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The Real Road Warriors of the NFL
by Bryan Leonard - 08/07/2012
It's a common mistake for NFL bettors to use a blind value of 3 when giving home field advantage. To give yourself an advantage over the linesmaker and your competitors at the window you need to look a bit further in your analysis. Not only do you need to vary the home field value for each team, but you need to do the same for the roadability for every team. Not only that, but you also need to compare divisional games to non-divisional games. We all know divisional games have much more meaning, and teams play these opponents twice per season. Therefore teams know their divisional rivals much more intensely than a team in the opposing conference they may face once every four years.
We broke down every team in the league by these parameters the past three seasons looking at their spread success. Not only did we note the teams ATS mark but also the average spread differential. In one case what we uncovered was somewhat surprising, in fact we found it a bit amazing. Did you know that the Oakland Raiders were a perfect 9-0 ATS on the divisional road the past three seasons, covering by an average margin of 19.6 points per game? Going back even further we find the Raiders going 2-1 ATS in 2008 covering by an average of 10.2 points per game. In 2007 they also posted a 2-1 divisional road spread record covering by an average of 3.2 points per game. In 2006 the Raiders swept their divisional opponents on the road going 3-0 ATS with an average spread margin of victory of 5.2 ppg. So over the last five seasons Oakland is 16-2 ATS when visiting AFC West opposition. But the real amazing part to us was that they accomplished this feat with four different head coaches, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson. Once again this year the Raiders bring in another person in charge, Dennis Allen. Will Allen and the Raiders have the same success? Time will only tell, but be sure to make the adjustment in your power ratings when Oakland travels to Denver on September 30th.