Inside the NFL: Against the Spread (ATS) Numbers thru Week 9

by Wayne Root

Playing at Home

Home teams get to enjoy the comfort of being on your home turf, whether it’s maintaining a game-week rhythm or eating meals in your home, or sleeping in your own bed. They also don’t have to contend with travel protocols. But does that add up to more point spread covers?

Thru 9 weeks, home teams are
76-70-1; 51.7% straight/up

Road Team Perks

Performing well in road games has become less difficult, thanks to the advancement of private air travel, football technology and mental fortitude. You have talking headsets now in helmets, and you have signals from the sideline the hardships of yesteryear are behind us somewhat.

Thru week 9, visitors are 70-77-1; 47.6%  straight -up

Empty Stadiums

Nearly empty stadiums make for just one variable that a coronavirus world presents, and accurately projecting its impact will prove to be a difference-maker for everyone's bottom line. The biggest adjustment yet might be the decision to limit fans’ attendance at games. So how has this affected home-field advantage? Although it’s too early in the season to reach a definitive conclusion, it’s evident that the home-field advantage is waning from past NFL seasons. During the 2019 season, home teams were a mere nine games straight up, 132-123-1, combined above .500, (.518 win rate), the lowest home win rate since 2002.
Home teams over-all:
70-77 ATS; 47.6%
Home Favorites 
41-53 ATS; 43.7%
Home Team Advantage?
The assessment begins with a concept that already seems to have become outdated: home-field advantage. In fact, home teams won just 52% of regular-season games last year. That ranks as the third-worst season in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) and worst since 1972.
Home dogs are 29-24; 54.7%
Visitor underdogs;
53-41 ATS; 56.3%
Outside Factors

You're handicapping betting behavior more than anything, especially on the higher-profile games, Denver will still have its altitude, warm-weather teams still must endure late-season elements, and travel will still involve challenges and annoyances that figure to inhibit a team's performance such as navy to back road games.

Add to your Handicapping
Over the past five years, a league-high 14.7% of NFL games were decided by exactly three points. The second-most common margin of victory was seven points (9.9%), followed by six points (7.1%).
It’s a Dog eat Favorite World in 2020
Underdogs are: 

82-65; 55.8% thru week 9.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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