The Atlanta Falcons must feel like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, after shredding through five guys single-handedly.
“Are you not entertained?”
Atlanta, just like Maximus, has done nothing but kick ass and take names en route to an 11-1 record (7-4-1 ATS).
The Falcons avenged their lone blemish against the New Orleans Saints Thursday night, embarrassing their greatest rival, Drew Brees, with five interceptions in the 23-13 win as 3.5-point home favorites. The win also has the team in position to clinch the NFC South title and a playoff spot if Tampa Bay losses to Denver Sunday.
Yet, after all its efforts, Atlanta is not considered among the top contenders, according to the Super Bowl XLVII futures. The Falcons are priced as high as +700 behind Houston (+450), New England (+450), San Francisco (+500), and Denver (+550).
“They got no respect before the season started and we kept moving them up, as high as 30-1,” Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage tells Covers. “They don’t dominate. The public sees a team like New England put up big scores every week and is drawn to that. The Falcons just keep chugging along, like the little engine that could. They’re a very blue-collar team.”
Atlanta is notorious for its playoff regression, which is likely scaring off plenty of futures action. The Falcons were blown out by the New York Giants, 24-2, in last year’s NFC Wildcard round and have failed to get past their first postseason game in their last three tries.
“The Falcons have just been passed over,” Jimmy Vaccaro, oddsmaker for William Hill sportsbooks in Nevada, tells Covers. “They seem to get to the playoffs then struggle mightily, and that’s what’s keeping people away.”
Next up for the Falcons is a road game against the Carolina Panthers, followed by a home game versus the Giants, a trip to Detroit and a home finale against Tampa Bay.
With the division crown and a postseason berth all but in hand, Atlanta will get a good chance to rest up before the playoffs begin in January. A Falcons’ Super Bowl victory wouldn’t hurt sportsbooks when it comes to the futures market, with most of the money tied up among the top four favorites.
“If the Falcons won the Super Bowl, we’d be happy,” says Stoneback, who is currently dealing Atlanta +600 at MGM properties.