Biggest NFL Spread Changes in Rematches in 2018
The Bears just clinched the NFC North for the first time in, I want to say, 100 years, by beating the Green Bay Packers last weekend at Soldier Field. Their week 15 meeting was the second time these division rivals have played this season and their first meeting came way back in week 1 when Chicago blew a 20 point lead and they looked well on their way to a 5-11 season, while Aaron Rodgers looked like Superman. But that was a long time ago and everyone seems to have caught up to the idea that the Bears are good this year and Green Bay is not. And you can see this in the spreads for the two games.
In the first meeting at Lambeau Field in week 1, the Packers were 6.5 point favorites over the Bears, who covered despite losing in crushing fashion. 14 weeks later and spread for the Bears-Packers game at Soldier Field was Bears -5.5. That is a shift of 12 points.
Now some of this has to do with home field advantage. If two teams were essentially equal on a neutral field, you’d expect this difference to be about 6-ish (-3 at home and +3 away). But 12 seemed rather large to me, and I wondered if that was the largest shift in spreads in a rematch this year. While it is not, in fact, the largest, it is close. There were two matchups that had a larger shift in spreads. Stop reading and try to guess what those match-ups were.
Ok. You ready now? The largest difference this year was the Titans and Jaguars. In September the home Jaguars were favored by 10 over the Titans in week 3. In week 13, The Titans at home were favored by 5.5, for a 15.5 point swing. Coming in at number 2 was Atlanta and New Orleans. In their first meeting in week 3, the Falcons were favored by 2. In week 11, the Saints were favored by 12.5. The previously mentioned Bears and Packers came in at 3rd largest with a shift of 12.0.
The only other two double digit shifts were Buffalo-NY Jets and Dallas-Philadelphia. The Bill vs Jets shift happened in only 4 weeks. In week 10, the Jets were favored by 7, then in week 14 the Bills were favored by 4.5 . Rounding out the top five was the Cowboys and Eagles. In week 10, the Eagles were favored by 7 points then by week 14 the Cowboys were favored by 3.5. Here is the list of all of the shifts of at least 5:
- Jacksonville – Tennessee: 15.5
- Atlanta – New Orleans: 14.5
- Chicago – Green Bay: 12.0
- Buffalo – New York Jets: 11.5
- Dallas – Philadelphia: 10.5
- Kansas City – LA Chargers: 7
- Dallas – Washington: 6
- Miami – New York: 6
- San Francisco – Seattle: 5.5
- Baltimore – Cincinnati: 5.5
- Cleveland – Pittsburgh: 5.5
- LA Chargers – Oakland: 5.0
I’ll follow up on this when the season ends, and I also want to go back and look at past seasons.