The Matt Ryan era did not lead to a championship for the Atlanta Falcons. However, it did lead to six playoff berths and a heartbreaking loss in the Super Bowl at the end of the 2016 season. Ryan won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 and MVP in 2016. He was the face of the franchise for almost 15 years. Anytime a franchise icon moves on, times are likely to get tough.
With Ryan traded to the Indianapolis Colts during the offseason, the Falcons are likely in for a rough season. They won just seven games last season, but even that seems like an unfair expectation for the upcoming season. With Marcus Mariota at the helm now, Atlanta might be looking forward to picking a new franchise quarterback with an early pick next spring.
There are some promising young players on the roster in Kyle Pitts, Drake London and A.J. Terrell. Falcons fans will have that to look forward to this upcoming season, because not a lot of winning is expected. Yahoo's Frank Schwab ranked the Falcons 31st in his preseason power rankings. The betting market agrees with Frank. The only thing Atlanta is expected to compete for this season is the worst record in the league.
Falcons projected to be one of the worst teams
Somehow, Atlanta won seven games last season. A closer look at the schedule shows that most of their wins came against the dreck of the league and that a 7-10 record probably flattered them. Between that and trading away their franchise quarterback during the offseason, it's likely going to be an even worse season for the Falcons in 2022.
The Falcons' projected win total for the upcoming season is 4.5. That's tied for the lowest win total in the league with the Houston Texans. The Falcons are +350 to finish the regular season with the fewest wins in the league. Only the Texans have better odds.
Atlanta is a +700 underdog to make the playoffs this coming season. Those odds suggest that Atlanta makes the playoffs just over 12% of the time. Only the Texans have worse odds to make the postseason.
The Falcons enter the season with 28-to-1 odds to win the NFC South. Those are the worst odds of any team to win its respective division, edging out the Texans who are 25-to-1 to win the AFC South and the New York Jets who are 22-to-1 to win the AFC East. Not even the lucrative odds can entice bettors to take a shot with Atlanta, as just 6% of the betting action is backing the Falcons to win the division.
The Falcons are -275 favorites to finish the season in the basement of the division. If you're looking for a way to fade the Falcons in division play, they are +500 to lose all six divisional games they play this season against the Buccaneers, Saints and Panthers.
Atlanta is 250-to-1 to win the Super Bowl, the second-worst odds in the league ahead of only the Texans. No team has had less money wagered on it in the Super Bowl futures market at BetMGM than the Falcons. Atlanta is 125-to-1 to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, the worst odds in the conference. No other team is lower than 80-to-1.
If you're looking for other ways to fade the Falcons, here are some potential intriguing options:
Atlanta is +225 to start the season 0-4. The Falcons first four games are at home against the Saints, on the road against the Rams, on the road against the Seahawks and at home for the Browns.
Atlanta is +650 to finish the season with the fewest points scored in the league. Those are the third-best odds behind the Texans and Chicago Bears. Atlanta scored the seventh-fewest points last season, but that was with Matt Ryan.
Will a team go 0-17? We haven't had a winless team since the Browns in 2017. With the Falcons projected to be one of the worst teams in the league, maybe they can accomplish the feat. You can bet on them to finish with an 0-17 record at +900 odds.
Falcons awards and player props
Even the Atlanta Falcons have plenty of season-long player props available at BetMGM, which highlights just how many options there are to bet on. Here are some of the options available.
After losing his starting job to Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee, Mariota has spent the past few seasons backing up Derek Carr while running some gadget plays once in a while. He's finally getting another chance to be an NFL starting quarterback with Atlanta this season. Mariota is 20-to-1 to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Those odds are tied for eighth-best odds with Michael Thomas and Allen Robinson.
Mariota is 66-to-1 to lead the league in passing yards this upcoming season. Those are the 25th-best odds, tied with Davis Mills and Zach Wilson. Mariota is 100-to-1 to lead the league in passing touchdowns. Those odds are tied with Justin Fields and Mitch Trubisky for the worst odds among projected starting quarterbacks.
The Atlanta Falcons made Drake London the first wide receiver selected in the 2022 draft. The former USC Trojan is 10-to-1 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Those odds are tied for fourth-best alongside Saints receiver Chris Olave and Chiefs receiver Skyy Moore. Despite being the first receiver drafted, 12 rookie receivers are receiving more betting action for the award than London. London is getting just 1.7% of bets, which is the same number as the Giants' Wan'Dale Robinson. London is receiving less betting action than mid-round picks like Jalen Tolbert, David Bell and Romeo Doubs.
London is 100-to-1 to lead the league in receiving yards. The same odds are available for him to lead the league in receptions. The season-long props for his rookie season are set at over/under 749.5 receiving yards and 4.5 receiving touchdowns.
Pitts had as good of a rookie season as you can expect from a tight end. He's already one of the better players at the position in the league. With Calvin Ridley suspended and London still learning the ropes, Pitts will likely be the No. 1 weapon in this offense. He's 50-to-1 to lead the league in receiving yards. Those odds are tied for 24th best with the likes of of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Amari Cooper. Pitts finished 24th in yards last season. Pitts finished 38th in receptions among all players in his rookie year. He's 66-to-1 to lead the league in that category this upcoming season. Those odds are tied for 27th best with players like Jerry Jeudy and D.K. Metcalf.
In his rookie season, Pitts posted 68 receptions, 1,026 receiving yards but just one touchdown. His season long props for the upcoming season are set at 69.5 receptions, 899.5 receiving yards and 4.5 receiving touchdowns.
Other Falcons props
Third-round rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder is 25-to-1 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
After posting three interceptions last season, A.J. Terrell's prop for the upcoming season is set at over/under 2.5 picks.
Arthur Smith is 50-to-1 to win NFL Coach of the Year. Those odds are the worst in the league, tied with Lovie Smith and Pete Carroll.
Falcons open season as an underdog
The Atlanta Falcons open their 2022 season with a home game against a divisional rival in the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons are 5.5-point home underdogs to open the year. Atlanta is a +225 underdog on the moneyline.
These two teams split their two games last season, with each team winning in the other team's building. However, by all accounts, the Saints are improved and the Falcons are not.
The total for the game is set at 41.5 points, which is the lowest total for any Week 1 game.