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No Dome, No Problem: Drew Brees Undervalued by the Betting Market Outdoors

Sep 28, 2018 1:31 PM EDT
Credit:

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Drew Brees

  • The narrative that Drew Brees is worse in outdoor games than he is in a dome is true -- from a statistical perspective.
  • But that doesn't mean bettors should fade Brees and the Saints on the road.
  • He actually has a better record against the spread in outdoor games than indoor.

Through three weeks, Drew Brees leads the NFL in completion percentage. The 39-year-old quarterback has attempted 129 passes and completed 104, good for an outlandish 80.6% completion rate.

Accuracy is nothing new for Brees. Last season, the Saints signal-caller set the single-season record for completion percentage at 72.0%. He also has the third-, fourth- and ninth-best seasons in terms of precision.

Critics will claim that the passer’s accuracy is a by-product of playing in a dome. It is true that for his career, Brees has posted better numbers in a climate-controlled environment than in an outdoor game:

  • Outside: 64.7 completion percentage, 7.14 yards/attempt, 1.87 touchdowns/interceptions, passer rating 90.9
  • In a dome: 69.4 completion percentage, 8.03 yards/attempt, 2.51 touchdowns/interceptions, passer rating 103.2

This statistical decline outdoors is also reflected in his win/loss record. In dome games, Brees is 74-48 (60.7%) straight up, but his winning percentage is closer to 50% in outdoor games (65-56).

Brees’ struggles outside have earned him the label of a dome quarterback — a passer who can’t hack it in a tough environment. This is a common narrative, which means it is one that can be exploited by bettors.

On the fast track of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints see inflated lines. But they’re undervalued on the road because bettors assume Brees will struggle outside.  The data from Bet Labs supports this claim.

Here are Brees’ records against the spread (ATS) in the regular season since 2003:

  • Outside: 59-42-5 (58.4%)
  • In a dome: 67-60-1 (52.8%)

In dome games, Brees is barely profitable covering the spread. Though his statistics dip in outdoor games, his cover percentage jumps nearly six percent, which means a $100 bettor wagering on Brees outside would have returned a profit of $1,440.

The dome quarterback narrative isn’t the only reason why Brees has performed better ATS in outside games. Home-field advantage is often overvalued by casual bettors, and all of Brees’ outdoor games are played away from the Superdome.

On Sunday, Brees and the Saints head to New York for an outdoor game against the Giants (4:25 p.m. ET). The data doesn’t guarantee that New Orleans will cover, but it would also be foolish to fade Brees & Co. just because the game isn’t in a dome.

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