As usual, I am going to take a dive into that week’s slate of games and try to dig up some trends. Hopefully, they give us an edge when making game selections each week.
Of course, trends are trends…until they’re not. The goal here isn’t to plant a flag based on a trend, rather to simply shine a spotlight on these trends that exist and talk through some of them as food for thought.
Home Teams Finally Punch Back
We’ve highlighted a few times in this post throughout the front half of the season that home-field advantage had evaporated this season. Through eight weeks, home teams were 57-63-1 straight up and 47-73-2 against the spread. Both marks being the worst for home-field advantage through eight weeks of a season in the 2000s.
Well, in Week 9 the home teams finally struck vengeance and flipped that trend on its head. Last week, teams at home went 11-3 outright and 12-2 against the spread. One of those losses and failed covers includes the Jaguars, who were technically the home team in the matchup versus the Texans in London.
The Rams Rule the Road, the AFC and the East Coast
The Rams head to Pittsburgh this week with a plethora of positive trends behind them. Since hiring Sean McVay, the Rams are a league-best 17-4 on the road (14-7 ATS), including going 3-1 straight up while covering in all four games this season.
Against AFC teams, the Rams are even better, going 10-0 against non-conference opponents in the regular season under McVay while they are 7-3-1 versus the line in those games.
Going one step further, the Rams are 6-0 straight up and against the line playing in the Eastern Time Zone over that span, in the regular season, with their only failed win or cover playing in ET coming in the Super Bowl last season. That quirky traveling record has already come into play three different times this season, with the Rams winning and covering in games versus Carolina, Cleveland, and Atlanta.
The cherry on top of the trend Sunday is that the Rams are also 2-0 both straight up and against the number in both regular season games following their bye under McVay, with 34 and 14-point wins, with both games also coming on the road.
Saints and Falcons Moving in Opposite Directions
The Falcons have had a rough start to 2019, to say the least. Coming out of their bye at 1-7, they are also tied for the worst record against the spread this season at 2-6. To compound matters, they exit their bye on the road against the 7-1 New Orleans Saints.
The Falcons have been excruciatingly bad against the spread on the road of late. Since the start of the 2017 season, Atlanta is a league-worst 5-17 (22.7%) against the line playing away from home.
To make matters worse, the Falcons are just 2-6 against the spread versus the Saints under Dan Quinn, losing and failing to cover in three straight matchups between these teams.
As for the Saints side, they have an NFC-best 19-4 record at home since the start of the 2017 season. They are 12-11 against the spread in those games, however, leaving the doors open for a cover without the potential of chasing an outright upset. However, the Saints have won and covered in three-straight games as double-digit favorites, including a 31-17 win against the Falcons as 11.5-point favorites in Week 12 of last season.
Vikings Visiting Dallas
By now, the “Kirk Cousins versus winning teams” trend has been burned into our brains. Including Sunday’s loss to Kansas City, Kirk Cousins’s teams are now 6-28 in his career against teams with a winning record. We also have the pulling trend that his teams have a 6-11 record against the spread since 2015 in prime time games. There’s a debate to how much weight is put on Cousins himself in those circumstances, but the team results are fact.
The Vikings have also trending negatively as a road underdog. Since the start of the 2016 season, Minnesota is 3-9 heads up as an underdog on the road, but also 4-8 against the spread, with four straight losses and failed covers.
This week, they travel to Dallas to face a Cowboys team that has been scorching at home of late. Since the start of last season, Dallas is 11-2 straight up at home and 9-4 ATS, which includes a 3-1 mark in both areas this season.