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Fourth Quarter Comebacks Can Carry Over

   by Bryan Leonard - 12/03/2007

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 Patriots trailed the Colts 20-10 in the fourth quarter of their big showdown of unbeatens. New England rallied late for a dramatic 24-20 victory. Would they be out of gas the next game? Emotionally spent? Still patting themselves on the back? Not a chance with a coach like Bill Belichick. The Patriots were a 16-point road favorite the next game and destroyed the Bills, 56-10.

Back in September the Packers had a dramatic comeback late to upset the Chargers, 31-24. The next week they had to go on the road at division rival Minnesota. In basically a pick ‘em game, the Packers won 23-16. Big late rallies appear to add a jolt to a team that often carries over the next game.

Last season 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. You may recall a wild win from 2006 when the Tennessee Titans were a home dog, but came off of one of the most exciting fourth quarter comebacks in years, overcoming a 21-0 deficit to stun the Giants, 24-21. The next week they were bigger home dog of 7 points against the Colts. The Titans not only covered but upset the Colts, 20-17. Teams that are well coached are excellent in spots like this, as coaches like Jeff Fisher and Bill Belichick are master motivators at getting their teams focused, even after thrilling comebacks.

That same season 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. Also, the 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, so there was no let down.

It can even take place in the playoffs. You may recall one of the most incredible comebacks in playoff history in 1999, when the Tennessee Titans had the Music City Miracle, stunning 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. You may recall last season when the Bears shocked Arizona 24-23 on Monday night, a game they should have lost. The next week Chicago flattened San Francisco, 41-10! Dramatic comebacks can provide a team with confidence and fire that can carry over to the next game.

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