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Imagine breaking out your bankroll and laying $40,000 on the Rams +13 against the Saints this week. The Saints are fresh off a 62-7 drubbing of the Colts while the hapless Rams have had the most impotent offense in the NFL this season. Betting the Rams just seems so. . . hard.

Well, that’s frequently the case with double digit underdogs. And that’s why, over the long term, betting on double digit dogs has proven to be a profitable strategy. Beyond the Bets has a good post today on double digit dogs and the academic studies that have helped highlight their value. Well, our database, which dates back to 1988 (longer than the studies analyzed), shows that double digit underdogs are 415-351 ATS for a 54.17% cover rate. That, of course, clears the profitability hurdle for a bettor laying -110 on each game. Better yet, double digit home underdogs are 74-51 for a 59.2% win rate. By the way, the St. Louis Rams are getting 13 points at home from the New Orleans Saints this week.

Think about it like the stock market; you want to buy low and sell high. The Saints just beat a team by 55 points. It’s hard to get much higher than that. The Rams, meanwhile, are averaging less than 10 points a game. It’s hard to get much lower than that. So while your emotions are telling you to buy the Saints and sell the Rams, it’s the equivalent of buying high and selling low in the stock market.

In March of 2009, the Dow Jones average was crashing on the way down to 7,114. Taking money  out of your savings account to buy stocks felt like just about the worst thing you could do. But it  wasn’t. The Dow Jones average is now up nearly 70% from that March bottom – the point at which  it felt the most difficult to buy.

Double digit underdogs are the perfect reflection of Warren Buffett’s famous stock market advice –  be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy. Everyone is afraid to bet the  Rams. And double digit favorites matched up against NFL doormats like the Ravens against the  Cardinals(+12.5) and the Giants against the Dolphins(+10) make amateur bettors lick their chops at the money they’re going to make. Indeed, they have the money spent in their mind as soon as they call their man to get down on the big chalk laying the big number.

But don’t fall for it.

Over the long term, there is value in double digit dogs in the NFL. Bet against them sparingly if you want to stay in this business.

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