Updated October 5, 2020 - 2:13 pm
The Falcons have blown double-digit fourth-quarter leads in back-to-back weeks and now must travel to Lambeau Field to face Aaron Rodgers and a Packers team that leads the NFL in scoring (40.7 points per game) and is 3-0 ATS.
The Patriots lost quarterback Cam Newton to a positive coronavirus test Saturday and will start journeyman backup QB Brian Hoyer against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
Naturally, the betting public is backing the favorites (Green Bay, Kansas City) and the overs in the “Monday Night Football” doubleheader. Sharp bettors are on the underdogs (Atlanta, New England) and the unders.
There was sharp action at Circa Sports on the Falcons +7 before the consensus line dropped to Packers -6, and there was sharp money on the Patriots +11½ before the number dropped to Chiefs -10½ on Monday morning. The consensus line has since inched back up to 11.
Likewise, there was sharp money on Green Bay-Atlanta under 57 before the consensus total dipped to 56½ and sharp action on K.C.-New England under 50 before the consensus total dropped to 49 and to as low as 48½ at BetMGM.
The Patriots rushed for 250 yards in last week’s win over the Raiders. Smart bettors expect coach Bill Belichick to rely even more on the running game and try to control the clock to keep Patrick Mahomes and the explosive Chiefs off the field as much as possible.
“In Belichick we trust,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said. “They figure he can game-plan them. He’s the master of shortening games, that’s for sure.”
Bogdanovich said the sharp move on the Falcons and under took place Monday morning after the news that Green Bay’s top two receivers (Davante Adams and Allen Lazard) won’t play and Atlanta’s top two wideouts (Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley) will play.
“One team got all good news and the other side got bad news,” he said. “Obviously, with Adams out, the Packers will probably have to run a little more and dink and dunk.”
The totals shape up as a classic Pros vs. Joes showdown at BetMGM books, where 82.7 percent of the tickets (Joes) is on the Patriots-Chiefs over and 87.6 percent of the money (Pros) is on the under. It’s the same scenario on the Falcons-Packers total as 82.4 percent of the tickets is on the over and 68 percent of the money is on the under.
The Chiefs were 7-point favorites over the Patriots before the line was taken off the board Saturday after the news on Newton. They were reposted as 11-point favorites Sunday.
New England flew to Kansas City on two separate planes Monday, with one dedicated to people who have been in close contact with Newton.
“It’s not optimal to fly the day of the game and march over to the stadium, but they fly in private planes and I’m sure they’ve faced worst adversity,” Bogdanovich said. “The bigger problem is Hoyer hasn’t taken a snap all year.”
The books need the Falcons and Patriots.
“It would be phenomenal if the Patriots could cover teasers,” Bogdanovich said. “But I wouldn’t hold my breath.”
The last time the Patriots were this big of an underdog was in Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams. New England stunned the “Greatest Show on Turf” in a 20-17 upset win for the first of its six Super Bowl titles.