Last season certain teams were wildly under and overvalued in the NFL Odds depending in the location of a game. Even though this is a new season, let’s take a look at some of the ATS winners from 2013, and see if they are going to repeat or regress for bettors in 2014.
Last season (including the playoffs), the Bengals were the NFL’s best ATS bet when playing at home going 8-1 ATS. Next highest were the New Orleans Saints, who finished at 7-1 ATS playing at home. On the road however, the Bengals were horrible to NFL bettors in 2013. They finished the season 2-5-1 ATS on the road (again including the playoffs), while the Saints were slightly worse at 3-7 ATS on the road.
Much like their differences from home/away last year, these two teams are projecting very differently coming into 2014. The offseason caught up to the Bengals this summer, and I don’t think they’ll have as much upside this year after losing a few key defensive starters and their two coordinators. Jay Gruden was the only thing propping up Andy Dalton last season, and with him gone, and the sportsbooks catching up to the Bengals, it would not surprise me to see them as a fade this year at home and away. New Orleans is a team that has always done well at home however. Since 2010, the Saints have gone a league-best 24-9 ATS when playing at home.
Along with the Saints, the Patriots were the only team to go undefeated SU at home this year. There were three teams, Seattle, Denver and Cincinnati that had one-loss records at home this year, and overall the league had a combined home winning percentage of 61.7%. However among those five teams, the Seahawks and the Broncos were the only two teams of the bunch to have winning records on the road as well. The other three had combined SU road records of 11-16 SU.
For any season, trying to predict who will do well on the road is almost impossible. However, there are some interesting trends when studying road teams’ SU record. For starters in the last ten seasons, eight teams have led the league in road winning percentage. The Steelers and Colts have both done it twice in the last ten years.
With the exception of one season, in the last ten years, there has been at least one team who finished with a top three road winning percentage to make the Super Bowl. Last season the Broncos and Seahawks both had top three winning percentages. It obviously pays to win on the road.
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Strength of schedule also plays a small role in the outcomes of regular season records both SU and ATS, however last season saw some very direct correlations between strength of schedule, and the seasonal outcomes. The most notable example of this last season was the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City had the easiest SOS in 2013 and finished with an 11-5 record. Now coming into 2014, they will play one of the toughest schedules. You can see why people are tempering their expectations for this team in 2014. No one saw them coming in 2013, however much like the Bengals above, everyone is gunning for them now.
This season’s strength of schedule might also give some incite to teams with good chances of making money this year. The Indianapolis Colts have the easiest SOS in 2014 and could reap the benefits of it. They should already run away with a bad division, and from there the possibilities are vast. The Ravens and Giants are another couple of teams that could benefit well from an easier schedule this season, as their schedules are ranked 28th and 26th respectfully.