Deciding on which team to bet on in an NFL game isn’t just about handicapping and evaluating the two teams competing.
There’s a third factor that we should always consider; the referee.
Penalties play a massive role in the outcome of games, especially those that come down to a play or two. A referee could literally make the difference in the outcome.
With this weekend’s NFC Championship game predicted to be a close on (the spread is set at 2.5 in favor of the Eagles), we should certainly take a look at who the referee is.
The referee for the NFC Championship is a man by the name of John Hussey, and based on his historical results, that gives an edge to the Eagles.
Let’s take a look at why.
John Hussey’s Referee Stats
Based on the numbers provided by Pro Football Reference, he has favored home teams on a consistent basis dating back to 2016.
Here is how often he has called penalties against home teams, related to the league average, since 2018:
2018: -5.31%2019: -5.17%2020: -0.77%2021: -0.44%2022: -0.58%
In total this season, in 16 games he refereed, he called 68 penalties on the home team and 78 penalties on the away team.
As a result, home teams have had a higher win percentage compared to the league average dating all the way back to 2016. Let’s take a look at the home team win percentage in games refed by Hussey over the year.
2016: +0.11%2017: +0.6%2018: +0.29%2019: +0.04%2020: +0.03%2021: +0.19%2022: +0.13%
That’s right. Since 2016, home teams have had an increased likelihood of winning compared to the league-average referee. That’s consistency.
Home teams are also 55-39-3 against the spread during that time span, for a cover rate 59%. Home teams are also 11-5 straight up and against the spread in Hussey-refed games this season.
He was the referee for one Eagles game this season. It was in their 26-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys. In the game, he called 10 penalties for 72 yards against the Cowboys, and only two penalties for 10 yards against the Eagles.
He also refed one game involving the 49ers. It was their October 30th game against the Los Angeles Rams which resulted in a 31-14 victory for the 49ers. He called three penalties for eight yards against the 49ers, and five penalties for 50 yards against the Rams.
If there’s an edge to be had in the referee department for the NFC Championship, it goes to the Eagles.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.