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Defending Super Bowl Champs
by Al McMordie - 11/22/2014
The Seattle Seahawks were world-beaters last season. Well, if not world-beaters, at least NFL-beaters. They used a dominant defense to defeat the Saints and 49ers in the NFC Playoffs, and then obliterated Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos, 43-8, in the Super Bowl.
This season, Seattle got off to a rousing start with a 36-16 win over the Green Bay Packers. As we sit here in Late November, Green Bay looks to be the best team in the NFC, so that was a great win for Seattle. But since that victory, the Seahawks are 5-4 straight-up and 3-6 ATS, and are on the "outside, looking in" at the Playoffs.
Of course, most people are surprised given how great Seattle was last season. But in the topsy-turvy world of the NFL, this is a common occurrence. Let's look at how Super Bowl Champs do the following season against the spread.
Since 1981, defending champs are a money-burning 274-295-14 ATS. But there's a marked tendency for our teams to play much better off losses, than off wins.
Indeed, defending champs are a slightly-profitable 94-83-4 ATS off a loss, but a horrid 164-194-9 ATS off a win. If bettors used this rule of thumb this season with Seattle, they would be 5-4 ATS (playing on Seattle off a loss, and against it off a win).
Likewise, defending champs are 52-40-3 ATS as underdogs (or PK), but 222-255-11 as favorites (61-84-5 ATS as double-digit faves). This season, Seattle's been favored in each game, so it's 4-6 ATS as a favorite -- in line with prior champs.
Perhaps the best situation to keep an eye out for is when our Champs are underdogs (or PK) off a loss, and matched up against opponents off a win. Since 1981, our Champs are a rewarding 17-5 ATS in this role.
Finally, in the Playoffs, defending Champs are better at home (11-8 ATS) than on the road (5-8 ATS).
Good luck, as always...Al McMordie