This may seem obvious, but teams play better at home. So far in the 2012 season we've seen this fact more evidently than usual. A Freakonomics study last winter showed that between 2002 and 2011 home teams won approximately 57 percent of their games. What have we seen in 2012? Well:
- Home teams are 23-9 straight up, meaning they have won just under 75 percent of their games so far.
- Home teams are 19-13 against the spread, meaning they have won 59 percent of their games against the spread so far.
- Home underdogs are 7-1 against the spread, meaning they have won 87.5 percent of their games against the spread so far.
So why are home teams doing so well early in the season? Well, I have a two-sentence answer and a two-word answer. The two-sentence answer is that the NFL is cheap and hypocritical. It's hard to take them seriously when they talk about player safety and competitive balance when their actions completely contradict those notions.
The two-word answer: replacement refs.
I can't believe nobody thought of this early in the season. In fact, I can't believe I didn't think of this. Of course replacement refs are going to favor home teams, these guys don't have experience dealing with crowds of 60,000 people and guys like Santonio Holmes or Jim Harbaugh screaming in their ear.
The replacement refs may eventually learn how to do their jobs without letting home-field bias affect the outcome, but for now we can take advantage of a brief window of Vegas ignorance.
And when I say "we," I really mean "you." Why? Because there are a whopping 10 home underdogs this week, and despite the trend I've just unearthed, I only like a few of them.
So take my picks with a grain of salt this week. I just spent a whole page convincing you to take the home team and now I'm going to take several road teams. The good news is either way I'll be right.
Record for the Season: 14-18
Lock of the Week Record: 1-0