Like everything you read about gambling, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There is a myth that betting every home underdog is profitable.
Now, I grant you that it is usually better to bet the underdog, because the public likes to bet the favorite. As we know, going away from the public is always a good idea.
When you are betting on home underdogs, you are placing bets on the fact that the team you are betting is not only favored to lose but is also the home team. This is a common strategy used by many NFL bettors, as they like to take advantage of the team that is playing in front of its home fans.
The NFL, along with all sports leagues, sees a strong home-field advantage. Playing at home is also more comfortable for players, as they are close to their homes and families.
The strategy of betting on home underdogs is certainly not one that is guaranteed to be right, but it’s one that has plenty of advantages. In fact, it’s one of the longest standing betting strategies around.
We know the idea of betting the home underdog just because is faulty. One thing to keep in mind when you take this approach – just because they are at home does not make them a great bet. There are plenty of other factors that go into play when betting on the National Football League.
Since 2015, the win rate when betting home dogs is between 50 and 52 percent. After you account for juice, this just isn’t a profitable strategy.
Picking the straight-up winner in this strategy does not guarantee giving you a huge advantage.
If there’s one thing that’s been shown over time, it is that home teams oftentimes win a large percentage of the time. Just recently, home teams won as much as 57 percent of the time, according to a betting study.
The Bigger, The Better
What has been a good bet is big home underdogs. When the line is +9.5 or better, that is when you need to jump. Over the past five seasons, home dogs in this range have actually won 14 out of 22 times.
That’s not a lot of trials, and these situations don’t crop up often (there were none of these games in 2015), but it is a solid 63.6 percent. It involves just holding your breath and taking a giant leap of faith in the system.
But in the end, it’s a perfect example of going against the general public and, in essence, betting with the oddsmakers instead of against them.
The next strategy, and my personal favorite, is betting on home underdogs under three points. This is where the oddsmakers are really trying to get action. They put that number under three and know that it is going to get a lot of action on the favorite.
The average bettor thinks, you are letting me take the favorite, and I don’t have to give you a field goal, perfect! Think again.
These numbers don’t include this year but, betting on home dogs that are less than three points have won 89 out of 150 against the spread, including the playoffs. That is a 59.3 percent success rate and near that magical 60 percent threshold that all gamblers crave.
If you win that much of the time, you are going to be happy with your results. That’s no shortage of trials either. I think 150 games over a five-year stretch is ample evidence that this system is a moneymaker, and it has shown a profit in each of the past five seasons.
There are two scenarios where playing the home underdog is especially effective. When the home dog is a division rival, especially late in the season, and when they are playing their second straight home game. This formula has been effective time after time.
In the division rival scenario, there’s a lot of tension between the two rivals. Add to this rival crowds, and one gets an NFL dream. Dogs in the NFL in this scenario tend to be a threat when it comes to covering and winning the game.
Also, this is especially true if the game is close to the end of the season because road favorites have something to play for, while the NFL underdogs have nothing to lose.
Dogs that are playing in their second straight game at home are generally more comfortable and focused than in their previous game. They haven’t had to travel in nearly two weeks, meaning more time spent in their own beds, rehabbing injuries, and no stresses from being on the road. More importantly, they are in their own time zone and not having to adjust their internal clocks.
In a league where any team can win, sometimes how motivated a team is can be a huge factor, especially in a scenario where a team lost the week before at home. No team wants to be embarrassed in front of their fans two weeks in a row, especially in a league as high-profile as the NFL.
No travel and added motivation make home underdogs coming off a home loss extremely profitable. An example would be the New England Patriots. Since 2001, when Tom Brady took over at quarterback, the Patriots have been dominant when coming off a loss. Now, you have to take this with a grain of salt because of how good they have been, but the Patriots have only lost 12 games coming off a loss.
Betting on the home dog requires lots of research on BOTH teams. You need to know to check out things such as the strength of the team, stats and standings, along with other relevant information.
Also, you need to make sure you check out other factors that may have an impact on the game. For instance, just because a team is playing at home does NOT mean they will always have a large fan-base or win all the time.
Take the Chargers, for example. While they may be at home, the crowd is going to be most likely in favor of the road team. This strategy would not really work in this scenario. So like everything in gambling, do your research and explore the numbers.