Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Bucs +4.0 -107
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
November 3, 2016, 5:25PM PDT
In the wake of the losing effort in the slop-fest that was the Raiders at the Buccaneers last week, we struggled with the concept of backing Tampa Bay this evening, especially against another top ranked offense (Oakland committed a jaw-dropping 23 penalties in week 8, for 200 yards, and still came away with the 30-24 road win). However, our primary work is unequivocal in its support for Tampa, above the key 3 threshold. We are therefore obliged to wager accordingly.
To sooth our anxiety, we remind ourselves that the Falcons, under Coach Dan Quinn, are an atrocious 1-11 against the spread when laying points. Also, the Buccaneers bested the line in the last three in a row against the Falcons, and in four of the the last six head-to-head match-ups held in Tampa.
To add another layer of context, BoydsBets.com notes that fading teams with strong ATS runs (i.e. four or five covers) in their last six out is 150-93 versus the number since 1983.
Further, the short week might impact Atlanta more than Tampa Bay given that Julio Jones suffered a bruised knee in the Falcons vs the Packers last week. Any lingering impact of the superstar receiver's ailing joint can only help Tampa Bay.
Consistent with our play on the unloved Bucs to deliver the cover in their building tonight, Vergin & Sosik (1999) found that NFL home teams and underdogs demonstrated a statistically significant edge versus the number in nationally focused NFL games. Dare & Dennis (2008) validate the existence of a home dog bias in the professional football spread betting market. Golic & Tamarkin (1991) likewise document tendencies for the betting public to undervalue home field and to herd toward the favorite, even when the spread does not justify such support. And relatedly, Paul & Weinbach (2011) chronicled the profitability of betting against consensus favorites.
Per SportsInsights, 82% of betting volume is backing the Atlanta Falcons. If history is a guide, the overwhelming euphoria bettors are exhibiting for the road favorite has created a mispricing. Accordingly, we are bucking the herd and backing the home dogs against the spread tonight.