The season might be effectively over for the Carolina Panthers, but everyone is looking to prove themselves as a potential building block. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons need every win they can get, especially in-division, as they try and break a three-way tie for the NFC South crown. With stars like Bijan Robinson, Adam Thielen and more taking the field, let’s dig into some Falcons vs. Panthers player prop picks and odds for the (12/17/23) matchup.
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Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers Player Prop Picks
If there’s one thing the Panthers are good at, it’s pass defense, so the profoundly run-heavy Falcons will have no problem adapting to that strength and keeping the ball on the ground, while the Panthers may have to break tendency and turn to the air. Let’s see how these trends could affect some key players.
Bijan Robinson Over 62.5 Rushing Yards (-115)
Robinson, one of the most highly drafted and talented runners in the NFL, hasn’t been over this number in a pair of games, making this a phenomenal place to buy low on his rushing prop. The Falcons should be on the ground constantly in this game. Their Pass Rate Over Expected is the lowest in the entire league at -10.3%, so they run the ball even at times where almost anyone else would throw.
Of course, Tyler Allgeier can sometimes absorb some of these carries, but the balance has finally shifted soundly towards Robinson in recent weeks. The Falcons should also lead for the vast majority of this contest, so the script will favor the ground game as well.
The Falcons don’t just run the ball a lot because they want to- their ground offense grades better than the air attack by both EPA and DVOA, which is supported in incredibly clear terms by the eye test as well. Going up against a Panthers defense that is around league average against the pass, but ranks dead last in each of DVOA, EPA, and success rate against the run, the Falcons will have no reason to go away from their run-first tendencies, and they should find a ton of success while doing so.
Drake London Under 49.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
London had by far the best game of his season thus far on Sunday, as he picked up a career-high 172 yards, obliterating his previous best of 125. You know what that means- time to sell high after an incredibly fluky performance. The big day came amidst a sneaky shootout against the Bucs in which Desmond Ridder threw the ball 40 times. The last time he threw over 27 passes in a game was back on October 15th, leaving five games including three starts between then and the Tampa game in which he kept a relatively low volume.
Expect this game to be back to basics for the Falcons and their air volume. As we discussed above, this should be a ground-first approach for Atlanta, and for good reason. When relying on Desmond Ridder can be avoided, it always should be. Out of the 28 passers with at least 300 dropbacks, Ridder is the worst-rated in PFF’s entire system. London has gone over this number more often than not this year, but the matchup and implied game script just do not lend themselves to another nice outing for the USC product.
Adam Thielen Over 41.5 Receiving Yards (-115)
The Panthers might run the ball a bit more than they should, but once they’re trailing at home against a division rival, interim coach Chris Tabor could get aggressive pretty quickly. Conversely to what we discussed on the other side of things, the Atlanta defense ranks 12th in DVOA against the run, but a disgusting 30th against the pass.
They’re fifth in success rate against air plays, so clearly, they’re giving up some huge yardage when passes are completed to drag their overall metrics down so far. This means that any play could be a big one, which is exactly what you want to see for Thielen, who gets more opportunities than anyone else in the Carolina offense. Nearly a quarter of Young’s throws have gone his way, so when the Panthers do go to the air, there will be a good chance that Thielen gets the ball, and turns it into a big gainer.
Thielen is far from the elite option he was back in his prime on the Vikings. But he’s putting together a really nice year, especially when you consider his surroundings in terms of both coaching and on-field talent. He’s averaging 63.6 yards per game this season, his best figure since his phenomenal 2017 and ‘18 seasons in Minnesota. This number, far below that average, gives Thielen a great chance to hit the over in a game where the Panthers should put the ball in the air, and are facing a defense that could allow them some success by doing so.
Eddy Pineiro Under 1.5 Extra Points Made (-130)
The Panthers offense is absolutely horrible. Overall, the unit is 31st in DVOA, and dead last by that metric specifically in terms of air offense, while the rushing offense ranks a slightly-better 27th. Whether they continue to stubbornly run the ball against a good Falcons run defense, or put it in the air consistently, it’s hard to imagine them having much success either way; they’re just too bad at everything.
Pineiro hasn’t hit or even attempted multiple extra points since Oct. 15th. That’s a span of seven games where he’s never been called on more than once to convert a point after try. Carolina scored multiple touchdowns in just one of those contests. Pineiro booted an extra point following one of the two scores, and the Panthers successfully went for two after the other. Trends are of course often broken, but this doesn’t seem like the breakout spot the Carolina offense so desperately needs.