Atlanta and Green Bay have split their last eight meetings, but the Falcons are 5-3 against the spread over that span, including a convincing win/cover over the Packers in last year's NFC Championship Game. The teams meet for a rematch Sunday night in the first real NFL game at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
NFL point spread: The Falcons opened as one-point favorites; the total was 54 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark (line updates and matchup report).
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 25.0-16.8 Falcons (NFL picks on every game).
Why the Packers can cover the spread
The Packers opened this season with a tough 17-9 victory over Seattle on Sunday. Green Bay trailed the Seahawks 3-0 at the half, but a forced fumble by defensive tackle Mike Daniels at the Seattle six-yard line early in the second half proved to be the play that turned the game. Slash-back Ty Montgomery promptly banged in for the score that gave the Packers the lead for good, and they hung on for the win and the cover at minus-3.
For the day, Green Bay outgained the Seahawks 370-225, held a 26-12 advantage in first downs and won time of possession by a lopsided 39-21 margin. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers scrambled for much of the day but still completed 28 of 42 passes for 311 yards and one beautiful touchdown to Jordy Nelson. He also got lucky when a Seattle pick-six was nullified by a penalty.
The Packers lost to the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game last season 44-21, but they were coming off a huge effort in Dallas the week before and were banged up, especially on defense.
Why the Falcons can cover the spread
The Falcons began defense of their NFC title with a tough 23-17 victory at Chicago, although they couldn't quite cover the spread at minus-6.5. That game was tied at 10-10 late into the third quarter when Atlanta took the lead for good on a short Matt Bryant field goal.
The Falcons then extended that advantage to two scores when QB Matt Ryan scrambled and connected with tight end Austin Hooper on an 88-yard catch-and-run early in the fourth. They later clinched the win with a defensive stop inside their red zone in the final half-minute.
On the day, Atlanta outgained the Bears 372-301. Ryan hit on 21 of 30 throws for 321 yards and that key touchdown, while Hooper ended up with 128 yards receiving on just two catches. The Falcons beat Green Bay twice last season, averaging 430 yards and 38 points per game.
The Packers are 6-2 ATS their last eight times out as underdogs, but the Falcons are better balanced, and they're quicker. The smart money here likes the home team at the short spread on the NFL lines.
NFL betting trends
The Packers are 1-3 ATS in their last four games against the Falcons.
The total has gone over in the Packers' last three games against the Falcons.
The Packers are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games against the NFC South division.
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.