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NFL Home Field

   by Bryan Leonard - 10/26/2005

It’s probably not discussed as much as home court in basketball and even

college football, but teams in the NFL often have significant edges at home

and liabilities on the road. A key part of sports is emotion. Even though

NFL players are professional athletes getting paid to do a job to the best

of their abilities, playing well before the home fans really is more

important than playing as well on the road.

The hometown fans are the ones who, in essence, are paying their salaries.

No player wants to give 50% and lose a game badly in front of the home

crowd. In addition, other factors can influence a team’s performance at home

or on the road. The Chiefs have great home fans and for years oddsmakers

have factored in a bit greater edge to the Chiefs at home with respect to

the line. The Broncos also enjoy a unique edge at home, not only from great

fans but the thin air in the Colorado mountains. Denver players are used to

practicing and playing in the thin, cooler air, while some opponents aren’t.

Another factor is playing surface. Dick Vermeil built the Rams in the late

1990s with an eye for speed at WR and RB. His spread attack, along with

then-offensive coordinator Mike Martz, was predicated on speed which

performed better on the artificial playing surface in the St. Louis dome.

Last year the Rams were 6-2 SU at home, but 3-7 SU/ATS on the road. The

Greatest Show on Turf is far less so on grass. This season the Rams are 2-1

SU at home averaging 30 points, but 1-3 SU/ATS on the road where the offense

averages a full TD less.

Take a look at the East divisions in each conference and you currently

find a remarkable home/road disparity. In the NFC East, no team has a

winning record on the road. Yet, the Redskins, Giants and Eagles are a

combined 9-0 at home. In the AFC East, the Patriots have a 2-2 road record,

while the other teams are a combined 0-9 on the road. Long travel can play a

roll, as well. Notice the Buffalo Bills had a long road trip to Oakland

Sunday, and had their worst game in a 38-17 loss. In fact, Buffalo is 3-1

SU/ATS at home this season, 0-3 SU/ATS on the road. It’s not just the

struggles of QB J.P. Losman – the whole team appears to pack it in away from

home.

Lovie Smith’s Bears really seem to get fired up in front of the Chicago

fans, standing at 3-0 SU/ATS were the offense averages over 20 points per

game. But on the road, the Bears are winless averaging 9 per game. Notice

the geographical location of a team like the Seahawks, playing way up in the

Northwest corner of the U.S. in Seattle. A team in a city like that has a

longer way to travel to away games, and they’ve already made long trips to

the East coast in Jacksonville and Washington, as well as St. Louis. The

Seahawks are 1-2 Su/ATS on the road, and 4-0 at home! Seattle’s offense

plays best at home, too, averaging 28 per game at home after averaging 25

per game last season in Seattle. For totals bettors, keep in mind the

Seahawks are 9-4 “overâ€쳌 the total their last 13 home games.

This season is going to interesting to follow because of the displacement

of the New Orleans Saints, who are playing their home games in San Antonio.

No team has ever faced this kind of grueling road schedule. Notice that

after a surprising 23-20 road win at Carolina to open the season, the Saints

are 0-3 SU/ATS in official road games.

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