NFL Wild Card Weekend trends: Home teams hitting at just 49.2 percent

Jan 1, 2014 |
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 (-2.5, 46.5)
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 (-2.5, 53)

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 (-7, 47)

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 (48, +2.5)

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.

Division Downers

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 dogs 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.

ATS Diabetes

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.  

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