NFL Betting Myth: Teams Struggle in Cross-Country Road Games

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Joe Mixon Bengals
(Photo by Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons)
Andrew Doughty @DoughtyBetMGM Dec 08, 2021, 10:58 PM

In the Cincinnati Bengals’ 19-point win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 11, Joe Mixon matched a career-high with 30 carries for 123 yards and two touchdowns, including a 20-yard score that extended the Bengals lead to 16 points with five minutes remaining and all but guaranteed they’d cover the spread (-2.5) and continue an NFL betting trend that favors road teams in cross-country games.

It was the Bengals’ 10th straight ATS road win in the Pacific time zone, the longest active streak in the NFL, and improved the ATS road record of Eastern time zone teams against Pacific time zone teams to 31-17-1 since 2018. And entering Week 14 of the 2021 season, those teams are now 33-18-1 ATS (.647):

  • 2021 – 7-6
  • 2020 – 11-6
  • 2019 – 9-4-1
  • 2018 – 6-4

Nine weeks earlier, in Week 2, the Raiders covered as a 5.5-point road underdog against the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving Pacific time zone teams one of their 39 road ATS wins against Eastern time zone teams since 2018. Those teams are 39-24-1 (.619) against the spread:

  • 2021 – 9-5
  • 2020 – 10-2
  • 2019 – 12-5-1
  • 2018: 6-4

Road teams traveling from one coastal time zone to the other are 72-42-1 (.630) over the last four seasons, a dramatic reversal of trend from the previous 15 seasons. From 2003-17, those teams went a combined 189-193-14 (.495), a difference in cover rate of more than 13 percentage points.

In Week 14 NFL odds, the New York Giants (at the Los Angeles Chargers) and the San Francisco 49ers (at the Bengals) fit this trend. As of Wednesday, Dec. 8, the Giants are a 10-point underdog, and the 49ers are a 1-point favorite.

You can view updated odds for those games and other Week 14 games at the BetMGM sportsbook. Listen to The Lion’s Edge for more NFL and college football betting analysis:

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM with a focus on college football, NFL, college basketball, and NASCAR. A graduate of the University of Kansas, he previously wrote for Sports Illustrated and HERO Sports.