The St. Louis Rams and the Value of Late Season Home Dogs

Recently in our series of Bet Sharp articles, we re-examined a 2003 article by Richard Borghesi entitled Price Predictability: Insights from the NFL Point Spread. Borghesi’s paper revealed that home underdogs are extremely undervalued in weeks 15-17, and our data confirmed this trend. In fact, our records indicated that this trend had only strengthened since that time — especially when dealing with home dogs of 8+ points.

Last week only Buffalo fit this criterion and the Bills (+3) ended up rolling the Broncos 40-14. This week is a different story with St. Louis (+10.5), Cleveland (+7.5), Cincinnati (+2) and Houston (+3) all qualifying at the time of publication.

Perhaps even more interesting is that two weeks ago the team at Sports Insights sent out the Kansas City Chiefs (+11.5) as a Best Bet against the previously undefeated Green Bay Packers, largely because they fit into this historically profitable contrarian play. Of course KC ended up winning the game straight up; ending the Packers perfect season and improving the record of late season home underdogs.

The following chart displays an updated analysis of our NFL database to include weeks 15 and 16 of this season.

2003-2011 All Home Dogs Home Dogs 2+ pts Home Dogs 8+ pts
Weeks 15-17 75-74 (50.3%) 63-55 (53.4%) 18-8 (69.2%)
Playoffs 7-9 (43.8%) 6-7 (46.2%) 1-0 (100%)
Overall 82-83 (49.7%) 69-62 (52.7%) 19-8 (70.3%)

Although these four games currently qualify for this system, be sure to track all NFL Week 17 line movement on your Live Odds page, particularly if Cleveland is pushed to +8 against Pittsburgh.

* Pinnacle’s lines were used to determine ATS records.

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