GameHedge, NFL

As the Playoffs approach, it’s a good time for Hedging your NFL Tickets

NFL Playoff Bracket

Football, especially the way it is played at the professional level, is not a delicate game. Rather, it’s a dose of blunt force trauma in a world that typically goes out of its way to avoid such things.

Maybe that’s why football games are such a spectacle, requiring tens of thousands of people in the stands–and millions more watching on TV–to fully appreciate the struggle taking place on the field.

Fans who are able to pay the high prices for acquiring tickets to an NFL game expect to see their team–generally the home team–win the game. Whether it’s a blowout or a squeaker that comes down to the final play from scrimmage, the home team emerges victorious more often than not in professional football.

But what if the home team doesn’t win? That can happen too, because otherwise there’s no reason to even play the games in the first place. Look in the stands at every NFL game and you’ll find a few hardy souls who are willing to go into enemy territory and support their team.

If the home team has to lose a game in the NFL, it ought to be at the end of a close, hard-fought struggle. If the visitors kick a field goal in overtime, or make a stirring goal-line stand on fourth down in the red zone, there’s nothing to do but tip your hat and wait until you meet them again on the field.

The one result that nobody wants to see in an NFL game–save for those few hardy souls mentioned earlier–is a blowout of the home team. The kind of a game where you leave early in the third quarter, hoping to beat the rush of similarly disappointed fans with the same idea. Those are the games that you mark off the schedule as quickly as possible, and begin that long wait for the redemption that can’t come soon enough, but won’t happen before next Sunday.

There are many websites available to help fans secure tickets to see an NFL contest. And once the money changes hands, the tickets are all pretty much the same, but with one huge exception. Only GameHedge is willing to guarantee that you, as a fan, will get the kind of game you want, or half of your ticket price will be refunded to you.

The GameHedge Good Game Guarantee did not exist prior to the 2016 season, but the data for all NFL games over the past ten years paints an interesting picture as to which teams would be the most likely to trigger a payout–meaning that the home team loses by 17 points or more–and which would be the least likely.

Teams roll over in the NFL every season, and the parity of the league is such that on any given Sunday…you know the rest. But it’s worth pointing out that the top teams in the NFL over the past decade–meaning those who have won or at least played for the Lombardi Trophy–are among the least likely to send their home fans away after a blowout loss.

The NFL average over the past 10 years of NFL play is 10.65% of games ended up in a GameHedge-style blowout. This means that in a 16 game season, an NFL team will be a part, on average, of one or two such games. And with eight home games each season, an NFL team can expect to lay an egg about once in front of their own fans at home.

Take, for example, the final day of the 2010 NFL season. The Pittsburgh Steelers came into Cleveland needing a win to clinch the AFC North Division title. Colt McCoy–and you haven’t heard that name in a long time–threw a pick in the first series, Ben Roethlisberger answered with a long bomb for a touchdown, and Pittsburgh didn’t stop there. It was 31-3 at halftime, and the final score ended up being 41-9, Steelers.

If any of the Cleveland faithful in the Browns Stadium that day (it wasn’t named FirstEnergy Stadium until 2013) had felt discouraged, there wasn’t anything they could do about it. The tickets that were sold for the game had a price printed on them, and whether they commanded face value or more (or less), somebody wound up holding the back for that mess of a game. But GameHedge could have helped to lessen the financial blow by refunding half of the ticket price paid.

Cleveland, as it turns out, has triggered what would have been a GameHedge payout 11.3 percent of the time over the past ten years. Even though they have yet to host a playoff game in their “Factory of Sadness” the Browns aren’t even in the bottom five teams in the NFL on this front. The five most GameHedge-likely teams of the past decade were the Tennessee Titans (paying out on what would have been 16.0% of their home games), the Jacksonville Jaguars (17.0% payouts), Oakland Raiders (18.2% payouts), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19.3% payouts) and St. Louis Rams (21.6% payouts). At least St. Louis doesn’t have to suffer the indignity of Rams games anymore.

The teams on the other side of the ledger are the ones that are very good, year in and year out. Take the Green Bay Packers, for example. Just 3.4% of their home games ended in the type of a loss that would lead to a GameHedge payout. That’s probably 3.4% too many losses for Packers fans to accept, but it’s among the best figures in the League. The rest of the top five teams are the Pittsburgh Steelers (2.2% payouts), San Diego Chargers (3.4% payouts), New England Patriots (4.5% payouts) and Indianapolis Colts (4.5% payouts).

The bottom line is that 97% of the people who used GameHedge to acquire tickets for the 2016 baseball season were pleased with the results. That’s about the same probability that the Steelers won’t get blown out at home over the past decade. Whether your team is at or above the NFL average of 10.65% home blowouts (and this includes the Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins) or below it (including the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, and Seattle Seahawks), hedging your ticket purchases makes a lot of sense. Already this season, a fan saved $869 when the Steelers went into Indianapolis on Thanksgiving and put a 28-7 loss on them. Whatever else that fan might have been thankful for, GameHedge was almost certainly on his list.

As the regular season is winding to a close, and the demand for playoff tickets shoots through the roof, the Good Game Guarantee makes even more sense. Texas Rangers fans who paid top dollar to see their team get spanked by Toronto in Game 1 of the ALDS on October 6 were divided into two camps: those who got hundreds of dollars back from GameHedge and those who used competing websites (and you know who they are). It didn’t change the outcome of the game, but it paid for the parking and the food and drink that was purchased at the game.

Hardly anyone wants to think about the possibility of a blowout loss at home, in any sport. But the truth is that it does happen occasionally, and if it does, the Good Game Guarantee helps to ease the sting. That’s definitely something to keep in mind, as you begin thinking about where to get your playoff tickets this year.

By: R. Lincoln Harris

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