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Week 12 Over / Under Bets: Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons

Arizona Cardinals(4-5-1) @ Atlanta Falcons(6-4)

  • Where: Georgia Dome. Atlanta, Georgia
  • When: November 27, 2016 1:00 pm EST
  • Spread: Cardinals +4 (-110) vs. Falcons -4 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Cardinals +189 vs. Falcons -227
  • Over / Under: Over 50.5 (-105) vs. Under 50.5 (-115)

It’s the battle of the birds this Sunday as the Arizona Cardinals take on the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

The Falcons are hungry to make the playoffs again after a few rebuilding seasons, and desperately trying to hang on to the tenuous lead they hold in their division.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, are three games back and wondering where last year’s success has disappeared to, as they already have two more losses this season through ten games than they had all of last season, not counting their Week 7 tie against the Seahawks.

Let’s take a look at these two teams individually and try to discover what value this matchup might hold for interested gamblers.

Arizona Cardinals Have No Passing Attack

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Carson Palmer is not the same player this season that he was last season. Palmer is now 36 years old, with only Drew Brees (37) and Tom Brady (39) surpassing him in seniority amongst this season’s regular starters.

As everyone knows, the quality of play simply begins to diminish at this age (particularly the ability to throw the ball down the field). Being sacked 30 times in a season (second most in the league behind Andrew Luck) certainly doesn’t help.

However, the age of Carson Palmer has been balanced by the youth of Arizona’s star running back David Johnson, now in his second season at age 24.

Not only is David Johnson currently ranked third in the league in total rushing yards, but he is also ranked second in the league in total yards after the catch. This combines together to give David Johnson the second most combined yards from scrimmage in the entire league (behind Ezekiel Elliot).

The fact that Johnson can have such an incredible individual season despite being on an offense that sits directly in the middle of the pack demonstrates his incredible talent as a dual rushing-receiving threat.

The ground game and the ability for Carson Palmer to effectively utilize short passes to David Johnson (as well as to Larry Fitzgerald) is one big reason why the Cards can still move the ball despite not having much of a downfield passing attack.

Atlanta Falcons Gunning for the NFC South

The Atlanta Falcons have not won their division since the 2012 season. In the three subsequent seasons, the team has won 4, 6, and 8 games, a trend that could potentially continue this season. For the 6–4 Falcons to win 10 games this season, they would only need to go 4–2 throughout the remainder of the season.

Luckily, with this game against the Cardinals as well as two more games against the Rams and 49ers still remaining, getting three more wins seems like a pretty safe bet for the top ranked offense in the league. However, the Falcons do play the last two games of the season against division opponents Carolina and New Orleans, having already played the Buccaneers twice.

If Atlanta is to continue its success and take the NFC South, it will be on the back of the star wide receiver Julio Jones, who leads the league in yardage by a margin of almost 150 yards despite not even being in the top five for targets or receptions.

Julio is the biggest reason Atlanta is ranked #1 in points and #3 in yards, as the one-two punch of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman only accounts for the fourteenth-ranked rushing attack in the league. With a week of rest for the whole team to recover, there’s good reason to believe that Matty Ice and Julio could go off this week in front of the home crowd at the Georgia dome.

Why I’m Taking the Over for Cards–Falcons

There’s a pretty simple explanation for why I see this game going over 50.5 total points on Sunday: The Atlanta Falcons lead the league in scoring, with 32 points per game, and at the same time rank 29th in total points allowed on defense, at 28.3 points per game.

Playing in a dome with no significant injuries to speak of on both sides (especially considering that the Falcons are coming off their bye week), there is no reason to believe that either of these statistics should change: I expect the Falcons to score points with Julio Jones and their prolific passing attack, and I expect the Cardinals to score points with David Johnson and the balanced offensive production he provides.

Both teams can score, neither team plays a whole lot of defense, and both teams need a win in order to stay relevant – a classic recipe for a high-powered shootout. I predict the Falcons pull ahead early and stay ahead, ending at a final score of 41 – 27 Falcons on top.

I recommend that gamblers take the over (50.5) at the Bovada sportsbook.

David HeinenThis article was written by David Heinen

David Heinen is a freelance psychology writer by day, inveterate NFL junkie by night. Born and raised on the Green Bay Packers, David is a die-hard Cheesehead, not to mention a cheese enthusiast in his spare time.

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