Aug. 24, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins defense at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Atlanta has struggled against the spread in road openers over the past decade and Kansas City was nasty as an underdog a year ago. Should the Falcons be favored by 3 against the Chiefs?
The Atlanta Falcons head to Arrowhead Stadium to kick off their 2012 campaign but, while they are brimming with confidence, Falcons bettors are hesitant.
The last five times the Falcons opened the season on the road, they failed to cover the spread four of those times.
"And the fact they are facing a team that is 9-2 ATS in their past 11 games as underdog doesn't provide a lot of comfort for Atlanta backers either," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.
Atlanta is a 3-point road favorite, but the head-to-head trend in this series points to the home team.
"Since 1985, these teams have met six times and the home has won and covered the spread five times," said Jeff Grant of SBRForum.com.
The Falcons made the playoffs last season with a 10-6 record, going 7-7-2 ATS in the process. They entered the playoffs on a high note with a 3-1 record both straight up and ATS, but were embarrassed by the New York Giants in a 24-2 loss.
It was the second straight year that a strong regular season led to an early playoff exit as the Falcons went 13-3 SU and 11-5 ATS in 2010 only to be knocked out by Green Bay 48-21 in their first playoff game. Will 2012 be different?
Kansas City entered last season with high hopes after winning the AFC West in 2010, but the first game of the season at home against Buffalo was disastrous. Not only did the Chiefs lose the game 41-7, but they also lost defensive star Eric Berry to a season-ending injury and the following week the same to offensive star Jamaal Charles.
The Chiefs would go on to finish the year 7-9 SU and 9-7 ATS, but with both stars returning this season they will be looking for much better results this year.
So with both teams coming into the season with a chip on their shoulder, which team will have the upper hand this Sunday? On paper, the edge appears to go to the Atlanta Falcons.
Say what you will about this team's lack of success in the playoffs, but Atlanta is 43-21 straight up in the regular season under quarterback Matt Ryan over the last four years; and the defense should be better this year too with the addition of Asante Samuel.
Kansas City is also dealing with injuries to CB Brandon Flowers and LB Derrick Johnson and a one-game suspension to LB Tamba Hall. With a battered defense going against Atlanta's high-powered offense, the Chiefs might be in for another disappointing season opener.
PICK: Atlanta Falcons -3 (courtesy of Pick Shark)