NFL Teams Before & After Playing Last Year’s Super Bowl Winner

I am a big believer in motivational factors when trying to predict the outcome of a game. That’s why I set out to see how teams have fared when they play the defending Super Bowl champion in the NFL.

There’s no question that teams get up for certain teams and don’t get up for others. It seemed obvious to me that teams would get up to play the defending Super Bowl champion every year because that is a great way to measure how good that team really is.

Knowing this, I figured that teams would struggle the week before playing the Super Bowl champ, also known as a lookahead spot. I don’t expect that they give the previous opponent their full attention as they’ll be looking ahead to a bigger game the next week.

I also felt confident that teams who play the Super Bowl champ would struggle the next week as well. This is also known as a hangover effect. No matter who the next opponent is, it’s not going to be as big of a game as playing the Super Bowl champ. Therefore, it’s hard to get emotionally recharged for the next game.

It makes sense to me in theory that teams would struggle the week prior to and after facing the Super Bowl champ. However, I wanted to run the data for all Super Bowl-winning teams dating back to 1989 and find out how teams have fared against them. Let’s take a look at what I have found.

Situation SU Wins SU Losses SU Pushes SU Win %
As Dog 114 237 0 32.48%
As Favorite 236 141 1 62.43%
On Deck 183 190 0 49.06%
Previous 176 199 1 46.81%
Situation ATS Wins ATS Losses ATS Pushes ATS Win %
As Dog 162 180 9 46.15%
As Favorite 172 199 7 45.50%
On Deck 174 191 8 46.65%
Previous 168 200 8 44.68%

After doing the research, I was very happy to see that my theory was proven correct. Teams struggled both before and after playing the previous year’s Super Bowl winner. I didn’t expect it to be this drastic, but it has turned out to be a very profitable move to fade these teams.

With the Super Bowl winner on deck, teams went just 174-191-8 (46.65%) ATS. That means going against these teams would have produced 53.35 percent winners. As long as you understand sports betting, you know that hitting at this percentage over time will turn a nice profit.

However, the real money has been made when fading teams the week after playing the previous year’s Super Bowl winner. These teams have gone 168-200 (44.68%) ATS the next week. Fading these teams would have netted you 55.32 percent winners since 1989, which over the long haul is a tremendous percentage.

It is also worth noting that it has been profitable to fade these teams on the money line. With the Super Bowl champ on deck, teams went a combined 183-190 (49.06%) straight up. Again, these teams were worse off the week after playing the Super Bowl winner, going 176-199-1 (46.81%) straight up.

I did not find much of a correlation as to whether the team was an underdog or a favorite. Both were very profitable to fade as underdogs went a combined 162-180-9 (46.15%) ATS, while favorites went a combined 172-199-7 (45.50%) ATS. It makes sense to me that the favorites did slightly worse considering it’s harder to cover as a favorite than it is as an underdog in these tough lookahead and hangover situations.

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