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NFL Betting Picks — It’s run-first as Falcons and Bears meet in Week 11

Atlanta Falcons Football Nfl Betting

The Falcons Mariotta and the Bears Fields Couldn’t Hit Water if They Fell Out of a Boat

By Charles Jay

The ground game is front and center as the Atlanta Falcons host the Chicago Bears in Week 11 of the NFL season. You can almost turn out the lights on the playoff hopes of the Bears, although we can see something very interesting taking shape there. As for the Falcons, the state of the rather weak NFC South means that they may be in contention for a playoff spot until the end.

On Sunday, BetAnySports customers will see these teams oppose each other in a game that begins at 1 PM ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Here are the NFL betting lines on the game, which will be televised regionally by FOX:

Atlanta Falcons -3 (+100)
Chicago Bears +3 (-120)

Over 49 Points -110
Under 49 Points -110

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NFL Betting Picks — Let’s talk about the Falcons

Atlanta is one of the NFL’s best rushing teams, as they have averaged 160.4 yards per contest to rank fourth in the league. Despite 339 rushing yards over the last two games, however, they have gone a little limp on the scoreboard, tallying just 32 points against the Chargers and Panthers.

QB Marcus Mariota has thrown for just 1747 yards. At the same time, the Falcons have surrendered more passing yards than any other team. They are 31st overall in defense. They really do allow opponents to move the chains, as they give up a 46.6% success rate on third down.

Cordarelle Patterson, who had been considered one of the top all-purpose threats in the NFL, has not been all that productive since coming back from an injury, He’s run 18 times for 62 yards and caught two passes. And how tight end Kyle Pitts has only 25 catches is beyond our comprehension. And his 46.3% catch rate is very poor.

After covering their first six games, the Falcons have failed to cover their last four.

NFL Betting Picks — Let’s talk about the Bears

First-year head coach Matt Eberflus is doing the right thing on offense. He knows that he has a developing quarterback in Justin Fields, who is still learning how to read NFL defenses. So while he’s doing that, Eberflus is going to generate some yardage by turning him loose with his feet.

The results have been extraordinary, as Fields has run for 749 yards – 325 of them in the last two games – and may set the one-season record for most rushing yards for a QB. He’s just one of the triggers; Khalil Herbert has averaged six yards a carry. The Bears lead the NFL with 201.7 rushing yards per game. Consider that Philadelphia led the NFL last season with just 156.

There’s a flip side to this. After blowing a lead late in a 31-30 loss to Detroit (where Fields threw a pick-six), the Bears are now the first team in the history of the NFL to score at least 29 points in three consecutive games and lose all three. So you know the defense is getting torched. They have given up more rushing TD’s than any team in the NFL, and they’ve let the opposition convert 50% on third down.

NFL Betting Picks — Our conclusion

The fact that both of these teams have been efficient on the ground and have problems stopping anybody is pretty good for us here. We know the conventional wisdom when two run-first teams get together is to think “under,” but not when you can’t play defense. In other words, how’s that worked out for you on the last three Bears games?

Another thing about these quarterbacks is that while they are not high-efficiency guys, they don’t play pitty-pat when they throw the ball. Mariota leads the NFL in Intended Air Yards per throw (10.5) and Fields (9.1) is fourth. They have to at least attempt to stretch the defense out so they don’t put too many people in the box.

And these teams are both in the upper half of the league when it comes to taking red zone opportunities and converting them into touchdowns.

We actually believe this all adds up to an opportunity to play OVER in this game, especially as weather won’t be a factor at the indoor venue.

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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