When the Packers rolled to a 42-10 victory vs. the Vikings to begin Week Five, it marked the fifth time in as many Thursday games in which the winner prevailed by at least 20 points. It also marked the fourth time the home team prevailed in a Thursday-night blowout to begin 2014.
After the Packers’ romp, the questioning of the quality of Thursday-night play has grown louder. The NFL has suggested the games traditionally aren’t so uncompetitive. And some closer games, to be fair, are likely at some point.
But let’s circle back to the matter of how home teams fare in Thursday games. How successful are home teams on Thursdays relative to the rest of the week?
Well, it depends.
As the league pointed out Friday, home teams playing on all other days than Thursdays have won at a higher clip than Thursday home teams since 2012. Indeed, this is true.
But what happens when we expand the search back to 2006, when the NFL added a Thursday-night package of games?
At that point, the pendulum swings a little more toward the home sides.
According to the Spreadapedia database, home teams have won at 62.4 percent clip on Thursdays since 2006. This 58-35 mark includes NFL Kickoff and Thanksgiving games.
By contrast, on all other days in this same span, home sides have won at a 56.6 percent rate (1,140-873-3).
Home teams have also outperformed the betting market’s overall expectations on Thursdays in this span. Per Spreadapedia, home sides have covered the point spread at a 55.6 percent rate on Thursdays since 2006 (50-40-3). However, this includes a money-losing 18-19-1 spread mark since 2012 (48.6 percent). And that mark is in line with how other home teams have done in non-Thursday games in the last eight years. On all other days since ’06, home teams have beaten the point spread at just a 48.6 percent rate (953-1,006-46).
Finally, let’s finish with a look at Over-Unders, or the total number of combined points set for each game by oddsmakers.
Since 2006, 51.2 percent of all non-Thursday games have gone OVER the total (1,012-964-39).
So what about Thursdays? After all, there have been some high-scoring Thursday games to kick off the season, and the OVER has cashed 4-of-5 times.
Overall, though, the OVER has hardly been a slam dunk on Thursday nights in the last eight years.In fact, after the Week Five Vikings-Packers game, the ledger stood at 45 Overs, 45 Unders and three pushes on Thursdays since 2006 — a coin flip.
However, if we just focus on all Thursday games since 2012, we find the OVER has hit in 23-of-38 Thursday games — a 60.5 percent clip.
So that’s why the fantasy football players are so happy on Friday mornings.
Well, at least someone is.