Betting Home Underdogs in the NFL

When it comes to wagering in the National Football League (NFL), there are many handicapping strategies bettors can use. One that’s very popular is betting home underdogs. However, blindly betting on the underdogs (or pups as they’re affectionately known as) because they’re playing at their home stadium isn’t recommended.

betting home underdogs in the NFL ball going through goal posts

There are a number of factors to consider when betting home underdogs and we’ll explore what those are. We’ll also take a look at which other sports backing the home pups works.

What is Home Underdog Betting?

Betting home underdogs is the act of wagering on the success of the home team that’s also the NFL underdogs. If the home team is considered an underdog, this means that the not only is the team expected to lose the game or match, the road team has been performing better overall.

Betting on the home team underdogs is a strategy some NFL bettors like to use because the home-field advantage is an important aspect when it comes to football games. This means the team’s in a familiar environment, which instils confidence in the players.

US Sportsbooks Taking Home Underdog Bets

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Betting Home Underdogs Value

Betting home underdogs is somewhat of a risky move but if they perform outstandingly against the odds, the rewards can be huge. Take or example the 2014 NFL season.

The Cincinnati Bengals who were the road favorites visited the New England Patriots. The odds were stacked against the Patriot because of two situations: they had just suffered a defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chief the past week, and the Bengals were playing their first game after a week off.

The Patriots surprised everyone when they beat the Bengals 43-17. Fans who wagered on the Patriots also won big as line makers has a 2.5-point handicap on the Patriots, who were the home underdogs.

History of NFL Home Underdogs Performance

Our table below looks at the performance of NFL teams as home ground underdogs from 2008 to 2017.

NFL Team Win Percentage Against the Spread (ATS)
New England Patriots 1.000
Atlanta Falcons 0.688
New York Jets 0.667
Cincinnati Bengals 0.643
Indianapolis Colts 0.640
Arizona Cardinals 0.625
New Orleans Saints 0.625
Minnesota Vikings 0.600
Seattle Seahawks 0.593
Pittsburgh Steelers 0.545
Denver Broncos 0.542
Kansas City Chiefs 0.533
Carolina Panthers 0.520
Dallas Cowboys 0.500
Chicago Bears 0.486
Buffalo Bills 0.484
San Francisco 49ers 0.483
New York Giants 0.476
Miami Dolphins 0.471
Los Angeles Rams 0.449
Washington Red Skins 0.447
Detroit Lions 0.417
Cleveland Browns 0.408
Oakland Raiders 0.404
Los Angeles Chargers 0.368
Tennessee Titans 0.367
Green Bay Packers 0.333
Baltimore Ravens 0.333
Houston Texans 0.333
Jacksonville Jaguars 0.326
Philadelphia Eagles 0.313
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0.308

Betting Scenarios to Think About

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Below we look at two main betting scenarios that make us recommend betting home underdogs.

Playing a Divisional Rival

It seems like this type of scenario breeds contempt between the two teams. Therefore, this results in tough and very physical games. Add to this the rival crowds and you get a tense football game.

In this scenario, the NFL underdogs in the rivalry tend to be a threat not only to covering the spread but to winning the game. This is especially true for matches close to the end of the season when the road favorites have something in the line and pups have nothing to lose.

Playing a Second Straight Home Game

Another scenario is when the underdogs play their second straight game on their home turf. Generally, they are more comfortable and focused than the last game and coupled with the fact that they are rested because they didn’t have to travel.

Another element that could make the home pups more dangerous is if they had lost their previous game. No team wants to suffer a second loss in front of their home crowd so they’ll definitely be motivated to win, especially in a high-profile league like the NFL.

Other Sports Where Betting Home Underdogs Works

Betting home underdogs is an option US bettors can explore in the following leagues and sports:

  • Canadian Football League (CFL)
  • National Hockey League (NHL)
  • Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • Other popular professional and college sports
  • NCAA football and basketball
  • National Basketball Association (NBA)

It’s important to note that the home field/court advantage is strong in the NBA and NCAA football and basketball so the odds are usually low in those leagues.

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