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Espn Insider: Take Falcons -2.5


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Spread: Falcons minus-2.5

Public consensus pick: 51 percent picked Falcons

Public perception: This is probably the most debated line of the week, and I offer the public consensus number as proof. The Falcons are the No. 1 seed in the NFC but are favored at home by less than a field goal against the No. 5-seeded Seahawks. While the Broncos could put up an argument with 11 straight wins, the Seahawks were the hottest team heading into the NFL playoffs and were a 3-point road favorite at Washington last weekend (and they covered that spread, too).

Wiseguys' view: Even when the Falcons were undefeated, wiseguys weren't giving them too much respect because they weren't dominant like other recent teams that flirted with perfection (Colts, Patriots, Saints). You'll hear a lot about Matt Ryan's home record and the fact they were 7-1 this year with the only loss coming in a meaningless game in Week 17, but they were a mediocre 4-4 ATS at home with non-covers against the Panthers, Raiders and Cardinals.

Tuley's Take: While I was on the Seahawks' bandwagon earlier than most (backing them against the Packers, Patriots and the first meeting against the 49ers) when it was just me and a few grungy coffee drinkers, I feel they've reached the point of being overrated. In the same way, while I've been against the Falcons most of the year (including those ATS losses to the Panthers, Raiders, and Cards), I feel they're underrated and should be favored by more than a field goal at home, because they've at least shown the tendency to come through when it counts.

The pick: Falcons.


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