Wild Card Angles
January 3, 2014
By Marc Lawrence
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NFL Wild Card Round... All In
Don’t look now but the 2013 NFL season is in the rear view mirror and with it the start of the Wild Card playoff games starting this Saturday. Let’s take a look at some of the best, and worst, trends surrounding this weekend’s card.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Here’s a brief capsule of the teams and noteworthy trends…
Kansas City at Indianapolis
Good: Chiefs coach Andy Reid 3-0 ATS away non-division playoff dog
Bad: Reid 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS last five games vs. the Colts
Ugly: Colts 0-3 SU and ATS last three playoff games
New Orleans at Philadelphia
Good: Saints QB Drew Brees is 4-2 SU and ATS career vs. Philadelphia
Bad: Saints 3-5 SU and 1-7 ATS away this season, averaged 17.8 PPG
Ugly: Saints 0-5 SU and ATS all-time away in NFL playoffs
San Diego at Cincinnati
Good: Bengals 4-0 SU and ATS off a win in this series
Bad: Chargers 2-9 ATS vs. AFC North last five years
Ugly: Bengals 0-5 SU and ATS last five playoff games
San Francisco at Green Bay
Good: Jim Harbaugh is 3-0 SU and ATS vs. Green Bay
Bad: Mike McCarthy is 5-8 SU and ATS as a home dog
Ugly: Super Bowl losers are 0-5 SU and 0-4-1 ATS away Game One playoffs
Home Field Disadvantage
Home cooking used to be a solid handicapping edge during the playoffs. Not so anymore.
For the longest time backing home teams in the NFL postseason has been a solid-moneymaker, going 172-120-6 (55.1%) dating back to 1980.
Today, however, that would be a mistake as the success of home teams in the playoffs has dissolved quicker than Alka Seltzer in a cold glass of water on New Year’s morning.
A closer look finds home teams just 119-107-5 ATS (51.%) since the 1990 season and, even worse, 64-66-1 ATS (49.2%) since 2000. Thus, like the economy, NFL playoff hosts have fallen on hard times.
Wild card road teams have a difficult time after dueling a division opponent in their season ending finale, going 21-43-1 ATS – including 1-7 ATS the last two years.
Send these highwaymen out as underdogs of more than 3 points and the task worsens as they are 4-33 SU and 9-28 ATS.
Not a good sign for the Chargers this week.
Like kids in a candy store, NFL Wild Card teams playing off huge regular season wins tend to crash-and-burn in these playoff openers.
Teams off a SU underdog win are just 11-25 SU and 13-22-1 ATS, including 3-15 SU and 4-14 ATS if the Over/Under total in today’s game is set at more than 41 points.
So long 49ers.
In a similar vein, teams suffer from more than a sugar rush In opening round playoff games if they managed to they beat the spread by 10 or points, going just 9-19-1 ATS when on the road during this round.
The Chiefs and the Saints could be up against it this weekend.
Stat of the Week
The straight-up winner in NFL opening round playoff games is 104-11-3 ATS since 1980.