Betting Home Dogs

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Betting Home Dogs ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>

From the Frontlines
Issue #81 – Power to the Home DogAs you’re looking through this week’sschedule and you’re trying to decide on which teams to beton, it’s always a good idea to look at the home dogsfirst.

When you take the dog, there are threeresults that can occur in a game: the dog can win, the favoritecan win, or the dog can lose but cover. Two of those outcomesare good, only one is bad! Take the Week 1 game between Atlantaat San Francisco. San Francisco was down 21-13 and came back witha late touchdown that really didn’t affect the outcome ofthe game (Atlanta won 21-19), but all of a sudden your +3.5 lookspretty good. Then in Week 2 it was the New York Giants (+3) overWashington with some impressive looking defense from what I couldtell.

In total, the home dogs are only 3-5 in the firsttwo weeks of the season. So much for the power of the home dogso far, as a sample size I would say this is way too small tofind a pattern. But not so fast, there are two home dogs worthwatching in Week 3. Detroit is 2-0 and in tough against a veryimpressive looking Philadelphia team while the Cincinnati Bengalsare up against the Baltimore Ravens.

So what is it that powers the home dog? If you’replaying well as an underdog against a strong opponent, you justget that much more emotion out of the crowd and you get that muchmore fired up game. This is something that we take that into accountwhen we set the line so that doesn’t really account for a58% winning rate, so that doesn’t really cut it.


Here are a few other sources of power:

One is a feeling of disrespect. When you see areporter interview a player and ask a question like “Youguys are 6-point underdogs. Do you really have a chance on Sunday?”the player is likely to get fired up. Players may not be bettingon games but they know when they are not being given a chanceto win (whether it be from the media, fans, bettors or bookmakers)and everyone loves to prove people wrong.
Another is a lack of pressure. Pressure does funny things to people.Some thrive on it (think Joe Montana, Tiger Woods) and othersget buried by it (any FSU kicker against Miami, the Boston RedSox…I know, I know…maybe this is their year). When ateam is not expected to win, sometimes they are able to enjoythe game and play their very best.
Another possibility is that the road favorite is simply over confident.Expecting to win sometimes means teams and/or players do not practiceas hard as they need to.
But history tells us that dogs in general do not cover 58% ofthe time so these last three factors cannot be the only reason;perhaps the combination of all these factors produces a slightedge. It is my opinion that the most important factor may simplybe that the betting public likes betting the road favorites somuch that the spreads move an extra point (or more) in favor ofthe home dog and this accounts for the higher win percentage.

Why do bettors love road favorites so much? Ithink it is simply a case of not taking home field advantage intoconsideration enough. Travel takes its toll. Players maybe aren’tgetting a good night’s sleep prior to the game because they’renot sleeping in their own beds. I say maybe because coaches sometimesactually put players up in hotels before important home gamesbecause they can sleep better without having to worry about wives,kids or pets. Weather and field conditions are sometimes a factor.It’s the little details and home quirks that give those hometeams an advantage.

With college football it’s a little different.Because the teams control most of their schedule, you won’tfind many 40-point road favorites. Teams don’t want to getembarrassed at home. The teams that aren’t as good will playmore competitive teams at home, and will play the better teamson the road.

While I cannot say that betting home dogs willgive you winning plays with statistical certainty, I can say withcertainty it will ensure you are betting against the bulk of bettorsand that is usually a key to getting value.

And speaking of value, here’s a scenarioto consider: Baltimore at Cleveland in Week 1. That was one ofthe most lopsided games I’ve ever seen bet (and some werecalling it a trap, but I’ll get into that in a bit). WouldBaltimore really have been a 10.5-11 point favorite at home againsta team like Cleveland? If you get 3.5 points for your home teamand that means if you flip flop locations, it’s really a7-point swing.

People lay extra points because they look at theline and think, “It’s only three points, they can coverthat.” But it’s not three; it’s more like sevenin a neutral site and 11 at home. If you put it in those termspeople look at it and think, “Wow, that’s a pretty highspread.” So you look at –3 and it seems like a low price.I compare it to prices in department stores; $49.95 is not $50.00,but it’s pretty close and can get some people to buy becausethey think there is value in being less than $50.

Which brings to mind the point I want to coveris these games that are often referred to as “traps”by players after the home dog wins or covers. There is no suchthing as a trap. We simply put out the line we feel is right.We hope to balance action, but that isn’t always possible.When the road favorite wins (Tennessee in week one), people thinkour line was weak. When the home dog wins (like Cleveland), peoplethink our line was a trap. We just put out the best line possibleand let the players on the field figure it out!

Now that we have a simple starting point withbetting on Home Dogs, we can move onto the wonderful world ofmoneylines next week.

The enjoyment of your wagering experience withus is my number one priority. Should you have any questions, concerns,or comments, I will personally ensure you are satisfied with your Bdg experience.

Good luck with your wagers!



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