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Raiders-Falcons game split between pro, public bettors

The Raiders-Falcons game is shaping up as a Pros vs. Joes showdown at Las Vegas sportsbooks.

Sharp bettors are backing Atlanta and the under in Sunday’s matchup, while recreational bettors are banking on the Raiders and over.

“Definitely sharp action on the Falcons +3,” South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said via text message.

Las Vegas opened as a consensus 3-point road favorite, and that’s where the line has stayed.

“The public is definitely backing the Raiders,” Sunset Station sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “It’s clear we’ll be rooting for the Falcons, from the business side of it, when the game kicks off Sunday.”

The consensus total is 53 after opening at 56 and was as low as 52½ on Friday at Circa Sports.

“We’ve taken sharp money under 55 and 54,” Circa sportsbook manager Chris Bennett said in a text.

The Falcons (3-7, 4-6 ATS) went over in their first three games but have gone under in five of their last seven, including Sunday’s 24-9 loss at New Orleans.

Las Vegas (6-4) is tied for the NFL’s second-best spread record at 7-3 ATS and is tied with Buffalo and Tennessee for the NFL’s best over-under mark at 7-2-1.

The Raiders-and-over parlay has cashed in five of 10 games, including Sunday’s 35-31 loss to Kansas City at Allegiant Stadium.

The Raiders are eighth in the league in scoring (28.6 points per game) and the Falcons 16th (25.2). Las Vegas is 26th in scoring defense, allowing 27.6 ppg, and Atlanta is 25th (27.5).

“Those two together easily signals Raiders and over,” Esposito said. “That’s what the public is going to back on Sunday.”

Las Vegas is 4-1 straight up and ATS on the road, and Atlanta is 1-4 straight up and ATS at home.

“Bettors have backed the Raiders more times on the road than they have at home because their home schedule has been so much tougher,” Esposito said. “And the Raiders are relevant. They’re 6-4 and right in the middle of the wild-card mix.”

Las Vegas closed as underdogs in seven of its first 10 games, including home games against the Saints, Bills, Buccaneers and Chiefs.

Including Sunday’s game, the Raiders are favored in five of their final six games: -8 at the Jets on Dec. 6; -3 vs. the Chargers on Dec. 17; -3 vs. the Dolphins on Dec. 27; and -2½ at the Broncos on Jan. 3.

The Raiders are 2-point home underdogs to the Colts on Dec. 13.

Professional sports bettor Cris Zeniuk doesn’t plan to bet Sunday’s game. But he leans to the Falcons, in part because of the Raiders’ porous defense, which also ranks 24th in the NFL in total defense (385.8 yards per game allowed).

“They’re traveling east against a team that’s playing much better since the coaching change,” said Zeniuk (@lasvegascris). “I don’t like to lay points on the road with a horrible defense, but the metrics tell me there’s not enough value to bet.”

There’s a trend that applies to Las Vegas: Away favorites, after being home underdogs the week before, are 32-45 ATS since 2012 and 111-143-6 ATS since 1989.

The trend also applied Thursday to Houston, which cruised to a 41-25 win and cover as a 3-point favorite at Detroit.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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