Welcome to Part 4 of the NFL Trends series at Cirrus the Duck. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Well, here we go anyway. If you haven’t, check out the Part 3 article on Divisional Games. This time we’re looking at how winning and losing streaks affect a teams chance to cover. First lets look at how the home team does with a losing streak.
In the above plot, we are technically looking at winning streaks, but negative win streaks are losing streaks. Here we can see that home teams are more likely to cover with a losing streak, at least to a point. There is a significant increase in cover probability for teams with a losing streak of 5 or more games, at 52%. It appears that teams on losing streaks are undervalued, and it may be beneficial to bet them to cover. In the few cases with teams that had longer losing streaks, say over 8 games, the trend jumps around. Once again, be aware of the small sample size.
Considering our previous articles, teams with losing streaks may have large spreads as well. Always remember that a bad NFL team is still full of professionals. Let’s flip the graph and take a look at streaks greater than a certain amount. Now we are essentially looking at win streaks opposed to losing streaks.
Here, we see that betting on a winning home team is an okay strategy but only to a point. Teams with a winning streak of at least 3-4 cover about 52% of the time, which isn’t bad. However, when looking at only win streaks greater than that result in a significantly lower probability of covering. Let’s see if this holds for visiting teams. First lets look at visiting teams with losing streaks.
Here we have one of the strongest trends out there. Losing teams do very well on the road against the spread. That isn’t to say they are winning these games, but road teams on a losing streak are severely undervalued. Visiting teams with a 5+ game losing streak cover over 52% of the time, and teams on a 7+ game losing streak cover over 60% of the time! Bet on that!
Finally, lets take a look at visiting teams on a win streak.
It gets a little messy after 5 games, but the initial trend is clear. Visiting teams on a win streak do not cover as often. With a win streak of at least 4 or 5 games, visiting teams only cover 46% of the time, compared to about 48% in general. After 5 games, the trend appears to disappear and reappear, so I would take it with a grain of salt.