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Best and Worst NFL Home Field Advantages


The NFL season is drawing nearer and nearer, and with it comes the excitement of all that surrounds America´s new pastime. Despite the now-traditional offseason controversies, a new NFL year is bound to break even more audience records, bring in billions in revenue, and continue its reign above all the other major sports. With it, the ever-growing interest in fantasy football and football-related betting will be in full swing.

Speaking of football betting, there are always many methods to research, value spreads, and overall try to get an edge over the general public. Our dear website has our own guru in Bob Sullivan, he of the Golden Rules fame, and we also provide in-depth analysis of each game prior to its completion, so stay in tune with Sporting Charts through the full NFL season for some of the best stats and previews around the web.

Today we begin some of our betting trends analysis with some of the most simple, yet revealing, numbers in the game: home-field advantage.

It is abundantly clear that playing at home provides a ton of benefits for a sports team, and more so in the NFL, where the game is played in the elements and the season veers towards the harsh winter. Including the weather, the turf, the home crowds, and the refereeing, playing at home includes many natural boosts that help equalize the game for inferior teams, while pushing the best over the top.

With this in mind, we would expect to see some of the best franchises near the top any home-field rankings, as they are expected to excel everywhere, while the usual also-rans would naturally be neat the bottom. But, looking at the numbers, who actually owns the best home-field advantage in the NFL? For this, we took the last 10 years of data, excluding games played in London and/or other neutral sites, but including playoff contests.

NFL Home Records – Straight Up – 2005-2014

Team

Win-Loss

Win %

Team

Win-Loss

Win %

Team

Win-Loss

Win %

New England

77-16-0

82.80%

Minnesota

50-31-0

61.70%

Tennessee

40-41-0

49.40%

Baltimore

64-19-0

77.10%

Atlanta

50-32-0

61.00%

Kansas City

39-42-0

48.10%

Indianapolis

67-22-0

75.30%

San Francisco

49-32-1

60.50%

Buffalo

37-40-0

48.10%

Seattle

66-23-0

74.20%

Dallas

49-34-0

59.00%

Miami

37-43-0

46.20%

Pittsburgh

61-25-0

70.90%

Cincinnati

47-34-2

58.00%

Washington

35-46-0

43.20%

Green Bay

60-25-1

70.60%

NY Giants

48-36-0

57.10%

Tampa Bay

35-47-0

42.70%

San Diego

56-28-0

66.70%

Houston

45-37-0

54.90%

Detroit

34-46-0

42.50%

Denver

57-30-0

65.50%

Carolina

44-39-0

53.00%

Cleveland

34-46-0

42.50%

New Orleans

50-29-0

63.30%

Philadelphia

44-39-0

53.00%

Oakland

27-52-0

34.20%

Chicago

53-32-0

62.40%

NY Jets

42-38-0

52.50%

St Louis

27-52-0

34.20%

Arizona

51-31-0

62.20%

Jacksonville

39-39-0

50.00%

 

 

 

So…no surprises here. The Patriots are head and shoulders above the rest of the league, with a staggering 82.8% winning percentage at home. Also averaging less than 2 home losses per year are the Ravens, and close behind we have the Colts, Seahawks, Packers, and Steelers, who have been perennial playoff fixtures. It may be a bit surprising to also see franchises like Chicago and Arizona near the top, but this is the nature of home-field advantage, in a nutshell. As a whole, only 10 teams have played below the .500 mark at home during the past 10 seasons, with the usual suspects hanging near the bottom.

But what happens when we use the point spread to measure home-field? The rankings do paint a different picture:

NFL Home Records – Against the Spread – 2005-2014

Team

W-L

Win %

Team

W-L

Win %

Team

Win-Loss

Win %

Seattle

57-28-4

67.10%

New Orleans

41-38-0

51.90%

Dallas

37-46-0

44.60%

Green Bay

47-34-5

58.00%

Atlanta

41-40-1

50.60%

Tennessee

35-44-2

44.30%

Indianapolis

49-38-2

56.30%

Carolina

40-41-2

49.40%

Jacksonville

33-44-1

42.90%

Pittsburgh

47-37-2

56.00%

NY Jets

39-40-1

49.40%

St Louis

33-45-1

42.30%

Arizona

45-37-0

54.90%

Cleveland

37-38-5

49.30%

Denver

35-48-4

42.20%

San Francisco

43-36-3

54.40%

NY Giants

39-42-3

48.10%

Washington

32-45-4

41.60%

Baltimore

44-38-1

53.70%

Cincinnati

38-42-3

47.50%

Tampa Bay

32-47-3

40.50%

San Diego

44-39-1

53.00%

Houston

37-41-4

47.40%

Philadelphia

33-49-1

40.20%

Buffalo

40-36-1

52.60%

Detroit

37-42-1

46.80%

Miami

30-48-2

38.50%

Minnesota

41-37-3

52.60%

Kansas City

36-42-3

46.20%

Oakland

29-49-1

37.20%

New England

48-44-1

52.20%

Chicago

38-45-2

45.80%

 

 

 

Behold the power of the point spread. While we could see that straight-up, six NFL teams won at least 70% of their home games, no one came close to matching that number, with only Seattle having a winning percentage above 60% in this span. The rest of the league looks a lot like a Bell curve as a whole, with only a couple of sad-sack franchises lurking below the 40% mark.

If we looked at it from another angle, it seems as if good teams are punished with large home spreads that are sometimes not covered in a win, while bad teams can be home underdogs that squeak unexpected wins or at least keep things close in a loss. To see the effect of the point spread, we can rank teams based on their winning percentage differential between their straight-up performance and how they've done against the spread.

NFL Home Records – SU vs ATS difference – 2005-2014

Team

SU Win %

ATS Win%

Difference

St Louis

34.20%

42.30%

8.10%

Cleveland

42.50%

49.30%

6.80%

Buffalo

48.10%

52.60%

4.50%

Detroit

42.50%

46.80%

4.30%

Oakland

34.20%

37.20%

3.00%

Washington

43.20%

41.60%

-1.60%

Kansas City

48.10%

46.20%

-1.90%

Tampa Bay

42.70%

40.50%

-2.20%

NY Jets

52.50%

49.40%

-3.10%

Carolina

53.00%

49.40%

-3.60%

Tennessee

49.40%

44.30%

-5.10%

San Francisco

60.50%

54.40%

-6.10%

Seattle

74.20%

67.10%

-7.10%

Jacksonville

50.00%

42.90%

-7.10%

Arizona

62.20%

54.90%

-7.30%

Houston

54.90%

47.40%

-7.50%

Miami

46.20%

38.50%

-7.70%

NY Giants

57.10%

48.10%

-9.00%

Minnesota

61.70%

52.60%

-9.10%

Atlanta

61.00%

50.60%

-10.40%

Cincinnati

58.00%

47.50%

-10.50%

New Orleans

63.30%

51.90%

-11.40%

Green Bay

70.60%

58.00%

-12.60%

Philadelphia

53.00%

40.20%

-12.80%

San Diego

66.70%

53.00%

-13.70%

Dallas

59.00%

44.60%

-14.40%

Pittsburgh

70.90%

56.00%

-14.90%

Chicago

62.40%

45.80%

-16.60%

Indianapolis

75.30%

56.30%

-19.00%

Denver

65.50%

42.20%

-23.30%

Baltimore

77.10%

53.70%

-23.40%

New England

82.80%

52.20%

-30.60%

As we can see, only 5 NFL franchises have been able to post a better winning percentage against the spread than what they normally do at home, which seems to confirm the spread´s purpose as the great equalizer. On the other hand, big favorites tend to suffer in the betting slips, as they can still win a lot in the standings, but big spreads often are not covered.

As the season moves along, be sure to follow as many betting trends as you can. Point spreads are not predictions of the game per se, but rather a well-selected number that is bound to bring action on both sides of the game, regardless of who us playing. Teams that tend to underachieve at home could be a value bet from the opposition side, while some others have shown the ability to win often and win big to cover on their turf, so be aware of all the historical factors that may apply to a single game.

Or, when in doubt, just trust the Seahawks at home.



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