NFL Betting Trends for Wild Card Playoffs: Rematches
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 1/7/2011
Both NFC Wild Card round matchups this weekend are rematches of regular-season meetings. If that seems odd, it’s not. Last season all four Wild Card round games were rematches. The last three seasons all the AFC Wild Card round games have been rematches.
The rematches this year are between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EST and the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET.
The No. 5 seed Saints are 10.5-point favorites on the road at the NFC West champion and No. 4 seed Seattle. According to the most recent NFL point spreads. The two teams met in Week 10. In the other rematch the No. 6 seed Green Bay Packers are 2.5-point underdogs on the road at No. 3 seed Philadelphia. That game is a rematch of a Week 1 showdown in Philadelphia.
Before breaking down the previous meetings, it helps to look at the recent past of playoff rematches to see if the regular-season games have any bearing on what goes down in the playoffs. Looking at the last three seasons it is evident that what happens in the regular season usually carries over to the playoffs. Teams who won the regular-season meeting are 6-3 SU and ATS in the playoff rematch dating back to 2007.
Last season the Dallas Cowboys swept the Eagles in the regular season and then blew them out in the playoffs. The Jets shutout host Cincinnati, 37-0, in the regular season and then went on the road again in the playoffs and won at Cincinnati. Two years ago Baltimore swept Miami in the regular season and playoffs and in 2007 San Diego swept Tennessee and Jacksonville swept Pittsburgh.
There have been differences the second time around, like last season when Baltimore lost at New England in the regular season only to go to Foxborough in the playoffs and throttle the Patriots, 33-14. Also last season Green Bay crushed Arizona, 33-7, on the road but then fell, 51-45, in overtime in the postseason. But those seem to be the exception. Looking at the recent trend it is worth looking at the regular-season meeting when trying to handicap the playoffs.
Looking at the Packers/Eagles Week 1 matchup is a little trickier considering it took place more than four months ago and because Michael Vick did not start the game. But there are noteworthy things to take away from the game. Vick ran rampant over Green Bay, passing for 175 yards and running for another 103 yards. Aaron Rodgers was much less successful despite the win. He was picked off twice and sacked three times. Philadelphia was also penalized 10 times for 80 yards in the game compared to two penalties for 15 yards against Green Bay. That kind of discrepancy is unlikely to happen again. Even with all that the Eagles still had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter behind Vick. The Green Bay defense was exposed by Vick in the first meeting and it could very easily happen again on Sunday.
The Seattle/New Orleans regular-season game revealed plenty about how the teams match up against each other. In the Week 11 game played in New Orleans, the Saints were up 27-16 at halftime before pulling away and winning 34-19. But in that game Matt Hasselbeck torched the New Orleans secondary for 366 yards and a touchdown. Receivers Mike Williams and Ben Obomanu had monster games. Drew Brees also had a big day, tossing for 382 yards, but he was picked off twice. Seattle lost two fumbles in the game and sustained 55 more penalty yards than New Orleans. Overall Seattle more than held its own in New Orleans and now with the game shifting to Seattle, the Seahawks could hang with the Saints and they especially look like a solid play catching 10.5 points.
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