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Home 'Dog Breakdown
The myth of receiving value by backing home underdogs in the NFL isn’t always exactly the case. Last season, home ‘dogs owned a 42-45-2 ATS (48%) record, which is hardly something to have faith as a long-term bettor just blindly taking the points with these clubs. Looking closer into last season, a majority of the success for these ‘dogs came in the first month of the campaign.

Through the first five weeks of the 2013 season, home ‘dogs compiled an impressive 17-11 ATS (60.7%) ledger, which including a 5-2 ATS mark in Week 5. Among the highlights in this stretch, the Bills cashed three times in this role, including outright victories over the Panthers in Week 2 and the Ravens in Week 4, while covering as 10-point ‘dogs against New England in a 23-21 setback in the season opener. Among the 17 teams that covered in the opening five weeks, 13 times won outright, with the highest payoff coming from the Raiders in a Week 5 night victory over the Chargers as six-point ‘dogs and +215 on moneyline.

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However, the success of the home ‘dog dipped during the final 12 weeks of the regular season, compiling a 25-34-2 ATS (42%) in this span. For six consecutive weeks from Week 6-11, at least five teams were listed as home underdogs, while only profiting in Week 11, albeit barely at 3-2 ATS. The most profitable home ‘dog when the season concluded was Buffalo, who cashed five times in this role.

One team that seemed like an automatic fade when receiving points at home was Jacksonville, as the Jaguars put together a putrid 1-6-1 ATS record in this role in 2013. The first five losses for the Jags came by double-digits, while the last three games were competitive, which included a 27-20 December victory as three-point ‘dogs against the Texans.

On the flip side, backing some of the best teams in the league as a road favorite was an extremely profitable venture. The 49ers owned a perfect 5-0 ATS record when laying points on the road, while the two conference champions, the Seahawks and Broncos, each put together a 5-2 ATS mark as an away favorite. Both Seattle and Denver coincidentally lost at Indianapolis, while one of the Seahawks’ ATS defeats came as a 13-point favorite at St. Louis in a 14-9 victory.

Short home ‘dogs weren’t winning plays in the long run in 2013, as these clubs that received 1 ½ points or fewer posted a dreadful 6-13 ATS mark. If these teams are taken away, then the overall number is slightly profitable at 36-32-2 ATS on home ‘dogs that were listed at two points or higher. Six times during the season, clubs that received at least 9 ½ points failed to cover at home, as opposed to only two covers by teams in this pointspread range (Bills – Week 1, Rams – Week 8).

Looking ahead to the 2014 season, three squads are listed as home underdogs in Week 1, as the Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Cowboys all will receive points in the opening week. Miami (+3 ½) split a pair of games with New England last season, while Tampa Bay (+ 1 ½) was blown out twice by Carolina in 2013. The Cowboys (+4) host the 49ers, as Dallas owns a 5-2 ATS record since 2010 when getting points at home.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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