NFL home underdogs are the runts of the betting litter

Nov 7, 2012 |
Home underdogs are one of the favorite weapons hanging from the holsters of NFL handicappers each football season, with perceived value in a host team taking the points.

But, in a year when underdogs have dominated – besides Week 9’s favorites fiasco – the home pup is the runt of the litter.

Host squads getting the points are just 24-22 ATS (21-25 SU) and covering at just over 52 percent. That record is weak compared to the frothing mouths and loud barks of road dogs, which have gone 51-32-3 ATS (30-56 SU) and are covering at more than 62 percent heading into in Week 10.

There are six home underdogs on this week’s NFL board, starting with the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting the Indianapolis Colts as 3-point pups Thursday night. The Jags have been underdogs in seven of their eight games this season, with the lone chalk coming against Cincinnati at home in Week 4. Jacksonville failed to cover that game and is 0-4 ATS at home this season.

Other home teams raking in the points are the Carolina Panthers (+3.5 vs. Denver), Cincinnati Bengals (+4 vs. New York), New Orleans Saints (+1 vs. Atlanta), Minnesota Vikings (+1 vs. Detroit), and Philadelphia Eagles, who opened as 1-point home favorites versus the Dallas Cowboys but have since been bet down to +1.

Carolina has been an underdog in five of its eight games this season, going 4-1 ATS when taking the points. However, the lone underdog loss came against Dallas at home where the Panthers are just 1-3 ATS on the year.

Cincinnati is mired in a four game SU and ATS losing skid, failing to cover as a home underdog in its last two outings – versus Pittsburgh and Denver. The Bengals are 2-3 ATS as pups and just 1-3 ATS as hosts in 2012.

New Orleans finds itself in the rare roll as a home underdog versus the undefeated Falcons Sunday. The Saints haven’t taken the points inside the Superdome since Week 17 of the 2008 season, getting one point in a 33-31 loss to a postseason-motivated Panthers squad. This season, New Orleans is 2-2 ATS in the Big Easy and 1-1 ATS as an underdog.

Minnesota is on a two-game tumble and has won just once in the past four games. The Vikings have gone 2-2-1 ATS at home and boast a 2-1 ATS record as underdogs this year. The Lions, who visit the Metrodome this weekend, have managed to cover only once in their last seven trips to Minny, going 1-4-2 ATS.

Philadelphia is a bit of a train wreck, and bettors have promptly decided it should be a home underdog versus division rival Dallas Sunday. The Eagles have been a bad bet no matter where they play, going 1-6-1 ATS including a 0-3-1 ATS mark inside Lincoln Financial Field. As a dog, which Philly has surprisingly been only twice, Philadelphia is 1-1 ATS this season.

Last week, when favorites finished 10-4 SU and ATS, home underdogs went just 1-4 SU and ATS, with Indianapolis' 23-20 win over Miami as a 2.5-point pup as the lone victory.

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