NFL betting is all about finding the best possible situations and taking advantage of them to maximize the opportunity at making a long-term profit. And one of the most interesting situations that comes up every year is the situation where teams that play their home games at indoor stadiums have to hit the road for games in outdoor venues. That situation can often yield some favorable betting situations, even if the impact of the venue isn’t as pronounced as you think in some cases.
The New Orleans Saints are a great example, historically, of a team that has drastically different games when playing outdoors than they do when playing indoors. Their split stats between the two venue types are often pronounced from season to season, as their offense has been built to succeed in domed stadiums for the majority of the Drew Brees era.
Indoors, the Saints are responsible for some of the highest scoring games in NFL history. But when they have to go outdoors, they tend to have a harder time getting their offense up and running at full capacity. But this is a product of the way a team is designed more than it is the sign of a league-wide phenomenon that sees dome teams play poorly outdoors across the board.
The Atlanta Falcons are another example of a team that is built to play indoors. Both of these NFC South teams are created that way because they have to play at least nine indoor games a year between their eight home games and a road game in the Saints/Falcons rivalry. But whenever the Falcons have to go outdoors or into cold weather, there is understandably come concern about their ability to play through those conditions.
On the flip side, there are also indoor teams who are more than capable of playing well outdoors. The Minnesota Vikings are built to be able to handle the elements as a result of their membership in the NFC North. They also have nine indoor games or more per year thanks to their eight home games and a guaranteed road game against the Detroit Lions in their division, but they also have to be able to handle cold-weather games in Green Bay and Chicago each season.
Minnesota, as a result, is built around their defense which sets up its offense in more favorable situations. The Saints and Falcons do this the other way around, which can be ineffective when the team has to deal with wind or other weather getting in the way of their usually-powerful offenses.
It could be very interesting to form your own NFL betting systems around the different ways the dome teams in the NFL handle playing outdoors. There are definite opportunities to find value against the spread based on how the reality of these performances competes with the perception of some of the better offenses in the NFL. The key is to be willing to bet on or against teams that the public might be afraid to back on a given week based on these situational advantages.
Jay is a sports writer who has been featured on Deadspin, BetAdvisor. In addition to penning wager previews and features, Jay has broadcasted for MAAC school as well as ESPN Radio’s Northeastern Affiliates.