NFL Playoff Betting Tip: Spread Performance of West Coast Teams Traveling East
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks fist bumps running back Marshawn Lynch #24
- The Seahawks are traveling cross-country on Sunday to play the Eagles (4:40 p.m. ET, CBS) in Philadelphia.
- Using Bet Labs, we examine how West Coast teams perform against the spread when playing on the East Coast.
On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks will travel to Philadelphia as 1.5-point favorites to take on the Eagles (4:40 p.m. ET, CBS). There is a three-hour difference between Seattle and Philly.
A commonly held belief among NFL bettors is that West Coast teams struggle when traveling cross-country. The theory is that long flights, road games and time-zone changes, which can confuse players’ internal body clocks, impact performance on the field.
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Since 2003, West Coast teams have gone 95-138 (40.8%) straight up (SU) when playing on the East Coast per Bet Labs. This seems significant, but against-the-spread (ATS) performance is a better indicator of how well a team performed compared to pregame expectations.
NFL Playoff Betting Tip: West Coast Teams Traveling East
Over the same span, West Coast teams are 115-111-7 (50.9%) ATS when playing on the road against an East Coast team.
The ATS record suggests West Coast teams have not underperformed, but there is a stark split in the data that is crucial for bettors.
From 2003 to 2012, West Coast teams were 57-71-3 (44.5%) ATS when playing in the Eastern time zone, but since 2013 West Coast teams have had a winning ATS record in this situation. These teams have gone 58-40-4 (59.2%) ATS when playing on the road against an East Coast team.
There are two reasons for the change. One, teams have become better at managing this situation by changing when they leave for an East Coast game.
Two, as this trend became popular among bettors, the oddsmakers adjusted knowing gamblers would want to fade teams traveling from West to East.
There is no longer value fading West Coast teams traveling east. While West Coast teams have been undervalued in this situation the past few seasons, it is likely that the trend will regress.
The key takeaway is that profitable betting trends lose value over time as they become popular and force bookmakers to adjust.