Bettors are driving up the total in Atlanta’s first trip to TCF Bank Stadium Sunday and why not? They are playing with extra rest, have a 2-1 record and are facing a Viking team that can’t score. With the help of a few SDQL angles we setup the contest in this week’s TC NFL Best Bet.
Home field is given extra value from bettors early in the season because we don’t always have a true feel for what the newest edition of an NFL team is capable of. It’s sort of a default setting in our minds triggered by the league’s longstanding, 55- to 59-percent hit rate for home teams straight-up. Home faves win roughly 69-percent of the time straight-up but their ATS hit rate (49-percent) is no better than first group, which included both underdogs and favorites.
Once we’ve seen a few games, actual talent takes over as the driving force behind ATS lines and this year has followed a predictable path, with the number of road faves slowly increasing to the point where they virtually match the home chalk:
Week 1: Three road faves, 1-2 SU/ATS and 2-1 O/U
Week 2: Four road faves, 2-2 SU/ATS and 3-1 O/U
Week 3: Four road faves, 3-1 SU/ATS and 3-1 O/U
Week 4: Five road faves (Miami -3.5 vs. Oakland is a neutral site game)
The two patterns that stand out are A) the weekly improvement in road chalk’s straight-up and ATS records and B) the 8-3 O/U mark (73-percent). The scoring averages favor the road side by an average of 27.5 to 23.3 and of the 11 road faves this year; six have scored at least 27 points. ’27’ is an important number because since 1989, road faves who score at least 27 points are 611-153-14 ATS (80-percent) compared to an ATS record of just 44-percent for road faves who score between 20-27 points.
The five road faves in Week 4 are Detroit, Green Bay, Atlanta, New Orleans and New England and while all five seem capable of scoring 27, the setup for our first play suggests greater value on the total than the side.
TC Tip: Falcons at Vikings, O/U 47
The Falcons are off a blowout win over the Bucs and have a road game against the Giants on-deck. Under HC Mike Smith, Atlanta is only 3-7 SU/ATS in the first of back-to-back road games with 3 overs and 7 unders. The Falcons also have a record of 2 overs and 13 unders following a game where they scored 34-plus points and this might be a good time for them to reel things back a bit. Minnesota only scored single digits the past two weeks and despite Norv Turner’s craftiness on offense, the Vikes will continue to struggle on offense without their feature back. Just think of how your fantasy lineup fared!
Atlanta may or may not get to 27 points Sunday but either way, we don’t like the Vikings chances of scoring more than 20.
Pick: Take the UNDER
Note: We have the Packers circled as our top Week 4 road fave ATS and they are currently available at Pinnacle Sports with a line of GB -1 (-110). We’ll have more on that game Sunday morning. Good luck!
Totally Covered is written by Jarvis Simes, co-founder of Pick Sixty Sports. Be sure and follow Pick Sixty on Twitter for more NFL picks, winning systems and Best Bets throughout the season!