How Full Stadium Capacity Impacts NFL Betting

  • Home teams in 2020 fared worse against the spread than in years past.
  • Betting the Over last season had less success than in prior seasons.
  • Underdogs had their worst season in 2020 since 2007.

LAS VEGAS - The NFL has informed all but two teams that both state and local governments have permitted full capacity for games for the 2021 season. The Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos are the only teams that haven’t received permission thus far.

With fans back in the stadium, we’ll look at the possible outlying betting trends from 2020 and how things may change moving forward.

Home Teams Primed For More ATS Success

In 2020, 11 teams had an ATS record of above .500, a number historically lower than the average. In the previous seven years, an average of 12.3 teams had above a .500 record against the spread.

Further, five of the seven seasons saw 12 or more teams be profitable ATS with as many as 16 teams having a winning record ATS.

Number of Teams With Above .500 ATS Record As Home Team

  • 2020: 11
  • 2019: 7
  • 2018: 9
  • 2017: 13
  • 2016: 15
  • 2015: 12
  • 2014: 14
  • 2013: 16

The 2018 and 2019 seasons are outliers, at least in recent memory, but could potentially show an emerging trend. Generally, sports betting sites qualify home-field advantage at around three points, but it’ll be interesting if they change their projections after having seen a season that largely had no fans in the stadium.

Unders Could Become More Common This Year

Betting the Under this season could potentially be more beneficial to NFL bettors. In 2020, 13 teams had above a .500 record on the Over, more than the average over the previous five seasons.

Number of Teams With Above .500 Record On Overs

  • 2020: 13
  • 2019: 8
  • 2018: 8
  • 2017: 15
  • 2016: 12
  • 2015: 11

Again, the 2018 and 2019 seasons could be outliers, but only one time in the previous five years had as many teams been as successful on the Over as in 2020.

Logistically, it makes sense that with crowd noise it becomes more difficult for opposing teams to score. Last season was the highest-scoring season of all-time as teams scored an average of 24.8 points per game.

One would assume this was largely in part due to the lack of opposing stadium noise, but the league, generally, is as offense-heavy as it’s ever been, so potentially not.

Is 2021 The Year Of The Underdog?

The 2020 season was brutal for underdogs on the moneyline. Only four teams had above a .500 record SU as an underdog. That’s the fewest number of teams since 2007. From 2008-2019, there were six times that seven teams had above a .500 record as the underdog and six times that five teams had above a .500 record.

Removing the factor of crowd noise, sportsbooks were more accurate in predicting winners, meaning this upcoming season could have a lot of value on underdogs, especially early in the season.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that betting on the Jaguars or Texans to win all 17 games is a good idea, but value will definitely be available in some spots throughout the season.

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