NFL Betting Notes & Trends: Is Home-Field Advantage Being Overvalued Early in the Season?

NFL Betting Notes & Trends: Is Home-Field Advantage Being Overvalued Early in the Season? article feature image
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The NFL is a notoriously tough market to beat. With readily-available info shaping ultra-sharp lines, many trends and patterns typically don’t make it too long.

However, fading home teams – particularly early in the season – continues to fill bettors’ pockets at a rapid pace.

Adjusting for home-field advantage is nothing new for bettors. It’s a necessary handicapping tactic in any sport involving travel, fans and an array of different variables.

But are bettors overvaluing home teams in the NFL too early when the stakes aren’t as high? That may be the case.

Visiting teams covered nine of 13 spreads in Week 7. That might be a shock on the surface, but blindly betting against home teams in the months of September and October has yielded ridiculous results.

NFL Home Teams ATS in September/October

  • 2021: 37-54 ATS (40.7%)
  • 2020: 47-59 ATS (44.3%)
  • 2019: 45-72-2 ATS (38.5%)

That’s a collective 129-185-2 clip, which comes out to a gross 41.1% win rate for the home side over the last three years. Only once this season have eight or more home teams covered over a given week (Week 3).

For decades, the standard adjustment for home teams in the NFL had been roughly three points.

However, that number is on the decline, and it’s sharpened by a handful of different factors, according to Bet Labs product manager Travis Reed.

“On average, home-field advantage is worth 1.5 points in my model, although it will vary based on divisional matchups, byes and Thursday games, among other factors,” he said. “I haven’t deliberately lowered home-field advantage this season yet, as it’s still possible there’s a lot of variance that has led to poor results from home teams thus far.”

Perhaps there was an over-adjustment by the market in last year’s pandemic season, in which stadiums were either empty or filled in limited capacities. But we can’t make many excuses for 2019 and the current season, which have produced worse win rates for home teams than the COVID year.

The Action Network’s Raheem Palmer is even more bearish when projecting home-field advantage.

“It’s worth less than a point in the NFL this season,” he added.

Here’s who is in action for the upcoming slate, with six teams on bye. This is the penultimate week to cash in on the visitors before the calendar flips to November.

Week 8 Spreads

Home Team Road Team Spread
Browns Broncos CLE -1
Patriots Jets NE -7
Ravens Bengals BAL -6.5
Dolphins Falcons ATL -2.5
Titans Chiefs KC -4.5
Packers Washington GB -7.5
Giants Panthers CAR -3
Rams Lions LAR -15
Raiders Eagles LV -3
Buccaneers Bears TB -12.5
Cardinals Texans ARI -17.5
49ers Colts SF -4.5
Seahawks Saints NO -4.5

 

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