Because each of the NFL’s 32 teams plays its division opponent twice, there are 96 pre-scheduled rematch games on the NFL schedule each season out of 272 total games. That makes up more than 35% of all games, making it crucial to know the ins and outs of handicapping these same-season rematch games. Note that last critical adjective: same-season. This data only includes games played against a team a second (or third in case of playoffs) time in a given season.
The decision to increase the playoff field to seven teams in each conference recently made for an increased level of competition for the final spots and positioning. This year it figures to be as heightened as ever as through 10 weeks, only one division race appears to be locked up, that being the NFC North. Furthermore, in the AFC, there are eight teams within three games of one another for in the race for the three wild-card spots. In the NFC, there are just as many teams in play for the second and third wild-card spots. Simply put, there is a lot left to be determined in the season’s final eight weeks. So, what will eventually separate the teams and clarify the playoff picture? Well, in short, it could be the same-season rematch games, and I’m here to share some key trends and betting systems you should consider as you analyze these key clashes.
A couple of readers were angry with me last year for waiting to present this study until Week 16, thus missing out on many of the rematches. This season, only seven have been played, including three last weekend. This week’s NFL slate offers up the biggest group of games so far, four, so this is a good time to release the info. These are the games for the upcoming Sunday that will be rematches:
— Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: PIT won in Week 1, 23-20
— Kansas City at L.A. Chargers: KC won in Week 2, 27-24
— Las Vegas at Denver: LV won in Week 4, 32-23
— N.Y. Jets at New England: NE won in Week 8, 22-17
Like any situational form of analysis, naturally there are teams that perform better than others in the same-season rematch scenario. There are also teams (and coaches) that are better or worse at adjusting to an opponent the second time around depending on whether they won or lost in the first outing. Take a look at this chart that details the same season rematch records of all the teams in the NFL from 2012 through the games of Week 10.
I’ve highlighted the best and worst teams in the league in various scenarios. Some of the teams that have performed best have been the Chiefs, Vikings and Saints, while teams including the Jets, Raiders, Bears and Browns have struggled in rematches. Use the chart over the next couple of months to spot opportunities to take advantage of these tendencies.
Of course, while the chart will help you in analyzing head-to-head matchups for the rest of the season, it might be most effective for readers if I pointed out some of the best info from my analysis. Here are some of the top team trends I uncovered.
Best NFL rematch teams lately
— Cincinnati: 9-9 SU but 16-2 ATS last 18 rematch opportunities
— Dallas: 13-3 SU and 12-4 ATS since ’17
— Detroit: 9-1 ATS run in rematches
— New Orleans: 10-1 SU and ATS run
— San Francisco: 9-4 SU and 10-3 ATS last 13
— Tennessee: 15-4 SU and 13-6 ATS surge
Worst NFL rematch teams lately
— Arizona: 3-11 SU and 4-10 ATS skid last 14
— Carolina: 11-18 SU and 9-20 ATS in rematches since ’14
— Chicago: 1-9 ATS last 10
— Cleveland: lengthy 6-23-1 ATS rematch skid last 30
— Denver: 2-13 SU and 5-10 ATS last 15 tries
— N.Y. Jets: 4-15 SU and 6-12-1 ATS skid
— Philadelphia: just 2-7 SU and 1-7-1 ATS last nine rematch games
Best NFL HOME rematch teams lately
— Buffalo: 10-4 SU and ATS last 14 home rematches, scoring 30.1 ppg.
— Cincinnati: 10-2 ATS last 12 home rematch opportunities
— Jacksonville: 9-4 SU and 10-2-1 ATS last 13 home rematches
Worst NFL HOME rematch teams lately
— Arizona: brutal 3-9 SU and 1-11 ATS home stretch
— Baltimore: 1-6 ATS last 7 rematch home games
— Carolina: Nov. 10 win vs. Atlanta snapped nine-game ATS home skid
— Chicago: 1-9 SU and 3-7 ATS last 10
— Cleveland: Lost last 12 home rematch games ATS! (4-8 SU)
— Washington: Current 7-game SU losing streak (1-6 ATS)
Best NFL ROAD rematch teams lately
— Baltimore: 13-2 ATS last 15 rematch road games
— Chicago: 1-7 ATS last 8
— Cincinnati: Won last 8 road rematches ATS
— L.A. Rams: 7-2 SU and 8-1 ATS in last nine on road
— New Orleans: Nine SU wins in a row, 14-1 ATS last 15 on road
— San Francisco: 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS last eight
Worst NFL ROAD rematch teams lately
— Denver: 10 straight outright road rematch losses (2-8 ATS)
— Houston: 2-7 SU and 1-8 ATS last nine road rematches
— Jacksonville: ugly 1-16 SU and 6-11 ATS road rematch skid
— Las Vegas: 2-9 SU and ATS in last 11
— New England: surprising 5-11 SU and 4-12 ATS record last 16
Best NFL REVENGE teams lately
— Detroit: current 8-1 ATS run in revenge opportunities
— New Orleans: 7-3 SU and 10-0 ATS streak in revenge games
Worst NFL REVENGE teams lately
— Chicago: 3-15 SU and 5-12-1 ATS in last 18 revenge tries
— Cleveland: 2-10 SU and 1-10-1 ATS last 12 revenge games
— Green Bay: 1-6 SU and ATS in last seven revenge attempts
— Indianapolis: 2-8 ATS skid in revenge mode
— Pittsburgh: 4-7 SU and 3-8 ATS last 11 revenge, including 0-4 SU and ATS last four
Best NFL teams in rematches after winning last game lately
— Cincinnati: 9-2 SU and ATS in last 11 follow-up games, including last seven ATS
— Dallas: on 9-2 SU and ATS run following up h2h series win
— San Francisco: 7-1 SU and ATS last 8
— Tampa Bay: Six straight outright and ATS wins
Worst NFL teams in rematches after winning last game lately
— Carolina: six straight outright losses, 2-11 ATS last 13
— Denver: 3-9 SU and 2-10 ATS in last 12 facing team in beat last
High-scoring rematch teams
— Kansas City: 11-3 OVER run
— Minnesota: OVER in last seven rematch games
— Dallas: 12 straight OVERs in home rematch games
Low-scoring rematch teams
— Indianapolis: 12-3 UNDER run in home rematch games
— Las Vegas: 12-3 UNDER in last 15 road rematches, scoring 14.7 ppg.
Noteworthy NFL head-to-head second-time (and third-time) around trends
— Baltimore: 6-1 SU and ATS last seven rematches vs. Cleveland
— Buffalo: 10-0 ATS streak vs. Miami and New England since 12/31/17
— Cincinnati: 9-0 ATS streak vs. CLE, 5-0 ATS streak vs. PIT
— Dallas: Eight straight rematch OVERs vs. WAS, scoring 35.8 ppg.
— Houston: 13 straight UNDERs vs. IND, also 2-11-1 ATS in last 14
— Jacksonville: 7-1 ATS last eight rematch games vs. Indianapolis
— Kansas City: Nine straight rematch wins vs. Raiders (7-2 ATS)
— New England: 6-0 SU and ATS second-time around run vs. NYJ, allowing a mere 6.5 ppg.
— New Orleans: 6-1 SU and 7-0 ATS run vs. Atlanta
— Tennessee: 5-0 SU and ATS run vs. Jacksonville
All of the trends above have been team-specific betting angles. The remaining five are league-wide systems that you’ll need to fit teams into.
1. TEAMS THAT WON by 21 or more points in the opening game between teams are 74-21 SU and 61-34 ATS (64.2%) in the rematch
I was somewhat surprised to see a winning record this definitive on a trend of this nature in the NFL, as point spreads are usually an equalizer in such scenarios. However, it seems that the talent disparity in such mismatches just can’t be accounted for enough. From a coaching standpoint, losing games by 21 or more points to an opponent requires more than the usual allotment of adjustments for the second time around.
2. In rematch games where point spreads have changed by 17 points or more from the prior contest, the team that the line moved favorably toward is on a 37-1 SU and 27-11 ATS (71.1%) run
This is somewhat rare, but there are a lot of extenuating circumstances that can go into a line between two teams in a game being 17 points or greater different than the last meeting, such as home/road locale change, injuries, momentum, etc., but the bottom line is this: Oddsmakers have set the table for bettors in the second game, as the team whose season has gone better has taken care of business, and handily.
3. Teams that lost the prior game to an opponent but now have a record 20% or better outright have gone 36-12 SU and 31-17 ATS (64.6%) in the rematch
This system details situations in which one team’s season has progressed a lot more favorably than the other’s despite the earlier season loss. This says a lot about the power of momentum in the NFL, as well as how the additional revenge factor can motivate a superior team. This angle will be in play on Sunday for the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game.
4. Teams playing on the road in revenge mode and averaging 28.0 ppg. or more offensively have gone 17-7 SU and 19-6 ATS (76%) in their last 25 revenge tries
This is somewhat similar to No. 3 above but adds an offensive prowess angle to the revenge situation. These vengeful teams are also on the road, suggesting they are getting some line value from oddsmakers. This proves how hard it is to beat an explosive team twice in a row.
5. BONUS PLAYOFF SYSTEM: Teams that lost the prior same-season game versus an opponent are on a 6-9 SU and 4-11 ATS (26.7%) skid in the playoffs when hosting that same opponent
Confidence seems to come in playoff games from having beaten the opponent in the previous game. Most of the time, teams playing at home in the playoffs are favored as well. When you add the motivation of being an underdog in a postseason game to a team you beat last time, that’s even better. With the huge number of teams that are still in the playoff hunt and relatively evenly matched this season, there is a great chance we’ll see multiple opportunities to take advantage of this angle in the 2023 playoffs. This happened four times last season and the hosts were just 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS.