Home/Road Football Handicapping
That offensive juggernaut, the
Baltimore Ravens, were a 2-TD favorite last week
over the Raiders. The Ravens have only been a
double-digit favorite 8 times since 2000, but
their record is 8-0 SU, 6-2 ATS in those games.
No problem. The Ravens crushed the Raiders 28-6,
covering with ease again.
Why? Home field is one key handicapping factor.
Home field is very important in pro and college
basketball, where almost all teams play significantly
better at home. It can also be an important factor
with some football teams. The Ravens happen to
be one of those teams in recent years that easily
play their best ball at home. In 2005, the Ravens
were 6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS at home, but 0-8 SU, 2-6
ATS on the road. In fact, Baltimore is now 20-6
SU, 15-9-2 ATS its last 26 home games.
It's not like this for all pro football teams,
but it is a handicapping factor that needs to
be examined carefully and taken into account.
Seattle is another one. The Seahawks last season
went to the Super Bowl, but it wasn't a result
of their road play: Seattle was just 5-3 SU, 3-4-1
ATS on the road in 2005. But at home they were
10-0 SU, 8-2 ATS. Part of the reason is that Seattle
is in the Northwest and it can be a long road
trip for many opponents. They also have a terrific
home crowd that supports them. Many opposing players
have said it can be difficult to hear the QB counts,
especially near the end zones.
Domed stadiums often provide a key advantage
for home teams, as well. A few years ago when
the Rams and Vikings had some strong teams, they
were very difficult to beat at home, but far less
imposing on the road. From 1999-2001 the Vikings
were 20-6 SU at home, but 8-18 SU, 7-18-1 ATS
on the road. The Vikings just topped Carolina
at home last week which makes them 10-3 SU, 8-4-1
ATS their last 13 at home.
Rowdy fans can provide that extra motivational
spark that can get athletes to perform at a higher
level than when they are away from home. Notice
that in college football, Texas A&M is 11-3
SU, 9-3 ATS its last 14 home games, while No.
1 Ohio State is 30-2 SU, 19-10-2 ATS its last
32 at the Horseshoe. And let's not forget Iowa.
The Hawkeyes under Kirk Ferentz are 31-3 SU, 22-6-1
against the spread at home since 2001!
Last week I used this handicapping tool when
I released a play on the Seattle Seahawks hosting
the Arizona Cardinals. Home/road was a clear edge,
as the Cardinals have been a weak road team the
last few years while the Seahawks have a significant
home field advantage. The Cardinals are 5-29 straight
up on the road.
Last year they beat only St Louis and San Francisco
away from home. Those two teams combined for a
10-22 straight up record last year.
Seattle beat Arizona by a combined score of 70-31
last year. Arizona allowed an average of 28.7
points their last 15 road games. Keep in mind
that they played the weak offenses of San Francisco
(3 times), Houston, Detroit (twice) and Buffalo
in those 15 games. Seattle has averaged 29.8 points
per game their last 11 at home. Seattle jumped
to a 14-0 first quarter lead on the way to another
home win and cover. They had the edge in rushing
yards 146-65. It should have been even more one-sided,
as Seattle had five dropped passes, a blocked
field goal, and a 14-yard punt.
Some other teams to keep an eye on: The Browns
are 5-20 SU, 8-17 ATS their last 25 road games,
Denver is 11-1 SU, 7-4-1 ATS its last 12 home
games, the Jets are 1-8 SU, 2-7 ATS their last
9 road games, the Titans are 1-11 SU, 2-10 ATS
their last 12 road games, the Eagles are 29-14
Su, 27-16 ATS their last 43 road games, the Patriots
are 26-3 SU and 19-9 ATS at home, the Rams are
11-24 SU, 10-25 ATS their last 35 road games,
the Cardinals are 15-11 ATS their last 26 home
games, but 7-19 ATS their last 26 road games.
Bryan Leonard is a documented member of The Professional
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