Home teams have won 56 percent of the games played in modern NFL history, an era which dates back to the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Home teams have covered the spread 49.9 percent of the time, while road teams have covered in 50.1 percent of games.
Meanwhile, home teams that are favorites in Las Vegas have a .658 winning percentage since 1970, while they’re .467 against the spread.
But six weeks into this season, home teams have fared worse than in any other season this century, and by a significant margin. The 1983 and 1999 seasons were also bad for home teams early, but the 2019 campaign is right there in the same neighborhood.
Worst home team records through six weeks in NFL history
1983: 36-48 (.429)
2019: 41-50-1 (.451)
1972: 35-40-3 (.468)
1980: 41-42-1 (.494)
* 2018: 59-32-2 (.645)
Worst home team ATS records through six weeks in NFL history
1983: 28-51-5 (.354)
2019: 35-56-1 (.385)
1999: 32-50-4 (.390)
2000: 33-50-3 (.398)
* 2018: 50-41-2 (.549)
Worst home team records for favorites through six weeks in NFL history
1983: 29-30 (.492)
2019: 32-30 (.516)
1980: 31-27-1 (.534)
2017: 31-27 (.534)
* 2018: 47-18 (.723)
Worst home team ATS records for favorites through six weeks in NFL history
1999: 14-36-2 (.280)
2019: 20-41-1 (.328)
1983: 18-36-5 (.333)
2002: 19-34-2 (.358)
* 2018: 32-31-2 (.508)
Home teams have been outscored by an average of 1.3 points per game, even though they’ve been favored in 67 percent of the 92 games that have been played thus far. Only 30 percent of home teams favored by more than a field goal have covered the spread, and only four home teams favored by more than a touchdown have covered in 13 such games.
The Rams, Chiefs, and Chargers — all of whom were playoff teams last season — are just 3-7 at home. The hyped Browns and a Titans team that had a winning record last season are a combined 0-5 at home. And typically strong home teams Seattle, Green Bay, Baltimore, and Denver have a combined five home losses already.
Meanwhile, pleasant surprises Buffalo, San Francisco, Carolina, Green Bay, and Indianapolis are a combined 11-1 as road underdogs. Six teams are already 3-0 away from home, but only three teams are 3-0 at home.
Will the trend continue? Road teams are favored in six of 14 games in Week 7, while five of the eight home faves are laying a field goal or less. Only Green Bay, Buffalo, and Seattle are supposed to win by more than three points at home this weekend.
But that could give smart bettors something to take advantage of. Road teams will likely eventually regress to the mean. In 1983, home teams posted a .596 winning percentage after Week 6, covering 54 percent of spreads in the process. Home favorites were particularly strong the remainder of that campaign. And while home faves were historically bad at covering the spread during the first six weeks of the 1999 season, they went 80-25 straight-up and 60-43-2 against the spread the rest of the way.
It’s something to monitor closely in the weeks to come.