Ah, Hate Week. Twice a season, the Atlanta Falcons and their fanbase get to marinate in the vitriol for their bayou-dwelling division rival. It will be second-year head coach Arthur Smith’s second shot at sealing a season-opening win, and history is on his side: The Falcons are 7-1 all-time against the Saints in season openers.
Vegas is either unmoved or pricing in the history and discounting it, as Atlanta enters this tilt as 5.5 point underdogs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium per DraftKings Sportsbook, with the line set at 42.5 points.
Anyone familiar with this rivalry knows that all history and on-paper odds go out the window when these two teams meet — especially in a season opener. Chaos typically reigns in these affairs, and bizarro plays tend to define the eventual outcome. We all remember the Steve Gleason game in 2013.
So the Falcons enter their home opener where they’ll likely be for at least the first few games of the season, as better-than-a-field goal underdogs. Until that narrative is busted on the field, Atlanta will not have the trust of oddsmakers or the bettors.
In any event: NFL football is back.