Recent History Shows Smart Bet in NFC East Games Is Road Dog

Jay Pryce

Monday, May 8, 2017 4:26 PM UTC

Monday, May. 8, 2017 4:26 PM UTC

Road underdogs in NFC East divisional clashes will make you rich. They have for the last decade at least. Read up on the NFL's best betting division here.

In horse racing, when there is no clear-cut favorite in an event or the odds-on favorite is considered beatable, it is judged a “good” betting race. Why? There are multiple contenders and the rewards potentially greater. The NFL equivalent of good betting races are NFC East clashes.

Over the last decade, parity rules in one of the league’s toughest and most unpredictable divisions. Every year there are false favorites headed into a new season. Not since the 2003-04 Eagles, in fact, has there been a repeat NFC East champion. Divisional winner odds for the 2017 season are popping up in the past week, and the Cowboys opened up anywhere from +120 to +140 to repeat at many sportsbooks. 5Dimes lists Dallas a +465 favorite to win the NFC overall. Expect the unexpected.

The gap between the best and worst in the NFC East is always tight, more so than other divisions. It often makes for competitive games and lucrative betting opportunities in divisional clashes. Such fierce competition is reflected in the odds. In the last six years, not including the final week of the regular season where playoff-bound teams often rest key starters, only four of 60 NFC East rivalries have kicked off with a point spread greater than a touchdown. Only once since 1996, in fact, has the average margin of victory between divisional foes been greater than 4.3 points. To put this into perspective, the gap has been 5 points or more in six of the last eight seasons between NFC North rivals.

So, how do investors take advantage of this “good” betting division? Take the points, of course. Well, at least in certain situations.  Since 2007, road underdogs are 56-29 ATS in divisional clashes, netting a profit every year in 10 straight seasons. In 2016, visiting pups went 4-3 ATS, tying 2009 in this stretch with the fewest betting opportunities. It was also the least amount of wins. Advanced point spreads for the 2017 regular season list eight NFC East matchups with road pups, including the Giants at Cowboys (-6) and Eagles at Redskins (-2.5) in Week 1.

Here’s a more lucrative angle in the above mentioned scenario: Play the road underdog straight up if getting 4 points or less in the market. Pups are 27-19 SU in this spot at 3.1 average odds. Last year, division dogs went 2-1 overall under these conditions, marking the fourth winning season in a row.

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