The Atlanta Falcons are determined to remain undefeated heading into their bye week in Week 7 and they are double-digit favorites in WEek 6 against a team that never covers coming off a bye week.
Atlanta hosts the Oakland Raiders this Sunday at the Georgia Dome, laying 10 points at most shops and most of the Week 6 betting trends point to the Falcons in this one.
And with the Raiders owning a 0-9 ATS in nine post-bye games and the Falcons owning a 7-1 ATS mark in eight seasons before their bye, the handicapping angle is an obvious one.
There isn't much to dislike about the Falcons through the first five games of the season. The offense, which is averaging 29.6 points per game, has been very sharp under quarterback Matt Ryan. The defense has also been solid allowing just 18.6 points per game, seemingly unfazed by the loss of start cornerback Brent Grimes at the start of the season.
Atlanta has shown the ability to win on both offense and defense and to protect the lead and come from behind. Atlanta is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS.
For all of the positive things you could say about Atlanta, the reverse has been the case for the Oakland Raiders. Oakland upset Pittsburgh in a bizarre 34-31 shootout win at home in Week 3, but has been outscored 94-33 in its three losses to San Diego, Miami, and Denver.
With a 1-3 SU and ATS record including two blowout losses on the road, there hasn't been much for the Raiders to hang their hats on this season.
Darrius Heyward-Bey's return from a scary shot to the head against Pittsburgh will provide the Raiders with a much-needed boost on offense. In theory, with Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore able to stretch the field with their speed, there could be some running lanes open for Darren McFadden.
The one weakness in Atlanta this season has been its rushing defense (ranked 27th in the NFL allowing 142.8 rushing yards per game), and an elite back like McFadden could exploit that. Furthermore, the Raiders have had the bye week to prepare for this game (and to stew over their ugly 37-6 loss to Denver) while Atlanta might feel safe taking the foot off the pedal against such a weak team.
We can't see Atlanta losing this game outright, but many feel that the Raiders can do enough to surprise a lot of people and cover the spread. We do not.
PICK: Falcons -10 (courtesy of PickShark.com)