NFL Playoffs Betting Tip: Finding Over/Under Value in Rematches From Regular Season

NFL Playoffs Betting Tip: Finding Over/Under Value in Rematches From Regular Season article feature image

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees

  • Sunday's AFC and NFC Championship Games are both rematches of regular-season games.
  • Using our Bet Labs software, we analyze how playoff rematches, like Rams-Saints (3:05 p.m. ET, FOX) and Patriots-Chiefs (6:40 p.m. ET, CBS), offer value to bettors.

We’ve got two juicy NFL conference championship games this week, each of which pits non-divisional teams against one another in rematches from the regular season.

Regular-season scheduling protocols assure divisional rematches each season, but never non-divisional ones. We only get to see non-divisional teams face off a second time during the playoffs.

In this article, we’ll be examining over/under trends in such rematches using our Bet Labs software. New England and Kansas City met in Foxboro in Week 6 — and that game went over its Vegas total — while the Saints and Rams faced off in New Orleans in Week 9 — and that game also went over.

Even more impressively, both games exceeded 80 combined points scored. Should we expect similarly high-octane offensive performances in their playoff rematches?

Timing Matters

Historically, non-divisional conference postseason rematches do, in fact, trend toward the over. When the teams’ regular-season match goes over its Vegas total, their playoff rematch boasts an over record of 29-20-2 (59.2%) in all postseason games and 8-6-1 (53.3%) in conference championship games.

However, the timing of their regular-season meeting does seem to have an effect on playoff results. When teams meet in the first half of the regular season, their rematch has gone over in 14 of 27 (51.9%) postseason games.

In contrast, when teams meet in the second half of the regular season, their rematch has an impressive over record of 15-8-1 (62.5%).

Teams that play later in the season are likely more familiar with one another during the playoffs. Alternatively, when teams play early in the season, those matchups may not accurately reflect current playoff rotations, coaching changes, scheme changes or major personnel injuries.

For example, when the Chiefs and Patriots played in Week 6, Kansas City still had Kareem Hunt, and it did not have Eric Reid.

As a result, there could be more support on betting the over in Rams at Saints in particular, due to the relative recency of their Week 9 matchup.

Betting the Over in High-Total Games

Playoff rematches aside, both conference games opened with a Vegas total of 56 or higher. Historically, the over has gone 23-15-0 (60.5%) in games with opening totals of at least 56. Though our sample size is relatively small, this second trend lends additional support for taking the over in both contests.

Additional Support for Taking the Over

The Patriots at Chiefs game in Kansas City has a game-time weather forecast of 13 degrees. Those frigid conditions have inspired recreational and sharp bettors to hammer the under, driving the game’s total down to 54.5 after opening at 59.5.

However, The Action Network’s John Ewing recently analyzed over/under trends for games played in temperatures below freezing, and he found that such games unexpectedly go over their Vegas totals more often.

Per Ewing’s article:

“In all games played in temperatures below 30 degrees, the over is 114-80-2 (58.8%).”

“Since 1985, there have been 21 postseason games played outdoors in temperatures below 20 degrees. The over has gone 14-5-1 (73.7%) in these games, covering by 9.4 points per game.”

So, despite arctic conditions in Kansas City, we have even more historical evidence that points to the over in that game.

Jumping over to the NFC, the Rams and Saints will face off in the Superdome, which has a strong over trend of its own. Since 2003, games played in the Superdome have have an over record of 72-52-2 (58.1%), including going 6-1-0 in the playoffs.

Take the Over in Both Conference Championship Games

Historical betting data suggests that both conference championship games trend toward the over. Confounding results between playoffs vs. conference championship splits create some ambiguity regarding the strength of this trend, but no trend analyzed remotely suggests taking the under.

On top of our non-divisional rematch trends, we also have trends for high game totals, sub-freezing temperatures and the Superdome that all support the over as well.

There’s extra value in taking the over in Chiefs-Patriots, as that total has been driven down a whopping five points due to the weather forecast.