There are those games that people in the know accept the “wrong” team won based both information entering the contest and how the game played.
One of those games was nine weeks ago when the New England Patriots hosted the Dallas Cowboys. These were the days before we knew just how good the Patriots were, and when the Cowboys were riding into town with a perfect 5-0 point spread mark on the season. A number of bright handicappers I have respect for banked on the home underdog Patriots that day, getting 3½ points on the spread.
The game was a dogfight from start to finish and regulation ended with the two teams knotted at 29 points each. When the Patriots won the overtime coin toss, the chances of the smart bettors winning their wager went up exponentially. Overtime rules in the National Football League dictate that the team that starts with the ball needs a touchdown to end the game, whereas if they don’t crack the endzone, their opponent, in this case the Cowboys, only need a field goal to secure the victory.
After being stopped on third-and-three, the Patriots punted to the Cowboys and they started their drive at the 20 yard line. After picking up a pair of first downs Dallas had moved the ball to the Patriots 35 yard line, close to field goal range, but on first down quarterback Dak Prescott went for the juggler. His long pass down the right sideline was caught by wide receiver Ceedee Lamb and ended the game with the Cowboys scoring a touchdown … winning the game by six points … and sending bettors who had the “wrong” side to the payout window.
I had compassion for the people who lost with the Patriots that day, fortunate I thought to have not delivered that game to Qoxhi clients.
Last week, another game ended in similar fashion when the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers met in Florida and an overtime contest once again ended with the team that lost the extra period coin toss scoring a touchdown to win by six points and clip a 3½ point spread. This time, I did take it more personally, given the Bills plus the points had been delivered to Qoxhi clients as a Premium Top Pick.
So, do I tell you that to complain about a tough loss?
I tell you all that to point out what happened to the New England Patriots after that bitter defeat to Dallas on October 17.
They haven’t lost a game or point spread since.
New England carries a seven game winning streak into Saturday’s meeting with the Indianapolis Colts. That’s not what has my attention, what does is what happens to a team when they lose a game that by all rights they should have at least won on the spread. I don’t know why, but I have observed in my time handicapping professional football that if a team loses one they seemingly should have won, like the Patriots in October and the Bills last week, they have a surge in the following results.
It is not always as dramatic as New England's run of seven straight wins both straight-up and against the number, but a boost nevertheless.
What this dictates is that the Buffalo Bills have a lot of good results in front of them … if it stretches to seven games they will compete in Super Bowl LVI.
Which I think is still a real possibility … but, first things first, a revenge on the gambling gods with a lopsided home win this Sunday over the Carolina Panthers.
Qoxhi Picks: Buffalo Bills (-9½) over Carolina Panthers