Road Wins Hard to Come By in the NFL, but Not For This Coach

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 12:16 PM GMT

In this write-up, we explore Andy Reid’s success against the spread when coaching on the road, and offer a revenge angle worth chasing this upcoming season.

Kansas City Chiefs' fans are cautiously optimistic they will see their team win a playoff game for the first time since 1994 this year. Averaging 10 victories through his first two seasons, head coach Andy Reid enters his third year at the helm with an aura of confidence, as a deep and talented roster, coupled with a veteran staff, is in a comfortable position to master and fully realize his coaching philosophies and systems. When asked by reporters about this progression, Reid replied, “Continuity is a big thing...we all kind of know as a coaching staff where we're going, what direction we're going in, and I think that's important. I think that's a good thing.” Unlike the majority of his stint in Philadelphia, Reid is not serving as acting general manager in Kansas City, allowing him valuable time to concentrate more on playbooks, opponents, and motivating players. In fact, last week, starting quarterback Alex Smith, revealed Reid installed more wrinkles into the team's West Coast offensive repertoire, in an attempt to energize a unit that averaged a middling 2.2 touchdowns a game last season. In addition to the signing of new No. 1 wide-out and former Eagle, Jeremy Maclin, and a stifling defense that finished second against the pass last year, the onus is on Reid to break the team's 21-year playoff victory drought.

With such high expectations, I wanted to explore Reid's coaching tenure framed in terms of betting markets. Although still chasing an elusive Super Bowl victory, his success as a coach is best demonstrated by the fact that he has only suffered three losing seasons in his 16 years captaining an NFL franchise: 1999 (5-11), 2005 (6-10), and 2012 (4-12). While pouring through the data, the statistic that jumps immediately off the page is Reid's ability to perform above the public's expectations on the road. Out of nearly 150 away contests (playoffs included), his squad has covered the spread roughly 62% of the time. Equally surprising is the fact opponents score 19.9 points a game in this situation, several points below league average, despite Reid's perception as an offensive guru. Indeed, the great blitz-architect, Jim Johnson, piloted the Eagles defense for much of Reid's stay in Philadelphia, and the head coach inherited a remarkable unit upon taking the Chief’s job in 2013. Another astonishing statistic is that in roughly 170 games as favorites, opposing squads have failed to reach their team total nearly 68% of the time against Reid. Since taking over Kansas City, in fact, the Chiefs give up an impressive 15.1 points on average when expected to win. Reid's defenses are always aggressive and tooled to rush the passer, forcing bad throws, a lot of turnovers, and few scoring opportunities. With the possible return of first-team All-Pro strong safety, and cancer survivor, Eric Berry, and three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson from an achilles injury, expect the Chiefs to top many defensive categories this season.

Tracing back to Reid's road success, one angle sports bettors can look for is what we will call “Reid's Revenge.” When the head coach's men are playing on the road and lost their last matchup against their current opponent by less than two touchdowns—signifying something is not totally off-kilter—they have covered the spread 80% of the time out of a 40 game sample. A field-goal dog on average in this scenario, Reid's team has gone on to win 60% of these contests outright and earn a 6.6 points against the spread margin above public expectations. In his Chiefs' tenure, Reid is 3-1 on the line in this situation, covering in week two and seven away from home last season versus the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers. As discussed earlier in the write up, Reid's stout defenses typically give his team a chance to win and are the primary force behind this success, as they not only have a slight edge in turnovers created, but also hold opponents to a measly 18.1 points a game. In addition to a week 15 road matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, who beat the Chiefs 9-6 in October 2012, look for our late season revenge scenario to trigger against any division opponents Reid may lose to early in the season.

As always, use this information to support your leans and best of luck.