule, NFL win totals and Super Bowl odds will be the primary markets at hand. Click any of the odds below to place a wager at the best NFL betting sites.

Notable Falcons Offseason Moves

We’ll start with changes the Falcons roster has undergone heading to the 2023 season. Keep in mind that minor moves will still occur. Useful veterans will become available following releases from other teams, and key injuries will crop up both to the Falcons and their opponents. But, here’s where things stand as of late July.

  • Key additions: RB Bijan Robinson, G Matthew Bergeron, QB Taylor Heinicke, DE Calais Campbell, EDGE Zach Harrison, EDGE Bud Dupree, DT David Onyemata, LB Kaden Elliss, LB Lorenzo Carter, CB Clark Phillips III, CB Mike Hughes, CB Jeff Okudah, S Jessie Bates
  • Key losses: QB Marcus Mariota, G Elijah Wilkinson, LB Rashaan Evans, CB Casey Hayward

Offensive Outlook

If one just looks at the roster as a whole, the Falcons appear to be in solid shape on offense.

Sure, the pass catchers are thin with only Drake London and Kyle Pitts looking like possible impact players (debatable in the case of Pitts).

But if they stay healthy, they’ll team with a probable top-10 line and a dynamite pair of backs in Rookie of the Year odds favorite Bijan Robinson and the ageless Cordarrelle Patterson.

Of course, the rub is that quarterback play drives winning in the NFL. And possibly no team looks worse off at QB than the Falcons heading into 2023. Certainly, one would have to put the Falcons in the bottom five here. Desmond Ridder didn’t do much either way last year in a four-start cameo, but he also wasn’t considered a particularly talented prospect, being drafted in the third round. At the Falcons have a solid backup in Taylor Heinicke if Ridder bombs, but QB rates as a major concern here.

Defensive Outlook

Very few teams performed worse defensively than the Falcons last year. It was somewhat obscured by their tendency to play low-scoring, ground-oriented football (27th in situation-neutral pace). But despite having a pretty talented pair of corners, the Falcons were quite bad against both the run and the pass.

If fixing the defense was the main goal heading into the 2023 offseason, well, the Falcons certainly didn’t take half measures. They signed tons of solid veterans, highlighted by S Jessie Bates and pass rushers Bud Dupree and Calais Campbell.

The main concerns here would be how thin and old the pass rush looks. The backups inspire no confidence whatsoever, and while the starting group (Grady Jarrett, David Onyemata, Dupree and Campbell) looks good, they are all over 30 years old. Football is a rough game, especially at that age. This group looks very vulnerable to aging and injuries.

Overall, the Falcons look like they should have a roughly average defense, a major improvement from recent seasons.

Falcons Schedule And Odds For Every Game

Early betting markets from DraftKings Sportsbook can give us a look at what to expect for the Falcons’ game-to-game chances of victory. These numbers will obviously change massively. But, they’re still a useful tool.

WeekOpponentFalcons SpreadGame Notes
1Carolina-2.5
2Green Bay+1
3@ Detroit+5
4Jacksonville+4London
5Houston-3
6Washington-1
7@ Tampa Bay-1
8@ Tennessee+1
9Minnesota+1
10@ Arizona-1.5
12New Orleans+1Extra rest following bye
13@ New York Jets+6.5
14Tampa Bay-2.5
15@ Carolina+1
16Indianapolis-2.5
17@ Chicago+2
18@ New Orleans+2.5

Converting these spreads to moneylines, one comes up with approximately 8.1 projected market wins for the Falcons.

However, the win total market number of looks notably more optimistic since the over is the juiced side. That’s as high as -145, indicating almost 60% implied chance, albeit without removing vig.

The offseason commitment to improving the defense moved the needle a tad in Falcons Super Bowl odds. Now , the Falcons opened around +7500. The new number still represents long odds, obviously, but the Falcons are doing something right in the eyes of the influential bettors.

Falcons Key Advanced Stats, Ranks In 2022

StatFalcons Value (League Rank)
Offense DVOA+5.8% (13)
Defense DVOA+11.1% (30)
Special Teams DVOA+2.5% (5)
Rush Offense EPA/Play+0.004 (4)
Rush Defense EPA/Play-0.012 (25)
Pass Offense EPA/Play-0.001 (20)
Pass Defense EPA/Play+0.121 (29)
DVOA via Football Outsiders, EPA/play via RBSDM database

Possible Offseason Bets On Falcons Odds For 2023

I get the Atlanta Falcons optimism on a few levels. They improved their defense massively, where they also have a potential budding superstar in CB AJ Terrell. They received one of the easiest NFL schedules based on opponent win totals. They’ve built the offensive roster around the thing they do well, with a strong OL and a great stable of RBs.

The issue I keep circling back to is that NFL success is driven in very large part by the quarterback and the head coach. When I bet Chiefs +1000 in Super Bowl odds prior to last season, my reasoning was simply that even though the roster around Patrick Mahomes was young and lost some key pieces, the combination of Mahomes and Andy Reid puts the Chiefs about 10 steps ahead of every other franchise.

Looking at Atlanta, they have a major deficiency at quarterback, as noted above. Having maybe the worst starter in the league is a very large handicap to overcome. At head coach, they have Arthur Smith. I’m not sure we can say definitively whether Arthur Smith is a good or bad coach, but he’s 14-20 so far. At the very least, he hasn’t provided evidence that we should enter 2023 with the idea the Falcons have an edge over most opponents in the coaching department.

Building your team around running and defense while playing in a division that frequently features games in domes (including all Atlanta’s home games) and games in good weather also concerns me. Those situations seem more likely to boost Atlanta’s opponents than the Falcons themselves.

A More Attractive Under Price

Because of my skepticism of this passing offense, I am definitely lower than the market on the Falcons.

That’s particularly true now, with the calendar set to turn to July, as a high-profile sharp betting group released Atlanta’s win total over as a play earlier this summer. I was already looking toward Under 7.5 wins here, and now that the number has bumped up to reflect a likelihood of nine wins, I expect I’ll be heavy on Atlanta unders.

I like Under 8.5 at plus money, and I’ll have some kind of alternate under as well. An expected lack of production at QB creates a potentially low floor here. If Ridder plays at a bottom-five level, I would be surprised if Atlanta finds itself in any kind of contention even in a terrible division.

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