Last year on “My Guys in the Desert” with Brent Musburger, Vinny Magliulo and Amal Shah, we regularly discussed same-season rematches in the NFL and how important they become in the second half of the season in sorting out the playoff picture. As you might expect, teams that typically fare best in rematch games against divisional foes tend to wind up in the postseason.
Having just passed the halfway point of the regular season, this is a good time to look at this key factor, which will likely again decide division titles. If they haven’t already, most teams will be playing divisional opponents for a second time, and how they fare could have a huge impact on their postseason outlook. As of Sunday, only nine of the 48 same-season rematch games had been played, so plenty of opportunities still exist to take advantage of the findings I will detail.
I will look at each team’s recent history in same-season rematches in more depth here, but for now, just by looking at the results chart, you can make a couple of judgments. First, teams that have won many divisional titles recently — the teams of the decade, if you will — rank very high in the league in terms of success in these games. Note teams like New England, Green Bay, Seattle and Pittsburgh. Their ability to adjust to opponents the second time around has been paramount to their
overall success. Not coincidentally, these franchises have enjoyed coaching stability as well. Second, most teams that have struggled with consistent quarterback play recently are at the bottom of our chart, such as the Jets, Washington, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Chicago.
Before getting into each of the team-specific trends you’ll want to take advantage of down the stretch, here are five 61% leaguewide systems that might be worthy of your betting dollar. How about the simple fact that since 2010, 53.8% of second games between teams have gone Under the total? Note that our database included games from
2010 through last weekend (Week 10) and, due to playoffs, in some cases included third matchups.
Same-Season Rematch System 1
In same-season playoff rematches, play on the team that played on the road in the previous meeting. (Record: 31- 15-2 ATS since 2010, 67.4%, 14.5 Units, 31.5% ROI, Grade: 62)
Same-Season Rematch System 2
In same-season rematches, play on teams that lost on the road by fewer than seven points in the previous meeting. (Record: 59-32-1 ATS, 64.8%, 23.8 Units, 26.2% ROI, Grade: 70)
Same-Season Rematch System 3
In same-season rematches, play on road teams that scored 35 or more in the previous meeting. (Record: 30 -19 ATS, 61.2%, 9.1 Units, 18.6% ROI, Grade: 54)
Same-Season Rematch System 4
In same-season rematches, play against any team whose line has swung more than 10 points toward it from the initial game’s closing line — for example, team favored by 5 points after being 5.5-point dog or more in the first game. (Record: 20-9-1 ATS since 2013, 68.9%, 10.1 Units, 34.8% ROI, Grade: 56)
Same-Season Rematch System 5
In same-season rematches, play on the road team when there are at least 10 weeks between the initial contest and the rematch. (Record: 50-29
ATS since 2015, 63.3%, 18.1 Units, 22.9% ROI, Grade: 62)
Same -Season Rematch Team Reports
The Cardinals have surprisingly been one of the best teams in the league in same-season rematches on the road, having gone 10-1 ATS in their L11.
Coincidentally, all three of the pre -scheduled rematch games this season will be on the road, starting with Sunday’s contest in San Francisco. Also, Arizona is 14-3 Over the total when it failed to score 21 points in the previous matchup and 10-0 Under when it eclipsed the 21-point mark.
The Falcons are on a 13-3-1 Under -the-total run in same-season rematch games. They have also gone Under in nine straight rematches when the initial game also went Under the total. Keep in mind that the Falcons and Saints went Under on Sunday, and the rematch is scheduled for Thanksgiving night in Atlanta.
The Ravens have been a brutal cover team at home in same-season rematch games, going 2 -12 ATS since 2010. But they have balanced the scales with a 7-1 ATS run in the same games on the road.
The 20-point scoring benchmark in the first game is key, as Baltimore is 2 - 9 ATS in its L11 rematch games when it failed to hit that scoring mark in the first game and 13-8 ATS when it did. The Ravens have rebounded very well off a rough defensive performance in the previous outing, going 7-1 ATS in the rematch game when an opponent topped 24 points.
The Bills are on a 2-8 SU and 3- 6-1 ATS slide in same-season rematch games. In second games against the Jets and Patriots over the L3 years, they are 0 -6 SU and 1 - 5 ATS. Those games are scheduled for the final two weeks of the regular season. Buffalo has to hope its playoff chances aren’t hinging.
The Panthers have generally struggled in same-season rematch games, going 8 -13 ATS in their L21. They are also struggling in the rematch game when having lost the initial contest by four points or more, with a 3-9 SU and 4-8 ATS record in that scenario. Keep an eye on Dec. 8, as the Panthers have lost four straight rematch games against the Falcons by a combined score of 99-49.
The Bears won their final three same- season rematch games last year to break an ugly 2 - 16 SU and 5-12-1 ATS trend. Still, they are just 1 -7 SU and 3-5 ATS in their L8 rematch games at home, and they have been particularly bad when they lose the initial game, going 2-11 SU and 4-8-1 ATS in revenge mode.
The Bengals have lost their L4 same-season rematch games outright but are on a 7 -1 ATS run in that situation overall. But interesting breakdowns by opponent are evident. Against the Browns and Ravens, Cincinnati is on a 12-2 ATS winning surge since December 2012. However, against Pittsburgh, Cincy has gone just 1-9 SU and 3-7 ATS since 2010.
The Browns have won just four of their 27 same-season rematch games since 2010 and are only
2-9-1 ATS in their L12. Included in that 27-game span is a 0-9 SU and 2-6-1 ATS record in their L9 revenge spots and 0-9 SU and 1-7-1 ATS when having lost by 14 points or more.
Dallas won its three same- season rematches in 2018, plus one already in 2019 against the Giants, stretching its winning streak in such contests to a league-best eight games (7-1 ATS). The Cowboys have done a great job adjusting offensively, averaging 28.9 PPG during the streak while hitting 30- plus points six times. They have also gone Over the total in the L5. Dallas will likely need to secure wins over Philadelphia and Washington to capture the 2019 NFC East crown.
The Broncos have lost their second matchups versus divisional foes six straight times while going 1-5 ATS. Strangely enough, they have struggled most when beating the opponent the first time around, going 2-7 SU and 1-8 ATS in the rematch contest. They are 7-1-1 Under in that set of games, scoring just 13.6 PPG. Dating to 2013, Denver is 11 -2-1 Under the total in rematches of games they won.
In terms of point -spread success in same-season rematch games, few teams are worse than the Lions, as they are on an 8 -18 ATS slide. They have been futile at home, going 3-9 ATS in their L12 opportunities. A sign of the inability to make proper adjustments, Detroit is just 2-10 SU and ATS in rematch games when it lost the opener. That said, the Lions are also on a 5-1 ATS surge in Game 2 when they won Game 1. With that in mind, it doesn’t look good down the stretch, as the Lions already lost to Green Bay, Minnesota and Chicago.
Part of the reason Mike McCarthy is no longer around is that he lost his final five same-season rematch games, both SU and ATS. The Packers were shut out twice at home in that span and averaged just 9 PPG in all.
Houston is on a 13 -4 Under run in same- season rematch games on the road. The Texans have also gone just 2-9 SU and 3-7 -1 ATS in their L11 same-season rematches when they lose the initial matchup.
As you can see from the chart, Indianapolis has been the NFL’s top team for in- season rematch games in terms of ATS success. The Colts won their final three tries of the 2018 season in that scenario. At home, they are an incredible 18 - 3 SU and 15-5-1 ATS in rematch games over the last nine-plus seasons. The Colts have been an incredible Under team on totals as well in these rematch contests,
going Under the total in 26 of their L32, holding opponents to 24 or fewer points 28 times.
Jacksonville has not lost a home same-season rematch game against the spread since 2012, going 7-1 SU and 7-0-1 ATS in that span. You should know, then, that the Jaguars will be hosting the Colts in the season finale.
After riding a 13-game (10-3 ATS) winning streak in same-season rematch games into 2018, the Chiefs were just 1-2 SU and ATS in their final three tries last year, including the AFC championship game loss to New England. Strangely enough, they continue to ride a winning streak in such games on the road, 4-0 SU and ATS. Typically the Chiefs have been better in a rematch when they scored well in the initial contest, 3- 8 SU and ATS when scoring 21 or fewer points, 15-4 SU and 12-7 ATS when topping that mark.
From 2014-17, the Chargers were known as a team that tended to crumble down the stretch, and their 2-10 record in same- season rematch games reflected it. Since then, they have won five straight games in that scenario, both SU and ATS, holding opponents to 14 PPG. They have been a huge Under team in same-season rematch games, going 16-5 Under the total in their L21, including six straight versus Oakland. Unders have also been the norm in the rematch when the Chargers have lost the first of two games, 12-3 Under in the second. Incidentally, the Raiders rematch comes Dec. 22.
Sign of a good coach — the ability to adjust to an opponent the second time around. The Rams are
6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in the two years under Sean McVay in rematch games. The biggest of those was the NFC championship game in January. The offense was anemic in same-season rematch games under Jeff Fisher, as the Rams scored just 11.4 PPG in such contests before McVay arrived. Since then, they have put up 32.6 PPG in three such contests. The games against the 49ers and Seahawks later this season will be revenge contests.
The Dolphins haven’t done a whole lot well lately, but they are on a 7-3 SU and 6-3-1 ATS surge
in same-season rematch games. One interesting trend finds that when Miami goes over the total in an initial contest, Over the total is on a 7 - 1-1 run in the second game as well. Those trends collide Sunday when Miami hosts Buffalo. Similarly, the Fins have gone Over in six straight rematch games when they scored 24 points or more in the initial contest.
The Vikings have been a hot team in same- season rematch games lately, going 18-6-1 ATS in their L25 tries, good for a 75% winning percentage.
They have been particularly tough against the Lions, 6-3 SU and 8-1 ATS in their L9 rematches. Going up to Minneapolis for rematch contests has been extremely tough, as the Vikings are on an 11-3 SU and 10 -3-1 ATS stretch since ’12. Revenge- type rematches have also brought out the best in the Vikings of late, as they are on an impressive 11-3 ATS run when having lost the initial matchup. With that in mind, the revenge contests against the Packers and Bears will come at home in the season’s final two weeks.
For as good as the Patriots have been recently, the same-season rematch reflects it, 9-2 SU and 8- 3 ATS in the L11. Naturally, coming to New England in a late-season rematch game has proved difficult, with coach Bill Belichick’s team boasting a 17-3 SU and 13-6-1 ATS record since 2010. They’ve also gone Under the total in seven of their L8 such games, holding opponents to a minuscule 9.6 PPG.
The Saints are riding a seven-game ATS winning streak in revenge-type rematch games and will have the Thanksgiving night contest versus the Falcons circled on the calendar. Similarly, they are on an impressive 11 -2 ATS run in their L13 same-season rematch games in which they were held to fewer than 27 points. Conversely, when New Orleans has won the opening game against a team by four or more points, it is just
5-11 ATS in the rematch since 2011. The first chance to test that trend comes Sunday in Tampa.
Although it won’t matter this season, the Giants are
a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS in same-season rematch playoff games. Furthermore, they are 8-3 ATS in their L11 games of this type in Week 17 and beyond. New York has proved dangerous on the road as well, going
7-3 ATS in its L10. If that weren’t enough to go on, in revenge circumstances when having lost by 10 or fewer, the Giants are on an impressive 9-4 SU and 11-2 ATS run.
The Jets have gone 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS in same-season rematch games at home lately and will host the Dolphins on Dec. 8. But that success is masked by a brutal 3-10 SU and 3-8-2 ATS mark in similar road games. They have also been bad in revenge spots, 2-7 SU and ATS in their L9.
All of the Raiders’ L12 same-season rematch games have gone Under the total, as they’ve put up just 14.6 PPG. They have really struggled against the Chiefs in the latter of two season matchups, going 0-6 SU and
1-5 ATS in the L6. They travel to Kansas City on Dec. 1. Elsewhere, winning or losing an initial season matchup against a team has produced definitive trends for the Raiders — 8-0 Under off a loss, 2-7 SU and ATS when having won.
I really struggled to find any discernible trends regarding the Eagles’ recent same-season rematch games. They have lost their L4 games ATS when having scored more than 30 points in the initial contest. This will apply to the Dec. 15 contest versus Washington, a team they beat 32-27 in the season opener.
The Steelers have been a fantastic team in same-season rematch games, as illustrated on the chart, going 19-12-2 ATS since 2010. However, they have struggled against the Vegas number a lot of late, going 2-6-1 ATS in the L9 despite going 8-1 SU. Coach Mike Tomlin’s team has proved extremely good when bouncing back from a weak offensive performance against an opponent, going 11-3 SU and 10- 4 ATS while scoring 26.4 PPG in the follow-up contest to outings in which they were held to 19 or fewer.
Recent 49ers same-season rematch games have generally hinged on how well they fared offensively in the initial outing against an opponent. When scoring 27 points or more, San Francisco is on an 8-2 SU and 6-3-1 ATS run in the rematch. In games in which they failed to reach 27 points in the opener, the 49ers are just 8-14 SU and 7-15 ATS.
One of the best signs of a good coach is how a team can adjust to an opponent the second time around. After a fantastic run in this regard, Pete Carroll’s team has been slipping of late. After winning nine straight same-season rematch contests through 2015, the Seahawks are just 6-8 SU and 5-9 ATS since. They have lost their L4 ATS at home as well, allowing 31.5 PPG. Seattle has been a great revenge team dating to 2010, though, compiling a 9 -4 SU and 10-3 ATS record in the L13 games in which it was avenging an earlier loss.
The Buccaneers have won just four of their L18 same-season rematch games, going 8-10 ATS in the process. They have been particularly bad on the road, losing their L6 by an average of 14.3 PPG. The worst matchup has been against the Saints, whom the Bucs face Sunday, as they are just 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS in the L8.
The Titans have turned things around recently in same-season rematch games, going 5-2 SU and ATS in their L7. That is a major reason they’ve been able to qualify for the playoffs in back-to -back years. Before that, they had gone just 2-14-1 ATS in 17 previous rematch games. Even with the recent overall success, you’re not going to want to touch Tennessee on the road in same-season rematch games, as they are just 3- 10 SU and 2-10 - 1 ATS since 2011. They will face the Colts on Dec. 1 and the Texans on Dec. 29 in this scenario.
The Redskins have lost their last seven same - season rematch games both SU and ATS and don’t figure to improve much this season with their dismal offensive showing thus far. Along that line, you’ll want to look for the initial games against opponents when Washington scores 20 or fewer points, as the Redskins have followed that by going just 1-15 SU and 5-11 ATS in the rematch. This will apply for sure to the Giants contest on Dec. 22.