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Falcons’ Super Bowl 53 Hopes All But Gone After 1-4 Start

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan did not perform up to expectations in the 2018 NFL season-opener, posting a 57.4 passer rating. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)
  • The Falcons’ defence has been crippled by injuries to key personnel
  • The Bears are earning the respect of sportsbooks following their Week 4 defeat of the Bucs
  • Overcoming road woes is the key to the Panthers’ success

The Atlanta Falcons will be aiming to avoid their first four-game straight up losing streak since 2015 when they play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend as 3-point favorites.

Hampered by a rash of injuries to key defensive personnel, the Falcons teeter on the edge of free fall following last weekend’s crushing 41-17 loss in Pittsburgh as 3.5-point underdogs, which has dumped them into the basement in the NFC South standings, and sent their Super Bowl odds plummeting to a distant +6600.

Super Bowl 53 Odds: NFC South

Falcons Defense Devastated by Injuries

The Falcons led all NFC South squads as a +1800 bet just three weeks ago, following a 31-24 win over the Carolina Panthers. However, injuries have taken their toll on the squad, particularly on defence.

Atlanta has felt the absence of starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, who have both been lost to season-ending injuries, while Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones remains on the shelf indefinitely with a foot injury. Quarterback Matt Ryan remains among the league leaders with 1,601 passing yards, but has been sacked a worrisome 16 times through five appearances.

Matt Ryan remains among the league leaders with 1,601 passing yards, but has been sacked a worrisome 16 times through five appearances.

Complicating matters is the uncertain status of running back Devonta Freeman, who remains questionable for Sunday’s date with the Buccaneers as he nurses a foot injury that has limited him to just 14 carries and 68 rushing yards this season.

Super Bowl 53 Odds at Bovada

Team Odds to Win Super Bowl 53 at Bovada
Los Angeles Rams +295
Kansas City Chiefs +600
New England Patriots +650
New Orleans Saints +900
Minnesota Vikings +1200
Atlanta Falcons +6600

With their defensive line compromised, the Falcons have surrendered a whopping 40.33 points per game over their three losses, which leaves them trailing the first-place New Orleans Saints by three games in the division standings.

But while the Falcons and their rapidly sinking Super Bowl odds provide little value for sports bettors searching for gems among underachieving NFC squads, a trio of teams could prove worthy of consideration.

Vikings Maintain Value Following Uneven Start

Winners of 13 games to claim their second NFC North divisional title in three years, the Minnesota Vikings opened the current campaign amid high expectations, but quickly saw their Super Bowl odds tumble to +2000 during a shaky 1-2-1 start, capped by a 38-31 loss to the undefeated Los Angeles Rams.

The Vikings returned to form last weekend while largely dominating the fading Philadelphia Eagles in a 23-21 win at Lincoln Financial Field, and provide excellent value as a +1200 bet on the Super Bowl futures; odds that will shorten further should they dominate as expected in Sunday’s home date with the toothless Arizona Cardinals as 10-point chalk.

Smothering Defence Returns Bears to Contention

A 3-1 start, fueled by a lopsided 48-10 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4 has returned the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl conversation for the first time in eight years. A smothering defence that has surrendered a meagre 16.25 points per game has helped lift the Bears to the top of the NFC North standings, while vaulting them to +2000 on the Super Bowl odds, well ahead of the +7000 odds they sported on September 1.

Chicago displayed impressive offensive chops in their recent win over the Buccaneers. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky enjoyed the best outing of his brief NFL career, tossing for six touchdowns, and gaining attention on the NFL MVP odds, where he has climbed to a respectable +3300.

The Bears can further help their own cause with a win when they visit the slumping Miami Dolphins on Sunday. However, it won’t be until after their Week 7 date with the New England Patriots that we will know whether or not the Bears can be considered legitimate contenders.

Panthers Stalled at the Sportsbooks Despite Strong Start

Lost in the noise surrounding the Falcons’ collapse and the New Orleans Saints’ rise to the top of the NFC South are the Carolina Panthers, who enter the weekend sporting attractive +2500 odds to win their first Super Bowl title.

The Carolina Panthers enter the weekend sporting attractive +2500 odds to win their first Super Bowl title.

Pegged as a +2600 bet in Week 1, the Panthers have failed to gain traction at the sportsbooks while quietly opening the season on a 3-1 SU run. Winners of eight straight on home turf, Carolina has struggled on the road, losing outright in four straight.

However, the Panthers will have ample opportunity to right the ship when they visit the Washington Redskins on Sunday as attractive 1-point underdogs, followed by a road date with the slumping Philadelphia Eagles next week, and three late-season away games against beatable opponents in Detroit, Tampa Bay, and Cleveland.

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