The Atlanta Falcons hope a trip to Charlotte cures what ails them when they face the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. The Falcons (1-6) come off another game in which they lost after leading in the fourth quarter, with the Lions driving 75 yards for the winning touchdown in the final 64 seconds. They have won two in a row and four of the past six matchups at Bank of America Stadium against the Panthers (3-4) and are looking to avenge a 23-16 loss in Atlanta in Week 5.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. William Hill lists Carolina as a two-point favorite in its latest Falcons vs. Panthers odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 51.5 after falling as low as 49. Before making any Panthers vs. Falcons picks, check out what SportsLine’s resident Falcons expert, R.J White has to say.

CBS Sports’ NFL editor, White enters Week 8 as SportsLine’s hottest expert. He’s on a sizzling 17-7 run against the spread that’s returned his followers nearly $1,000. And it’s no surprise, as White twice has cashed huge in the world’s most prestigious football handicapping competition, the Las Vegas SuperContest.

In addition, White has a particularly keen eye for the Falcons. In fact, he is 32-18 all-time on picks for or against the Falcons, including last week when he was all over the visiting Lions getting 2.5 points in Atlanta. The result: Detroit won outright. Anyone who has followed his NFL picks is way up. 

Now, White has looked at Falcons vs. Panthers from every possible angle. You can head to SportsLine to see his picks. Here are the NFL odds from William Hill and trends for Panthers vs. Falcons:

  • Falcons vs. Panthers spread: Carolina -2
  • Falcons vs. Panthers over-under: 51.5
  • Falcons vs. Panthers money line: Atlanta +120, Carolina -140
  • ATL: WR Julio Jones has 16 receptions for 234 yards and two TDs over the past two weeks.
  • CAR: WRs Robby Anderson and DJ Moore have a TD reception of at least 74 yards this season.

Why the Panthers can cover

Carolina is 6-2 against the spread in its last eight games in Week 8, and Bridgewater should be able to exploit a defense that ranks second-to-last in passing yards allowed per game (333.4). The veteran ranks fifth in the league in passing yards (1,930) and has big-time targets in Robby Anderson (46 catches), DJ Moore (31) and Curtis Samuel (25). Moore averages 18.3 yards per catch and scored twice in Sunday’s loss, one of those on a 74-yard catch and run. 

The Panthers are 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games in October, and the defense is allowing just 23.5 points per game (13th in the league). Linebacker Shaq Thompson and end Brian Burns are the standouts of a unit that has forced 10 turnovers.

Thompson has a team-high 60 tackles (four for a loss) while Burns has three sacks and three forced fumbles. Rookie safety Jeremy Chinn has been making an impact, with four passes defended and an interception.

Why the Falcons can cover

Atlanta is 5-1 against the spread in its past six against teams with a losing record, and the Falcons are averaging more than 400 yards per game. Quarterback Matt Ryan has weapons all over the field, with receivers Calvin Ridley, Julio Jones and Russell Gage combining for 102 catches and nine touchdowns. Ridley has scored six of those and is third in the NFL with 615 yards on 40 catches. Ryan leads the league with 2,181 passing yards and has 12 TD passes. 

Ryan also hasn’t been turning the ball over, throwing just three interceptions, and he has valuable outlets in tight end Hayden Hurst (25 catches, three TDs) and running back Todd Gurley (13 catches). Gurley also ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing with 485 yards for the Falcons, who are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven road games. Linebackers Foyesade Oluokun (three forced fumbles, interception) and Deion Jones (1.5 sacks, interception) are disruptive forces on defense.

How to make Falcons vs. Panthers picks

White has analyzed this matchup from all sides and he is leaning under on the total. He’s also has discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He’s only sharing it here. 

So who wins Panthers vs. Falcons on Thursday Night Football? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine right now to find out which side of the Falcons vs. Panthers spread you should be all over, all from the expert who’s 32-18 on Atlanta picks, and find out. 


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