Originally written September 17, 2012 on Just Cover Blog:
Atlanta_falcons_matt_60c6
Monday Night Football!! I am loving this game between Atlanta and Denver. Two excellent QBs with excellent weapons. One trying to regain the title of best in the game after missing a year with injury and swapping teams. While the other is just trying to get into any conversation over the best in the game. He has the wins and stats, but no postseason success. But take heart Matty Ice, those same concerns dogged your counterpart tonight for much of the first half of his professional career too. Chris Mackinder previewed the game for us earlier today. Let’s take a look at the prop board, per sportsbook.com: Peyton Manning Over/Under 25.5 completions, 274.5 passing yards, 1.5 touchdowns.….As great as Manning was in his return against the Steelers last week, he would have gone under both the completions and passing yards props on tonight’s board. Of course, dont forget, the Steelers played a grand game of keep away with a long drive to end the first half, a long drive to begin the second half and when the Broncos finally got the ball back, they scored in two plays. Those numbers in his Denver debut are more than skewed based on how the game played out. As for the TD prop, he sure does look like a good bet to get at least 2 TDs, but be warned. The juice on that is -240. Willis McGahee Over/Under 66.5 rushing yards…..With 64 yards on 16 carries, McGahee fell just shy of this total a week ago. He had seven 100-yard games in the regular season for Denver a year ago and more than 66.5 yards in 10 of 18 games when including the playoffs. He only went over this total once in 2010, his final year with the Ravens. Eric Decker Over/Under 5 catches, 66.5 receiving yards…..From all the crappy QBs he was paired with as a collegiate at Minnesota to the Tebow situation with the Broncos in 2011, Eric Decker has walked into a dream. A legit QB throwing to him. And thats an understatement with the upgrade to Peyton Manning. The Tebow experiment in Denver really didnt play to his strengths as they often lined him up in the slot.  Given that he’s moving back outside and he’s the type of exact route runner that Manning loves, he could have a big year. Big if: Staying healthy. He had 5 catches for 54 yards in the opener. He’s in his third season, but he’s only had two career games of more than  5 catches and just three of more than 66.5 receiving yards. But now has Manning instead of Orton and Tebow tossing the pigskin to him. Adjust your expectations accordingly. Matt Ryan Over/Under 23.5 completions, 293.5 passing yards, 1.5 TD passes……only six times a year ago did Matty Ice go over these numbers. In Week One of this year, he went over on yards, but with 23 completions was just shy of the number needed tonight. These numbers seem high. Last week was only the 13th time in his career that’s passed for more than 293.5 yards. Like Manning’s TD prop above, taking the Over 1.5 TD passes will cost you the steep price of -240. Michael Turner Over/Under 62.5 rushing yards…..With just 32 yards on 11 carries, Turner was the only Falcon who seemingly didnt rack up any stats in their opener week beatdown of Kansas City. Otherwise, he had gone for 63 or more rushing yards in 21 of the Falcons last 31 games. Will his numbers fade as the passing game improves and Julio Jones and company become more a focal point. This number seems low. Almost too low, and too good, to be true. Julio Jones Over/Under 90.5 receiving yards…..Last week’s 108-yard effort in the opener was the second-year man’s sixth 100-yard receiving game in 13 starts for Atlanta. They are also the only times he’s had more than 90 yards. He either goes over the century mark or travels less than 85 yards. He looks like a stud in the making the more I watch him. I feel he has a good chance at more than 90 yards in every game he plays this year. Roddy White Over/Under 5.5 catches, 80.5 receiving yards….White has developed into one of the more underrated WRs in the league. He, Jones and TE Gonzalez should combine with Ryan to give the Falcons something special this year. White has averaged at least 81 yards per game in 3 of 4 seasons with Ryan as his QB, but never more than 86.8 yards. An emerging Jones should keep White’s stats down, but, consistent as ever, he went for 87 yards in the opener on six catches. That was the 22nd time in his last 34 regular season games that he’s had six or more catches. Tony Gonzalez Over/Under 4.5 catches…..In 49 regular season games with Matt Ryan as his QB, Gonzalez has caught at least five balls and would have gone over this total 28 times. Thats pretty interesting. He has eight other games of exactly four catches. If you pull the trigger on this over, the percentages are clearly on your side. Thats probably why the Over has a -155 wager price tag. He snared five catches in the opener against KC a week ago.  
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