Why You Should Refrain Betting on NFL Teams Who Peak Early

On this page, we’ll talk about why it’s wise to refrain from betting on NFL teams who peak early. You’ll learn all about betting on the NFL in a way that’s profitable and strategic.

But before you do that, you have to ask yourself whether the team you’re planning to bet on has a habit of peaking early and if they underachieve during the playoffs or even in the championship round. Here, we will also look at a few examples to show that peaking is a true science—even in the world of sports betting—and not just a thing of chance.

So, if you feel a team is playing their best ball either late in the regular season or the playoffs, use history to see whether their peak will see them through to a championship. Read on for more information about making smarter NFL bets online.

Peaking Is a Science

Peaking is a tried-and-true science. In the world of fitness, you may have heard the term “periodization,” which designs a full-season’s worth of an athlete’s fitness program, intentionally causing an athlete to peak at the right time.

Or in a bodybuilder’s pre-contest regimen, the same is true. A bodybuilder will go through a hypertrophy phase before entering several phases of a cutting and pre-contest phase. Then, there is the famous peak week, where a bodybuilder will manipulate variables like carb, water, and salt intake to enter a show in “peak condition.”

You can apply the same variables to high school, college, and pro sports teams. And while the athletes themselves should be in their peak phases, is the team peaking or have they entered the “transition” phase a little too early?

There are several reasons behind the early peak. It can be the fact that a great team has hit a rough patch in their schedule and must win games to reach the playoffs. In urgency mode, a team may peak before suffering what’s called a “burnout.”

Or the team may just be playing their best ball of the season. And you can determine from their overall stat line that a peak is taking place. Sometimes, it could carry them to a championship (Cinderella run) but often, it will either carry them to the playoffs or deep into the playoffs before the burnout. Let’s look at a few examples.

Peaking in the NFL

You could probably list over a dozen examples of teams who have peaked too early since 2000 in the NFL, the league we will focus on. And you can also list a few examples of no. 1 seeds and teams with the best records who have won the Super Bowl.

But often, you will find the no. 1 seed knocked out of contention before the Super Bowl.

For Example:

Since 2000, the no. 1 seeds have played one another in the Super Bowl just five times, including three straight seasons from 2013 to 2015, 2017, and once more in 2009.

From 2000 to 2010, the Super Bowl Champions were a no. 2 seed or worse, eight times out of 10 seasons. And from 2010 to 2019, the no. 2 or lower seed won the Super Bowl five times. With that said, 13 out of the last 20 seasons, the team with the no. 2 seed or lower has won the Super Bowl (65% of the time).

This should tell you that just because a team looks like they have the best record in the league per the regular season, it doesn’t always mean they’re the wisest NFL bets. But there are other variables to look at as well.

Did the team wind up with the number one seed because they blew out half of their competition like the 2007 New England Patriots?

Chances are, if that’s the case, then it may be an unwise bet. You can say the same for the 2013 Denver Broncos, who put teams to shame that year, only for the Seattle Seahawks to come in and not just pull off the upset but to pull off one of the most lopsided Super Bowl wins in NFL history.

Or is the team a no. 1 seed because they won close battles with opponents, regardless of team talent? In other words, are they a team that likes to play to their competition and make things interesting for themselves?

This is a question to ask if you thought about betting on the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers, who despite their 11-0 record as of December 7th, 2020, has still had six of their 11 wins have come by a touchdown or less.

Are the Steelers peaking early, or are they just winning games? You can say the same for plenty of the seven no. 1 seeds who won the Super Bowl. Did they peak early? Or did they peak at the right time by playing their best football from December to February?

Peaking in NFL Betting

So, how do you know if a team is peaking in the online sports betting world? Look at the playoff bracket and study how the best teams made their trip to the playoffs. Let’s look at two hypothetical no. 1 seeds.

Let’s go with a scenario in 2021 where the Kansas City Chiefs and the Green Bay Packers are the top seeds. The Chiefs have built upon 2020s success and are on pace to put up more points than any other NFL team in the last decade. Say they score 613 points, seven more than the 2013 Denver Broncos scored. They finish 14-2 and 10 of those 14 wins came by 10 or more points, while the other four came by fewer.

Now, let’s look at the Packers, who aced the top seed with a 12-4 record. In December, they were 8-4 and in the thick of the playoff race. Let’s say the Seattle Seahawks were 10-2 and the New Orleans Saints were also 10-2. The Packers sat at the third seed in early December.

The Packers went 4-0 in December while the Seahawks and Saints went 2-2 and 1-3, respectively, with the Packers winning the tiebreaker over the Seahawks per division opponents… Which team has peaked, and which team is peaking?

Obviously, the Chiefs look like they have peaked, and judging from the way domineering teams in the regular season will falter either in the playoffs or Super Bowl, the Packers look like the safer bet.

You can apply the same tactics to seeds 2 through 6. Did the no. 6 seed start off the season 6-6 before having a perfect final quarter to the season? They may be a good sleeper bet for the Super Bowl. What about the no. 3 seed who sat at 7-5 and finished the season 3-1, winning their final two games with a statement?

In terms of Super Bowl winners, you will often see a common denominator. The 2019 Chiefs started off 6-4 before winning out. The 2018 New England Patriots looked down and out when they stumbled to 9-5 after an 0-2 start in December. From November 1st to December 20th, the Denver Broncos stumbled to a 4-4 stretch before winning their final two regular season games and peaking.

The 2012 Baltimore Ravens finished their season at 1-4. And the 2011 were just 6-6 before winning three of their final four games. Obviously, some teams who peak early will win it all. But as you can also see, just because a team looks domineering doesn’t always mean they are the safest bet to win the Super Bowl. More often, it’s the teams who hit a few rough patches. And if you look at the examples, you will even see a top seed in there.

How to Know If a Team Is Peaking

So, how do you know if a team is peaking? First of all, you want to see if they hit any sort of rough patch during the second half of the season. Let’s say a team starts off 8-6 but come week 16, they find themselves at 8-6 before they pull off a couple of sound victories. It’s highly likely that the team is peaking at the right time.

Or if a team finished the regular season 14-2 but hasn’t lost since October, they may have already peaked. Let’s say a team starts the season at 9-0 and finishes 4-3. There’s a rough patch there, even if the team finished 13-3 and clinched the top seed.

Look at a team’s record, how soundly they beat their opponents, and if they hit a rough spot during the season. Chances are, a team that hit a rough spot or two, even if they are the top seed, may be your winner.

On the flip side, if a team had a freak loss or two but otherwise beat most of their opponents by double digits, it’s wise to steer clear (not that steering clear will wind up in your favor). But chances are, that particular team peaked.


Again, this post isn’t telling you not to bet on teams who have won soundly throughout the season and appear to have peaked all season long with seemingly no end in sight. Instead, it’s telling you not to jump at the peaking team without first considering other options.

History tells us teams who peaked at the right time have won the Super Bowl. And teams who peaked early or dominated during the regular season didn’t always make it to the big game. And as we know, 65% of playoff participants won the Super Bowl as the no. 2 seed or lower.

So, even if the no. 1 seed overall makes it to the Super Bowl, it still doesn’t mean they’re the safest NFL bets online.

Do you like to place Super Bowl bets on teams who are steadily winning games? Or do you take the time to consider who may peak at the right time before betting? Let us know in the comments.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016.

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