Atlanta Falcons (1-0, 1-0 ATS) @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-0, 1-0 ATS)
*ATS= against the spread
BETDAQ Line: Cincinnati -5.5 (48.5)
Atlanta: OT Jake Matthews (out– ankle)
Cincinnati: LB Vontaze Burfict (questionable– concussion), LB Sean Porter (doubtful– hamstring), WR Marvin Jones (out– foot)
Atlanta is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall
Cincinnati is 9-1 ATS in their last 10 home games
Cincinnati is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning record
The OVER is 4-0 in Atlanta’s last 4 September games
The UNDER is 4-1 in Atlanta’s last 5 games vs. a team with a winning record
The OVER is 5-1 in Cincinnati’s last 6 home games
Three reasons to back Atlanta
1. The Falcons have one of the NFL’s best offenses, a unit that amassed 568 total yards last week against New Orleans. The Bengals, meanwhile, surrendered 345 passing yards to Baltimore in Week 1.
2. Atlanta has the better quarterback in this matchup, as Matt Ryan is one of the league’s best while Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton is generally regarded as a weak link. If the game turns into a shootout, the Falcons have a clear advantage.
3. Injuries ruined Atlanta’s 2013 season, which has resulted in them being undervalued presently. The now-healthy Falcons have no business being 5-point underdogs against anybody, much less a team quarterbacked by Andy Dalton.
Three reasons to back Cincinnati
1. Cincinnati is one of the AFC’s best teams and they looked like it last week, pulling out a tough road win over a good Baltimore team. They’re simply much better than the Falcons, who won just 4 games last season.
2. The Bengals are a great home team, covering in 9 of their last 10 home games. Their offense, in particular, improves at home: in their last 5 regular season home games, the Bengals have scored 34, 42, 42, 41, and 49 points.
3. The Bengals have an excellent defense– they ranked 3rd in total defense last season and they held Baltimore to 16 points last week– and the strength of their defense is the front seven, where All Pro performers like Geno Atkins and Vontaze Burfict lurk. They should feast on the patchwork Atlanta offensive line, which is down to its 3rd-string left tackle now that Jake Matthews has been ruled out with an kale injury.
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