Atlanta Falcons vs. Detroit Lions Odds, Analysis, NFL Betting Pick ColumnistSeptember 22, 2017

Detroit Lions quarterback Matt Stafford (9) rushes during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Giants Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Ford Field is becoming a real advantage for the Detroit Lions; they're 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread over their last eight home games. But the Lions might need all the advantages they can get when they host the Atlanta Falcons in a possible playoff preview Sunday afternoon. 

NFL point spread: The Falcons opened as three-point favorites; the total was 49.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 23.8-16.6 Lions (NFL picks on every game)

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Why the Falcons can cover the spread

The defending NFC champs are off to a 2-0 start this season, following their 34-23 dismantling of Green Bay last week. Atlanta drove 86 yards to a touchdown on its first possession of the game and used a 24-0 run to take control and easily cover a three-point spread.

The Falcons led 34-10 into the fourth quarter before allowing the Packers to score twice, creating a rather misleading final score.

Atlanta outgained Green Bay 367-364, with much of the Packers' yardage came in garbage time. The Falcons outrushed Green Bay 141-59 and won the turnover battle 2-0, returning one of those takeaways for a defensive touchdown that really put the game out of reach early in the third quarter.

Atlanta is already 2-0 against the NFC North, including their Week 1 victory over the Bears in Chicago.


Why the Lions can cover the spread

The Lions are also off to a 2-0 start, and they're 2-0 ATS after beating the Giants in New Jersey Monday night 24-10. Detroit, as a three-point underdog, took an early 7-0 lead and pushed that to 17-7. The Lions allowed New York to get within 17-10 but iced the victory on Jamal Agnew's 88-yard punt return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Detroit outrushed the Giants 138-62 and held a 33-27 edge in time of possession. Quarterback Matt Stafford only threw for 122 yards but with two touchdowns, running back Ameer Abdullah gained 86 yards on 17 carries, and kicker Matt Prater boomed a 56-yard field goal that gave the Lions a boost going into halftime.

The Detroit defense recorded five sacks, forced two turnovers and made a key stop deep in its red zone in the third quarter, holding the Giants to a field goal.

The Lions opened this season with a 35-23 come-from-behind victory over Arizona, winning that one outright and as three-point home dogs.


Smart pick

Atlanta doesn't seem to be suffering from any Super Bowl hangover, but the Detroit defense is playing good ball. Arizona scored 23 points on the Lions in Week 1, but the first seven came on a pick-six and the last six came after the outcome had been decided. The Falcons have the flash from their passing game, but the smart money here likes the Lions.


NFL betting trends

The Falcons are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in their last four games against the Lions.

The Falcons are 6-15 SU in their last 21 games on the road against the Lions.

The Lions are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in the early afternoon.


All NFL odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.