Type to search

NFL Handicapping: Road Teams Have Been The Hot Bet This Season


The NFL is notorious for producing near even season-long results when it comes to home/away, favorite/underdog, and over/unders. Serious bettors typically approach games individually but if a league-wide trend starts to emerge, it generally corrects itself over time. Thus far, this season has produced some fairly pronounced trends, most notably road teams.

Heading into Week 6, road teams are 43-33-1 straight up and an even stronger 48-27-2 ATS. If that pace were to continue — which it likely won’t — it would surpass 2008’s 141-120, 54% mark for road teams — the best season-long road ATS mark since 2000.

Of course any time a league-wide trend pops up, the natural reaction is to ask why? In the case of this year’s road team success, first and foremost we’re obviously dealing with a fairly small sample size. And if you dive in a little bit, there are a handful of teams that have been key contributors. Both Miami and Washington — arguably the two worst teams in the NFL — have both played three home game apiece and are a combined 0-6 ATS. The Los Angeles Chargers, who have a notoriously weak if not non-existent home field advantage, are 0-2-1 ATS. And the Jets and Bengals, two more bottom feeder outfits, are a combined 0-4 ATS. Add those five teams up and you get 0-12-1 ATS (5-5 ATS on the road).

Long known for parity, the NFL, like other professional sports leagues (we see you, MLB!) is trending towards a wider gap between the best and worst teams. This is largely because organizations are becoming more and more apt to fully rebuild rather than use band aids in attempts to fix a non-fixable situation. Appeasing the fan base by trying to be competitive have been replaced by tanking with the promise that it will produce a quicker turnaround. There’s a big difference between a “bad” team that at least gives a game effort in front of their home fans and a “bad” team that is openly tanking before the season even starts and whose fan base rather sit at home on Sundays!

In the end, we’re confident the league’s home/road ATS splits will even out over time. Remember, the Miamis and Washingtons of the world play on the road too! But, it’s also clear that home field advantage — specifically for teams that are already taking a knee of the season — is starting to mean less and less.

Home ATS: 121-135-7
Favorites ATS: 117-132
Totals O/U: 121-136

Home ATS: 128-127
Favorites ATS: 131-116
Totals O/U: 139-124

Home ATS: 128-120
Favorites ATS: 127-120
Totals O/U: 119-140 O/U

Home ATS: 122-130
Favorites ATS: 119-133
Totals O/U: 122-139 O/U

Home ATS: 27-48
Favorites ATS: 32-42
Totals O/U: 34-42