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How Do Ranked Teams Rebound After a Loss?

Ranked Teams Off Loss Records

A loss for a ranked team can stick a pin in their playoff hopes and depending on where they sit in the rankings could have them on the outside looking in the following week.

A big question is, how do you have confidence in backing this team the next time they step onto the gridiron? Was the loss just the true colors of the team or an aberration? I examined the betting records over the past few seasons for the ensuing game after a ranked team suffers a loss.

Ranked Teams Tend to win but Fail to Cover

I’m of the faith that if a top-level team takes a loss, they will bounce back in a big way in the following contest. Now, this can’t be a rule because if a team fell to Clemson and then traveled to Bryant-Denny Stadium the next week to play Alabama, well, chances are that we are going to have back-to-back defeats. That being said, the above example is a bit of an extreme and fairly unlikely circumstance and in most cases the contest following a loss would be a winnable game, especially for a ranked team.

So far in 2019, the above idea has proven true as ranked teams are 7-2 SU and ATS after a loss. However, this year is a bit of an anomaly because since the start of 2018, when a ranked team suffers a defeat, it is 63-30 SU in the followup but just 45-46-2 ATS, covering at 49.5 percent. This trend continues when we go back to the start of the 2016 season as ranked teams coming off a loss are 165-74 SU and 105-124-10 ATS, covering at 45.9 percent.

Separating Ranked and Unranked Opponents

I had to look a little deeper into these numbers to find more of an edge by seeing whether or not the next opponent was ranked. This season, ranked teams that suffered a loss and then met a ranked team in the following game have gone 1-2 SU and 1-2 ATS while going 6-0 SU and ATS against unranked teams.

Since the start of 2018, a ranked team coming off a loss is 8-8 SU and 10-4-2 ATS when its next opponent is ranked, for a cover rate of 71.4 percent. When the ranked team plays an unranked team, it is 35-42 ATS (45.5 percent). Furthermore, since 2016 against a ranked opponent after a defeat, those teams are 25-28 SU and cover at 62.5 percent (30-18-5). But against unranked teams, their ATS record is 75-106-4 (41.4 percent).

For you totals bettors, the OVER has been the play to make this season as six of the nine games in which a ranked team is coming off a loss have gone OVER. That being said, the UNDER has been the stronger play looking back at the data, with the UNDER hitting at 50.5 percent since the beginning of last season and 54.6 percent since the start of the 2016 season. When adding in ranked vs unranked teams in the next game, there wasn’t much of a difference.

The data above begs the question: Is 2019 going to be a trend-breaking year with the ranked teams covering and going OVER at a high rate? Or will history bounce back with the UNDER and fading the ranked team being the more profitable plays?