Bet that Goliath,
when becoming David

Dec 2, 2003 4:57 AM

While "David overcoming Goliath" occurrences are a regular part of the NFL entertainment package, there are also a fair number of outright blowouts, where the favorite puts a predictable hurting on the lowly underdog.

In theory it would seem likely that a team coming off a win in such circumstances would be overvalued since the general public would tend to look at the prior game and think that the team had proven it was worthy of favored status. It’s much easier psychologically to back a favorite on a winning streak, even laying lots of points, but the NFL history has suggested that this is usually a poor way to bet.

At the same time, we might think that the team that just got a "can of whoop ass" opened on them to use Warren Sapp’s eloquent description of a blowout, would offer good point spread value coming back.

Many bettors, one would think, would be hard pressed to put real money on a team that was just beaten soundly.

At quick glance, favorites coming back from a blowout are not effected one way or the other in the next game.

Our results show that teams winning as favorites and return the next game as road chalk are excellent go against plays.

Our records also reveal that large prior game favorites (laying 7½ or more) that won by at least 15 points have gone 38-22 as underdogs the following week.

A more important second look at the findings comes from limiting the focus to games played in the last month of the regular season. Here are some historically juicy betting areas:

...Away favorites off a 15+ win when favored from 3½ to 7 points are just 5-21 (19 percent) against the spread next out.

...Home favorites this week that won outright as favorites of 7½ or more in their last game are 49-32 (60%)

We found a few cases where a badly beaten dog shows signs of life the next week, but overall the results do not indicate there’s a lot of handicapping value here.

In December games, we found a few minor conclusions.

Home favorites off a loss as a 1-3 point dog last out are just 18-28.

Teams off a 10+ loss as a 1-3 point dog have gone 26-42.

Home favorites off a loss as a 3½-7 point dog last out are just 29-45.

Home underdogs off a loss as a 3½-7 point dog last out are 40-22.

We also found that away underdogs off 20+ point thrashing are a healthy 52-29 ATS.

In conclusion, the "post blowout" results did not provide impressive assistance to forecasting subsequent games.

However, there is basic evidence that teams off a dominant win as a favorite are suspect as road favorites, and underdogs losing badly may make amends if getting some good points.

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