By Marc Lawrence
It's Championship Week in the NFL and with it two teams are one win away from playing in Miami for Super Bowl XLIV. Like most football fans nationwide, everyone has an opinion on who those two teams will be. Our database does, too.
There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to handicapping the final four teams on this week's card. You can look at them statistically, or you can analyze them technically.
If we were interviewing handicappers we would have varying opinions on why any of the four teams will and advance. Ranging from players to fundamentals to situations, the answers would be all over the board.
But since our database has a language of its own, we are limited to asking questions and reading answers. Here are some of a half-dozen questions we posed to the database and the answers we found surround NFL Championship games. All results are ATS (Against The Spread) and since 1980, unless noted otherwise...
Q - How have home teams fared in this game?
A - NFC hosts are 21-8 SU and 18-11 ATS, while AFC home teams are 18-11 SU and 15-14 ATS.
Q -Who is the better money winner, favorites or dogs?
A - Favorites have owned the edge, going 38-19 SU and 32-25 ATS, including 29-17 SU and ATS when laying less than 10 points.
Q - How do teams that own the better record perform?
A - As the majority of time these are almost always the home team, the record for teams with a better win percentage are solid, going 37-16 SU and 31-22 ATS. When installed as dogs or favorites of les than 10 points these better record teams are 28-14 ATS.
Q - How do road teams playing off a road game fare?
A - Not all that well, as you might imagine. These guys are just 9-20 SU and 12-17 ATS and 3-10 SU and 4-9 ATS when playing off back-to-back road games.
Q - How have teams that lost their final game of the regular season done in title games if they were playing with a week of rest after the loss?
A - Teams that were defeated in the their regular season finale are just 13-13 SU and 10-16 ATS in these games if they had a week off to prepare for their Division playoff game.
Q -How has the Over/Under fared in these games?
A - Surprisingly, games in which the posted totals have been at the opposite end of the ladder have gone ‘Over' in title games since 1990. Games with a total of more than 46 points have gone ‘Over' the number in 14 of 18 occurrences, while totals of less than 41 have gone 20-8-2 to the ‘Over' as well.
There you have it. The database has spoken. Somewhere between its language and yours is a winner or two on this week's card. Enjoy the games...