Road Favorites (09/30/14)

By John Ewing, Director of Research and Analytics, @johnewing
How often have NFL teams been favored on the road? What this stat can tell us about team success and failure.



In the last ten years, home teams have been favored 67 percent of the time (1,826 out of 2,731 games). Usually, it takes a good team to be favored on the road.

Success and failure in the NFL is often measured in wins and losses. However, another way to grade a team's performance would be to track the number of times a team has been favored to win on the road.

In the last ten years (2004 through Week 4 of the 2014 season), the worst franchise in the NFL has been the Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders, in this time frame, have not had a winning season and the team's best record was an 8-8 season twice in 2010 and 2011. During this span of ineptitude, the organization has been a road favorite a league-worse five times, the last being as 2.5 point favorites over the Dolphins in Week 2 of the 2012 season in Miami.

The Cleveland Browns, another poorly run franchise, will be favored this weekend on the road. Cleveland is a 1.5 point favorite in Tennessee, this is the first time since 2011 that the Browns are road favorites. The good news for Cleveland fans, when the Browns are favored in this situation they cover. They're 5-1 against-the-spread the previous six times the team was a road favorite.

The best teams in the last ten years, as measured by the number of times the club was favored on the road, are not all that surprising.

New England with Tom Brady have been road favorites a league best 62 times. Indianapolis with future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have been favorites away from Indy 52 times. Both teams also have winning records against-the-spread as road favorites, 57% and 63% respectively.

Below are the number of times each NFL team has been favored away from home and the records against-the-spread in those games. For additional trends use the Trend Machine.

Team Games Favored ATS Record ATS Win%
Arizona 16 8-8 50%
Atlanta 29 16-12-1 57%
Baltimore 35 15-19-1 44%
Buffalo 12 9-3 75%
Carolina 25 13-10-2 57%
Chicago 27 16-9-2 64%
Cincinnati 31 16-15 52%
Cleveland 6 5-1 83%
Dallas 36 15-20-1 43%
Denver 37 19-17-1 53%
Detroit 16 4-11-1 27%
Green Bay 39 22-16-1 58%
Houston 24 9-13-2 41%
Indianapolis 52 31-18-3 63%
Jacksonville 17 7-10 41%
Kansas City 19 12-7 63%
Miami 11 4-7 36%
Minnesota 20 8-12 40%
New England 62 35-26-1 57%
New Orleans 41 19-22 46%
NY Giants 31 20-10-1 67%
NY Jets 24 13-10-1 57%
Oakland 5 2-3 40%
Philadelphia 46 21-24-1 47%
Pittsburgh 51 20-30-1 40%
San Diego 41 19-22 46%
San Francisco 28 15-12-1 56%
Seattle 35 15-18-2 45%
St. Louis 12 7-5 58%
Tampa Bay 14 4-10 29%
Tennessee 20 10-10 50%
Washington 20 9-10-1 47%