NFL Wild Card Weekend: Four Underdogs at Home for the First Time Ever

ctsports picksAnalyst IJanuary 2, 2009

NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND: Four Underdogs at Home for the First Time Ever

Well, big surprise that all four of the home teams are underdogs. The value of this is that NFL home team dogs provide better coverage and win straight up.

Since 1995, home dogs playing in wild card games are 5-1 ATS and 4-2 straight up! So, don't even think about taking all four of this year's teams, with or without the points.

At least two dogs are going to cover this week. I will break down the game so that hopefully you can pick which ones.

Indianapolis @ San Diego

Don't look at the records and see the four game differences in the win column and unload on Indy -1 here. After looking further, you will see that first of all SD historically plays Indy right down to the wire and even beat them last year in the playoffs at Indianapolis.

Even this year when SD was struggling, they took Indy down to the wire and only lost by three. The stats actually are about even offensively when you break it down. The one point shows the respect that the odds-makers have for SD and their very good offense.

I think this game will be a field goal winner, one way or another and when that happens, the home team usually wins. Try to resist falling in love with Peyton Manning and the Colts' past offensive domination of Indy—look deeper and truly check out this game before you bet on it!

Atlanta @ Arizona

Both of these offenses have really put up some huge numbers running and passing this year. Arizona's defense is actually better in stats than Atlanta's, which probably would surprise most people. Atlanta gives up more than five yards-per-play on defense.

Offensively, Atlanta scores ten points less on the road than at home, which could really present work for Coach Smith since he knows Arizona can put up 40 on a good day.

Atlanta is a 2.5 point favorite here, which has great value for ARI as the home underdog. Think, this is maybe the most attractive of the underdogs, so make sure you really analyze Arizona!!


Philadelphia @ Minnesota

Philly comes in at -3 for this away game in the Metrodome. The stats are pretty one-sided on this game in favor of Philly. Minnesota only out-scored their opponents by a little less than three points and were only 6-10 ATS, one of the worst records for the remaining playoff teams.

Contrary to Minnesota, Philly is +7 points over their opponents and are 10-6 ATS this year. Philly allows less than 3.5 yards-per-carry this year, one of the better teams against the run, which is important since Minnesota has to run the ball to win. This might be the strongest of the favorites on the road this week!

Baltimore @ Miami

Baltimore tries to repeat their early performance this year when they really dominated Miami. Both teams have the same record coming into this game, so, it is a little surprising that Baltimore on the road is favored by three.

Baltimore's offense has really improved this season with rookie QB Joe Flacco. This is a huge help to their always stellar defense. Baltimore's ATS this year is 12-4 which is the best team of all the playoff teams!

On the other hand, Miami has gotten the job done with wins but is only 8-8 ATS. Miami has a bend-but don't break-defense that relies on turnovers to bail them out. Don't fall in love with the improvement of the Dolphins this season as Baltimore will repeat the beating they gave them this year!

As you can see these home dogs are live and the record for home dogs in recent years can't be ignored. Do yourself a favor pick at least two home teams straight up...maybe even three. Enjoy the wild card weekend games and thank me later after the home teams have helped you cash in!


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