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Fourth-Quarter Comebacks Pay Added Dividends

   by Bryan Leonard - 12/01/2006

Good handicappers put a circle around a team every time they have an exciting fourth quarter comeback. One betting angle that's worth playing attention to is how a team performs the week after a fourth-quarter comeback. Often times the team's excitement carries over the following week, especially if that team is in the race for a playoff spot or a division title. Simply put, it appears that the good karma carries over at least one week helping that team.

We saw this a few weeks ago when the Chargers came from way back to shock the Bengals, 49-41. The next week the Chargers traveled to one of the most difficult venues at Denver in a key AFC West game. There was no let down, which some might have expected, as the underdog Chargers won straight up with another solid offensive performance.

A few seasons ago there was a three-year trend where teams went 21-6 against the spread the week after coming from 7 points or more down in the fourth quarter to win. It's going to be interesting to watch the Tennessee Titans this weekend against Indianapolis. They are a big home dog, but come off of one of the most exciting fourth quarter comebacks in years, overcoming a 21-0 deficit to stun the Giants, 24-21.

Three weeks ago the Ravens came from 9 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Tennessee 27-26 as QB Steve McNair threw for 373 yards. The next week the Ravens had no let down, spanking Atlanta 24-10, an easy win and cover. Earlier this season Vikings rallied from a 17-3 fourth-quarter deficit to beat Lions with a 23-0 fourth quarter. The next game the Vikings stomped Seattle 31-13 as a 6-point road dog.

Big late rallies appear to add a jolt to a team that often carries over the next game. There has been a lot of talk this week reminiscing about the Tennessee Titans Music City Miracle of 1999, when they stunned the Bills on a last second miracle TD on a kickoff return in the playoffs. Some may forget that there was no emotional let down, as the next week the Titans were a road dog at Indy and won 19-16. The point is the momentum and confidence gained from a comeback appeared to be a contributing element in the team's performance the next week.

The 2001 Chicago Bears might be the poster child for this angle, as they had a remarkable season with several wild comebacks. They fit this angle in consecutive weeks and got a split. The Bears trailed 28-16 at home going into the fourth quarter against San Francisco before pulling out a 37-31 win in overtime. The next week Chicago got the cover in an incredible comeback against Cleveland, rallying from a 21-7 deficit late before getting the win (and cover) on Mike Brown's 16-yard interception return in overtime.

The Bears finally ran out of gas the next week, losing 20-12 to Green Bay as a +3 home dog. Still, dramatic comebacks can provide a team with confidence and fire that can carry over to the next game. That can provide a bettor with excellent wagering opportunities, which the Titans will test Sunday!

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