Finding Value in Betting NFL Playoff Home Underdogs

There is value in betting NFL playoff home underdogs.

Key Points

– The key to betting on NFL playoff home underdogs is finding the value.

– Bettors cannot just bet blindly on NFL playoff home underdogs.

Finding Value in Betting NFL Playoff Home Underdogs

We would anticipate that the home team would be favored in the NFL playoff wild card, divisional, and conference championship round. Teams are playing in a venue that has undoubtedly been kind to them during the regular season. Playing at home surely helped them earn the right to host playoff games. 

However, there are times when the home team ends up being the underdog. It may be that their opponent is a very well-known team that is performing well. It could be that the home team earned its record by competing in a weak division or personnel issues and health problems affected the team. 

Whatever the reason, handicappers should pay close attention to certain NFL playoff home underdogs. Doing so can help a bettor win more football bets this season. When analyzing a home underdog in the NFL playoffs, football handicappers should take into account the following factors.

Favorite’s Performance on the Road

How has the favorite performed when playing on the road? If a road team is favored in the playoffs, you can be sure that it is at least partially due to the fact that the team is a public betting favorite.

The favorite may have a star player that is well-liked that contributes to its public standing. The 2011 New Orleans Saints were a great example of this. Quarterback Drew Brees, who holds the NFL’s all-time career passing yardage record, and his explosive Saints offense were a public betting favorite that season. 

The problem with the Saints that season was that while they were certainly a very good football team, they did not play as well on the road as they did at home. They had won their wild card game in 2011 to give the Saints a 9-0 home record. They were just 5-3 on the road that season.

Brees’ stats weren’t quite as strong on the road either. New Orleans was the public favorite in that game. For a number of reasons including the Saints performance on the road, there was value on the San Francisco 49ers as NFL playoff home underdogs. The Niners did pull the upset. 


Past Performance as NFL Playoff Home Underdogs

You should examine the home team in the same way that you would want to know how the visiting team performs away from home. 

First, has playing at home been a significant advantage for them? Additionally, have they previously been underdogs at home during the season? If so, how did they fare? You can make a case that when NFL teams feel they are not being treated with the respect they believe they deserve, they often play very well.

You should also ask yourself if the underdog status is appropriate. Should the road team be favored in this game? If you believe the line to be justified, then your task is to handicap the game to determine whether there is any value on the NFL playoff home underdogs. 

You have to dig deeper if you disagree that the road team is the favorite. Identify the factors that result in the underdog being the preferred choice. If you are able to identify why the road team is the favorite, you can more accurately predict if there is value on the home underdog.

Road Team Is the Public Favorite

We mentioned this already, but it is significant and is worth repeating. There is a very good chance that the road team’s line is inflated because they are the public favorite. The betting public loves favorites, popular teams, and teams with stars. The public bets on them no matter what.

Sportsbooks know this and adjust lines accordingly. Remember, the sportsbook isn’t out to provide an accurate reflection of the final scoring margin. The books are more interested in bringing in an equal amount of action on both sides of a bet.

If you have a well-known road team playing a home team that isn’t as well-known, you are likely to see a line inflated in favor of the road team. The public’s influence on the favorite is significant, especially during the NFL playoffs when betting volume is higher than the regular season.

Finding Value in Betting NFL Playoff Home Underdogs

The General Consensus

You need to get a feel for how the betting public and the sharps (professional bettors and betting syndicates) are attacking the line. Bettors should look to find out the distribution of wagers on each side of the bet. Is it equal or is the road favorite getting a large amount of public wagers? 

Bettors that understand why betting lines move and what causes it can have great success backing NFL playoff home underdogs. You don’t simply bet on every underdog in this situation. Line movement will tell you if there is any potential betting value. 

Impact of the Bye Week

In the NFL playoffs, there is a bye week for the top-seeded team in the wild card round. Bettors have to determine if the bye week will impact a divisional round game. As a top seed, the home team is likely to be the favorite. What if the home team is not favored?

There has to be a reason why a top-seeded team is among the NFL playoff home underdogs, especially after having been able to rest the week before. Bettors that can dig in and find out why are able to have great success in betting on NFL playoff home underdogs.