The New England Patriots are the gold standard of NFL teams, which makes it so shocking when they actually lose a game. But it’s how a team responds to a loss that defines how good they really are, and the Patriots are one of the best teams in the league at performing the week after they lose. That is true both against the spread and straight up and against the spread.
New England won all five of its games against the spread following a straight up loss from 2016 to 2017, before they lost against the spread and straight up in their first taste of that situation in week three of the 2018 season against the Lions. And it isn’t hard to understand why the Patriots are so good following a loss when you consider what makes NFL teams tick.
After losing a game, NFL teams usually come out extremely focused the following week. They are focused in practice in the lead up to the game, as well as the game itself. That added attention is one of the things that Bill Belichick feels will never change even if the sport itself changes. And with Tom Brady at the helm, the Patriots surely haven’t skimped on that laser focus after a loss.
This is even more true when the Patriots have lost two straight games. That doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it often results in some very profitable action for bettors. In the last eight times that the Patriots have lost two straight games, their next game has seen them go 8-0 straight up and 7-1 against the spread, as the Pats have been incredible when they feel like their backs are against the wall.
The reason for that performance is simple. After a team drops two straight games, the perception of that team changes. That can lead to softer lines, as bookmakers need to find a way to even out the action for and against that team to make those games profitable. It’s up to bettors to find lines that would be way different if a team hadn’t just lost the week before.
For the Patriots, the 2018 edition of the team is struggling to covert on third downs, something that was a staple of their offensive attack in previous seasons. And with their third down performance being a clear issue after week three, you can be sure that the Patriots are going to put a ton of focus on moving the chains on third down. That doesn’t bode well for bettors who are going to continue to doubt Tom Brady and company going forward.
Of course, there is no such thing as a sure bet. Even if the Patriots are 7-1 against the spread in games following two straight losses, bettors have to make sure that they evaluate the specifics of each matchup before they make any decisions. That should be the case no matter what situations you are betting, as there is no such thing as a sure thing in the NFL.