How to bet teams opening the season with back-to-back road games
Dustin Bradford / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Much like Dorothy clicking the heels of her ruby red slippers, some NFL teams will be itching to get home after Week 2.

All 32 teams receive eight home games per season, though three - the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, and Seattle Seahawks - won't play in their own confines until Week 3.

That means consecutive road games to start the season, a profitable angle to fade that was recently brought up in "The Sports Thoughts" podcast.

Let's check out how teams have fared on the second of back-to-back road games to start the season over recent history (teams in bold are the subject of this exciting science fair project):

2017

Road Home (Spread) ATS Result Score
NYJ OAK (-14) L 20-45
ARI IND (+6.5) L 16-13 (OT)
PHI KC (-4.5) L 20-27

2016

Road Home (Spread) ATS Result Score
TB ARI (-7) L 7-40
GB MIN (+1.5) L 14-17
CIN PIT (-3) L 16-24
MIA NE (-5.5) L 24-31

2015

Road Home (Spread) ATS Result Score
MIN JAC (-6) L 20-23
SEA GB (-3) L 17-27
DET MIN (-2.5) L 16-26
TEN CLE (-1) L 14-28

2014

Road Home (Spread) ATS Result Score
NO CLE (+5) L 24-26
JAC WAS (-5) L 10-41
NE MIN (+3.5) W 30-7

2013

Road Home (Spread) ATS Result Score
TEN HOU (-7.5) W 24-30
MIN CHI (-6) W 30-31
MIA IND (-1) W 24-20

2012

Road Home (Spread) ATS Result Score
DAL SEA (+3) L 7-27
WAS LAR (+3.5) L 28-31

2011

Road Home (Spread) ATS Result Score
PHI ATL (+2.5) L 31-35
SEA PIT (-13.5) L 0-24
DAL SF (+3) P 27-24
CIN DEN (-3) W 24-26

2010

Road Home (Spread) ATS Result Score
ARI ATL (-7) L 7-41
BAL CIN (+2.5) L 10-15

Here are a couple of things we've learned:

  • Road teams on the end of a back-to-back are 6-19-1 against the closing line over the last eight years, and 0-11 the last three.
  • Road teams in this situation are being outscored on average 26.1 to 17.6, or 8.5 points per contest.
  • Teams are covering the spread by 6.25 points on average.
  • Only three of the 26 teams have won outright (New England, 2014; Miami, 2013; Dallas, 2012).

With that said, we shouldn't blindly bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, and/or Chicago Bears - the teams hosting the Chiefs, Texans, and Seahawks, respectively - over findings from a 26-game sample size without taking the odds, market, or other factors into account.

You might think the only reasonable explanation for the poor play on the back end of back-to-back road games would be the psychological toll of jet lag. Travel has long been used in capping games as a situational angle, though there's not much clarity on if there's an actual edge.

Just as we often like to think West Coast teams struggle on the East Coast, it's the kick-off time that matters more than anything. The journal "Sleep" found that West Coast teams playing at night were covering the spread 66 percent of the time in a sample collected from 1970-2011, while there was no major advantage for either team during day games. Who's to say we just don't have a string of road teams failing to cover the spread over a small sample size?

Either way, let's take an unbiased look at the three games where this situation comes into play.

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers

Line: Steelers -5 (point spread) / 53 (game total)

The Chiefs took care of their West Coast trip last weekend with a 38-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. The offense behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes will likely need to keep scoring at a torrid pace considering the liabilities on the other side of the ball. In Week 1, the defense would have been exposed if it weren't for multiple dropped touchdowns.

Pittsburgh figures to be the second consecutive thorn in the side of a defense that will be tasked with containing wide receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, who combined for 14 catches, 212 yards, and a touchdown despite a downpour against the Cleveland Browns.

The Steelers' defense will have their hands full with Mahomes and a quick-strike offense. Pittsburgh's offense, however, should be licking its chops after putting up 21 points despite turning the ball over six times.

The Vegas look-ahead line marked the Steelers -7 over Kansas City back in May. Seeing that number down two points could be key if you fancy yourself a Steelers backer this weekend.

Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

Line: OFF

Marcus Mariota's injury status remains unclear for Week 2, which has kept the odds from being released (another reason we don't blindly bet this angle). For what it's worth, Houston will rack up the second-most miles of the three teams between its two stops.

Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears

Line: Bears -3 (point spread) / 43.5 (game total)

The Seahawks gave the Denver Broncos all they could handle before dropping the opener, 27-24. It'll be a lot more of Russell Wilson again this season behind a defense that looked as average as we'd expect post-Legion of Boom.

The Bears were well on their way to a win in Lambeau before they were crushed into dust by an injured Aaron Rodgers, who propelled the Packers to a 24-23 win. However, Chicago still showed vast improvement on both sides of the ball.

The CG Technology look-ahead line listed this one as a pick 'em back in May; the spread has since jumped to -3. Seahawks backers can shop and find +3.5's at some outlets if they don't want to wait to see if it hits +4.

A 26-game sample size isn't exactly telling. It could very well come down to teams struggling to adjust their body clocks, or it could just be a run of unlucky teams failing to cover the spread. It's merely a minor trend and not predictive of what will happen, so if you are looking for action in these games come Week 2, tread cautiously.

Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.

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How to bet teams opening the season with back-to-back road games
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