October 17, 2020 - by Jason Lisk
Myles Gaskin and the Miami Dolphins are suddenly in the favorite's role (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)
The Miami Dolphins are coming off a big 43-17 road win at San Francisco, and turn around this week and are a heavy favorite against the 0-5 New York Jets. Miami’s role reversal to a big favorite is particularly notable because they haven’t even been favored in a game since December of 2018 (when current Jets coach Adam Gase was still the coach in Miami).
So you might wonder how the Dolphins will handle this change in expectations. Will they have a let down now that they are expected to win? Is the victory over San Francisco the sign of a resurgence in South Beach?
To see how other teams have done when making big week-to-week swings in the type of opponents, we looked at all games since 2000 where:
As it turns out, it’s pretty rare for this to happen. It has only occurred 26 other times in the last 20 years. Here’s the list in reverse chronological order.
|Year||Team||Week||N-1 Spread||N Spread||Week N Margin||ATS Result|
These teams went 20-6 SU and 14-12 ATS.
If we were to divide the teams further (and given the small sample sizes, this likely leads to no strong angles), you could differentiate between those teams that were big underdogs, lost and failed to cover, but were still big favorites the next week, versus those that covered and then were big favorites.
What about, not only the size of the swing, but the length of time since being a favorite? Going all the way back to 1990, there have been 14 teams that were never favored in a season. Three of those did it in consecutive seasons (Cleveland 1999-2000, St. Louis 2008-2009, and Cleveland 2016-2017). Here were the results the first time those franchises were favored after those long droughts.
|Team||Year||Week||Point Spread||ATS Result|
Those teams went 6-5 ATS, so no indication, in a small sample of similar games, that the team moving to a favorite role for the first time in a long time performed differently than other favorites.
Of course, the Miami situation is an extreme example. None of those other teams were close to as large as a favorite as the Dolphins are over the Jets (currently favored by 9.5 points).
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