By Kevin Rogers
Momentum is a funny notion in sports as fans think that teams coming off a win will perform well again the next game. What about if the previous contest went to overtime? Looking back through the first four weeks of this NFL season, backing clubs that pulled off an overtime victory aren't exactly the best bet the following week.
Five games have gone past regulation this season, as the Cardinals are the most recent team to win in overtime, rallying past the Dolphins in Week 4. Arizona grabbed its fifth overtime triumph since last November, which is by far the most in the NFL, but teams off an OT win this season own a dreadful 0-4 SU/ATS record in the next game. The Cardinals head to St. Louis on a short week this Thursday, as Ken Whisenhunt's club was never favored following a victory in the extra session in 2011, while posting a 2-1 SU/ATS mark.
This season, the Vikings, Chiefs, Jets, and Titans all failed to cover and lost outright after capturing an overtime win. We'll look at each case one by one, starting with Minnesota, who beat Jacksonville in the season opener, while actually having to stop the Jags' offense on fourth down to knock them off in OT. The Vikings traveled to Indianapolis the following week and closed as three-point road favorites, but the Colts picked up a 23-20 win.
In Week 3, three teams went the extra mile for a win, including the first of the season for Kansas City and Tennessee. The Chiefs rallied from a 24-6 deficit at New Orleans to shock the Saints, 27-24 as nine-point underdogs. Romeo Crennel's team went home and was immediately blasted by the Chargers, 37-20 as short underdogs. The Titans held off the Lions in a wild 44-41 affair in Nashville, but couldn't follow up big play after big play in Houston the next week. The Texans crushed the Titans as 13-point favorites, 38-14, as Tennessee was never really in the game, while quarterback Jake Locker got knocked out with a shoulder injury.
The Jets couldn't build momentum off an overtime victory at Miami, as New York's anemic offense was exposed in a 34-0 home defeat to San Francisco. There seems to be barely any value in backing these overtime winners even as an underdog, as the Jets, Chiefs, and Titans all were receiving points (granted against significantly better competition), but San Diego and San Francisco were also off of double-digit losses.
Dating back to last season, teams off an overtime victory playing without a bye week finished 4-7 ATS. Arizona was responsible for two of those covers, including one as a 13½-point underdog at Philadelphia in an outright win. In Tim Tebow's first start for the Broncos at Miami, Denver pulled off an improbable comeback for an 18-15 overtime shocker. The next week, the Broncos were steamrolled as three-point home underdogs against the Lions, 45-10.
Is this merely a coincidence or is this turning into a trend? Eleven of the last 15 overtime winners not off a bye have failed to cover the following week since the start of 2011, so you be the judge heading into Thursday and moving forward this season.