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Handicapping Chat Week 1: ATL (-7.0) at CHI

January 25, 2018 2:52 PM
September 8, 2017 11:01 AM

*This is the transcript of our Handicapping group wager chat for this particular game. Taking it as it is, so forgive any typos, etc. It’s just casual opinions shared. Also we may veer way off topic, but that’s half the fun of it.

— The team is back, The Impractical Gamblers, Season Two : Katz, Rabbitt, Skolman (defending champion), Savage and RC. Enjoy!… —


Katz: The Bears are rolling with Mike Glennon to take on the Falcons in their first game since blowing a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. The home dogs are getting 7. Is that too many?


Skolman:  I had Pats -3 so I have nothing but love for the Falcons gag job.  I’m prepared to break every rule of betting and lay points on the road…to the tune of best bet of the week…potentially.  I’m in pre-season form so I need about 30 more hours before unloading on this one…potentially.


Rabbitt: 7 seems like a whole bunch on the road.  I am nervous about Chicago not being very good. Much like the pats game I won’t touch it with real money


Katz: Fascinating. When I first saw this line, my immediate reaction was Bears with the points, possibly best bet for me going the other way. I have since wavered on my confidence a bit, but I just can’t see a scenario where I would lay a touchdown on the road. Even if this game was in Atlanta, I don’t think I’d feel confident in laying 13. I actually do think the Bears have a shot at winning this game outright. Not a large shot. But a shot. And that’s enough to push me towards taking the 7 in a home opener.


RC: It’s very difficult laying -7.0 on the road with any team, much less Atlanta.

Last year on the road they covered that vs. Brees Wk3, Winston Wk 9, Rams chaos Wk 14, Carolina quitting Wk 16. Three bad QBs and a weak Saints team.

6-2 on the road with the only quality win at Oakland Week 2 by 7.0. Lost to Philly and Seattle.

I think 2016’s results on the road are pushing this line.

The Bears went 3-5 at home, losing by more than 7.0 twice…once late season with Matt Barkley.

The Hoyer-led Bears are a possible Glennon preview…played teams tough and lost bigger to Dallas at Dallas.

I don’t think I’d bet on the Bears here, but I’ll definitely take them in the picking contest because if Atlanta 2016 was a blip/an outlier season…then they shouldn’t be 7.0 faves on the road in season opener like this. I’m more on the ‘2016 was an outlier for Atlanta’ vibe.


Rabbitt:  I know rc hates kyle Shanahan and personal wise he appears to be clueless however let’s keep in mind he has coaxed career years out of every qb he has ever coached.  Atlanta with a more average Matt Ryan shouldn’t scare anyone.


Savage: I think last year we saw the best version of Kyle Shanahan. After years of making the most of mediocre QB’s like Schaub and RGIII, he finally had a good QB and a slew of talented skill players to work with. I think this year we might see the worst version of Kyle Shanahan – the cocky, entitled brat that thinks he can turn water into wine. To me, the fact that he’d agree to coach under John Lynch is a sign that he’s overconfident in his coaching abilities and doesn’t put much stock in player evaluation.

That said, I think the Falcons are going to miss him. Sarkisian is a downgrade, and the Falcons offense was due to regress anyway. One of my two season win total bets was Atlanta under 9.5 wins. I’d love the Bears to pull the shocking upset with Trubisky. With Glennon, I think its a stayaway.


RC: I’m pro-Kyle the coach. He’s just bad at scouting Utah RBs named Joe Williams. The 49ers ended up doing a decent job with their cuts/keeps. John Lynch is exactly what you might want as GM…someone who does what you ask, like go trade for Joe Williams.

I believe in Kyle, so I see the Matt Ryan flop back to ‘C+’ status is coming. I think Dan Quinn is a good coach and has an emerging defense…so they still scare me against a Cam Meredith-less Bears. I have to take the +7.0 but I wouldn’t bet it unless Trubisky was QB-ing.


Skolman:   So I get that there are stats that you can cite for a Super Bowl hangover…except there are as many examples of teams losing the SB and going on to have great seasons the following year.  (Shhhh, it’s true).  I know Carolina’s loss to Denver last year was a springboard to a losing season…but they played a great game at Denver!  I can’t wait to watch this line…if it hits 6.5 I’m going to unsuccessfully petition FINRA, the SEC and the Department of Labor to let me bet my 401k on this game.  I think what we have here is a wonderfully interesting case study in human behavior.  The Falcons must be punished and railed against for making everyone feel like the SB bet was won and then blowing it.  I’m on board with a Ryan regression but is this the spot we want to plant our flag for several turnovers?

The arguments for the Falcons leading up to the Super Bowl were compelling, highest offensive yards per play in the history of the league, defense that has been improving throughout the year…and now poof, those have vanished.  The Falcons have to be missing Julio Jones…or one of their RBs…or a key offensive lineman or two.  No?  Not sure if you heard 7,000 times but Kyle Shanahan skipped town.  If the Bears defensive coordinator was calling plays for the the Falcons offense I would still take Atl -7.  In my mind I would trade whatever tick down on offense the coordinator causes for the more Dan Quinn defense another off-season gives us.

Yes, the Bears CAN win the game (Any team can win any game) but I would assign the same probability to the Bears winning as the Falcons covering 6.5 points in 3 of the 4 quarters.  The game script is ok for the Bears as long as they can stay close or ahead (we can agree the Bears are rebuilding and missing their best player in Meredith, right?)…but if the Bears get down 10-14 what do you think is going to happen?  No Meredith to catch 12 balls for this offense and maybe no Kyle Long – “no left tackle, no problem” is what I always say.  And the Bears defense has an entirely new secondary and injuries up front.  Are we really putting our hopes in the backup Bears?

Not a fan of laying points in general…and almost never on the road but as my wife reminded me when I tried to leave the house with pegged jeans recently, it’s not the mid 80’s…At Chicago in Sept is not really an issue these days.  If you were to lay points on the road (which you never should) take a team that can run the ball and play defense.  I’m excited for what can happen for Atl when the Bears have the ball.

So we win this one then go back to swearing off road dogs…that or I touch the hot stove again and it sets me straight for the rest of the year…happy either way!


RC: Wow, I don’t want to follow that up.

Whatever he said.


Skolman:   Haha, sorry, I don’t get out much.  This is the only outlet for the things that are bouncing around in my head.

Interesting line moves…Pats up to 9, Steelers 9…this one is hanging at 7 with (-120) on the Bears at my place.  Come on universe…give me that 6.5!


Savage: You may get your wish. I’m starting to see some 6.5’s.


Skolman:  Guess I need to put my money where my 4 paragraph rant is…


Savage: I want to revisit after going down a 2016 Falcons Rabbitt hole. Skolman came on very strong with the Falcons, so I went through their schedule to see what happened last year, specifically on the road. They averaged 32.5 ppg on the road last year, but consider that 2 of those games were against bottom 5 defenses – the Saints and Raiders. Another two games were late in the season against the free-falling Rams and Panthers. That leaves only 4 games against teams with plausible defenses whose seasons weren’t already in the toilet: @Denver, @Seattle, @Tampa, @Philly. Point totals in those games: 23, 24, 43, 15. Tampa was definitely the worst defense of the 4 listed. They struggled early in the season and then gelled as a unit in the 2nd half. I think the Bears will have a solid defense this year. Certainly not on the level of Seattle or Denver, but definitely better than the Bucs circa week 8 2016. I think they can be a poor man’s version of last years Eagles defense. My point is, I think its fair to expect only around 24-27 points from the Falcons on Sunday. How do we feel about Dan Quinn holding Jordan Howard and Mike Glennon under 20?

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>