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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 six weeks of this NFL season, backing clubs that pulled off an overtime victory aren't exactly the best bet the following week.
Six games have gone past regulation this season, as the Bills are the most recent team to win in overtime, rallying past the Cardinals in Week 6. Buffalo returns home to battle Tennessee this Sunday, looking for a third victory in the favorite role this season. The Titans are coming off a last-second triumph over the Steelers as a home underdog, as Tennessee tries to win its first road game in four tries.
This season, the Vikings, Chiefs, Jets, Titans, and Cardinals 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.
The Cardinals put together a putrid performance in a Week 5 defeat as short road favorites at St. Louis, mustering just a field goal in a 17-3 defeat. Arizona had pulled off an overtime victory over Miami the previous week, but Ken Whisenhunt's club is now 0-3 ATS in the 'chalk' role.
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? Twelve of the last 16 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.