January 08, 2018

A look at the success of home underdogs in the NFL playoffs since 2000

Eagles NFL
010818NickFoles Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles will be one of just two divisional round home underdogs since 2000.

When the betting lines opened up after it was known that the Philadelphia Eagles would face the Atlanta Falcons in their first playoff matchup, the Eagles became a very rare divisional round home underdog, with the Falcons opening as 2.5-point favorites.

We took a look back at all the home underdogs in the playoffs since 2000, and here's what we found (home dog winners in green, road favorite winners in red):

Year Game Round Result
2000 Colts (-1.5) at Dolphins Wildcard Colts 17, Dolphins 23
2000 Rams (-7) at Saints Wildcard Rams 28, Saints 31
2000 Buccaneers (-3) at Eagles Wildcard Buccaneers 3, Eagles 21
2000 Vikings (-3) at Giants Conference Vikings 0, Giants 41
2003 Titans (-1) at Ravens Wildcard Titans 20, Ravens 17
2004 Patriots (-3) at Steelers Conference Patriots 41, Steelers 27
2005 Steelers (-3) at Bengals Wildcard Steelers 31, Bengals 17
2007 Jaguars (-2.5) at Steelers Wildcard Jaguars 31, Steelers 29
2008 Falcons (-1) at Cardinals Wildcard Falcons 24, Cardinals 30
2008 Ravens (-3.5) at Dolphins Wildcard Ravens 27, Dolphins 9
2008 Eagles (-3) at Vikings Wildcard Eagles 26, Vikings 14
2008 Eagles (-4) at Cardinals Conference Eagles 25, Cardinals 32
2010 Packers (-1) at Cardinals Wildcard Packers 45, Cardinals 51
2010 Saints (-10) at Seahawks Wildcard Saints 36, Seahawks 41
2010 Ravens (-3) at Chiefs Wildcard Ravens 30, Chiefs 7
2010 Packers (-3.5) at Bears Conference Packers 21, Bears 14
2011 Steelers (-8.5) at Broncos Wildcard Steelers 23, Broncos 29
2011 Saints (-3.5) at 49ers Divisional Saints 32, 49ers 36
2012 Seahawks (-3) at Redskins Wildcard Seahawks 24, Redskins 14
2012 49ers (-4) at Falcons Conference 49ers 28, Falcons 24
2013 49ers (-2.5) at Packers Wildcard 49ers 23, Packers 20
2015 Chiefs (-3.5) at Texans Wildcard Chiefs 30, Texans 0
2015 Steelers (-3) at Bengals Wildcard Steelers 18, Bengals 16
2015 Seahawks (-5) at Vikings Wildcard Seahawks 10, Vikings 9
2015 Packers (-1) at Redskins Wildcard Packers 35, Redskins 18
2015 Patriots (-3) at Broncos Conference Patriots 18, Broncos 20

Notes:

• Since 2000, home dogs are 11-15 straight up in the playoffs. Since 2003, they're 7-15. They're 1-7 since 2012.

• There has only been one other divisional round home dog since 2000, which makes sense, seeing as both home teams on divisional round weekend are either No. 1 or No. 2 seeds, and thus very good. That home dog was the 2011 49ers, who were the No. 2 seed that year. They beat the favored No. 3 seed Saints.

• The Eagles themselves were involved in three of the games noted above. 

  1. In 2000, they were home dogs against the Bucs, and won.
  2. In 2008, they were road favorites against the Vikings, and won.
  3. Also in 2008, they were road favorites in the NFC Championship Game against the Cardinals, and I'm sure I don't need to remind you of the outcome of that game.

• The biggest point spread above was when the Saints were 10-point favorites over the 7-9 Seahawks. The Saints lost. The next biggest point spread was when the Steelers were favored by 8.5 points over Tim Tebow's Denver Broncos. Again, the heavy road favorite lost in that one.

Overall, Vegas generally gets it right. The Eagles can certainly beat the Falcons on Saturday, but there's little question that Atlanta has an enormous advantage at quarterback, and recent home dog success (or lack thereof) does not bode well for Philly.


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