About a year ago, we received a question from a reader asking how NFL teams perform against the spread the week after getting blown out.
The term “blowout,” of course, has a loose definition, but for the purposes of this post we defined it as any loss by 21 or more points.
As we noted back then, there are two possible thought processes a bettor might take when a team gets blown out:
- If the team is perceived to be good (Patriots, Giants, Steelers, etc.), most bettors will probably think the blowout loss was a fluke performance and that the team will be angry and want to destroy the opponent in its next game.
- If it’s the opposite, and a team like the Jaguars, Titans or Raiders get destroyed, that only reinforces the public opinion that those teams stink, and bettors will be looking to go against them in the following game.
In the first scenario, oddsmakers are likely one step ahead of bettors and will favor the losing team in its next game, maybe even by a point or two more than they would normally.
In the second scenario, the exact opposite likely occurs. Not only will the team that got blown out be an underdog the next week, but quite often by a lot of points.
NFL TEAMS COMING OFF 21+ POINT LOSSES, SINCE 2002
Total: 247-218-11 ATS (.531)
As a favorite: 73-76-4 ATS (.490)
As an underdog: 172-138-7 ATS (.555)
As you can see, overall it’s a slightly profitable betting angle, but it’s obviously a much better play if the team is an underdog in its next game instead of a favorite.
The Titans have sort of took this betting theory to the woodshed in 2012, however, with all four of their losses coming by at least 21 points. Coming off a 30-7 loss at Minnesota in Week 5, Tennessee is now a 5-point underdog at home against Pittsburgh on Thursday Night Football.
Here are all four teams that fit this betting criteria in the coming weeks:
Bills: Lost 45-3 at San Francisco in Week 5 | +5 at Arizona in Week 6
Jaguars: Lost 41-3 vs. Buffalo in Week 5 | Bye in Week 6, will be underdogs at Oakland in Week 7
Raiders: Lost 37-6 at Denver in Week 4 | +9 at Atlanta in Week 6
Titans: Lost 30-7 at Minnesota in Week 5 | +5 vs. Pittsburgh in Week 6