Why bettors should fear Brady, Mahomes in playoff rematches

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It's hard enough to beat Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes, two of the best quarterbacks of our generation. Good luck beating them twice.

That's the task facing the Rams and Bills, respectively, with both teams winning earlier this season against their divisional-round opponents. The Buccaneers (-3) and Chiefs (-2) are each favored to win the encore Sunday, but the market has moved toward the underdogs throughout the week.

As of Friday, both favorites were dealing under a field goal at some shops with more money pouring in on the road 'dogs as kickoff nears. Not only does that suggest Brady and Mahomes represent the inferior side on a neutral field, but also that the reigning Super Bowl finalists are susceptible to an outright upset Sunday.

Historically, that's a bet you don't want to make.

Revenge of the G.O.A.T.

Brady's playoff heroics have been discussed ad nauseam at this point, and rightfully so. He's 25-20-1 against the spread over his postseason career, including 4-1 ATS with the Buccaneers (or 4-0-1 ATS, depending on the book).

When he's facing a defense that he's already seen that season? Good luck. Brady is 15-11 ATS in his career with a 17-9 record outright when facing a team in the playoffs for a second (or third) time - including 4-0 ATS with three blowout wins since joining Tampa Bay.

2020 Buccaneers (+2.5) @ Saints 30-20 W W
2020 Buccaneers (+3.5) @ Packers 31-26 W W
2020 Buccaneers (+3) vs. Chiefs 31-9 W W
2021 Buccaneers (-7.5) vs. Eagles 31-15 W W

Brady is especially lethal against teams that beat him in their prior meeting that season. He's 15-7 ATS in that spot, outscoring opponents by 8.2 points in those 22 revenge spots. He's 5-5 ATS in that spot in the playoffs but a convincing 2-0 ATS with the Bucs, blowing out the Saints and Chiefs a year ago.

Unsurprisingly, Brady is nearly unbeatable in the postseason at home, and that rings true in playoff rematches, too. He's 10-5 ATS in that spot with a stellar 12-3 record straight up, which could be relevant for those looking to back the Bucs (-145) to win outright Sunday.

Mahomes is unstoppable

We've only seen four campaigns of Mahomes as a starter, but he's excelled in the playoffs in that stretch, posting a 6-3 ATS record with seven outright wins in the postseason.

Then, it should come as no surprise that he's nearly unbeatable when facing a team for the second time. The Chiefs passer is an impressive 4-2 ATS in playoff rematches, with all four wins coming by at least 10 points. As for those two losses? Both came against Brady in games that you'll likely remember well.

2018 Chiefs (-3) vs. Patriots 31-37 L L
2019 Chiefs (-10) vs. Texans 51-31 W W
2019 Chiefs (-7.5) vs. Titans 35-24 W W
2020 Chiefs (-3) vs. Bills 38-24 W W
2020 Chiefs (-3) vs. Buccaneers 9-31 L L
2021 Chiefs (-13) vs. Steelers 42-21 W W

If you toss out the two contests against Brady - who, as we've discussed, is the king of playoff rematches - the Chiefs are 4-0 with a plus-16.5 scoring margin in those other games, averaging a ridiculous 41.5 points in Mahomes' second shot against those defenses.

In fact, we've seen nearly this exact scenario play out before. Kansas City beat the Bills by two touchdowns as a short home favorite in last year's AFC title game, a rematch of their Week 6 meeting. Buffalo won the first matchup this time around, but that's hardly a benefit. Mahomes is 3-2 ATS / 4-1 SU in revenge spots in his career, including 2-1 ATS/SU in the postseason.

If the favorites hold on in the AFC, the Chiefs would again face a familiar foe in the Titans, who blasted Kansas City by 24 points in Week 7. Again, Mahomes has been here before: his team lost to Tennessee in 2019 before dominating the rematch in the AFC title game.

Will Brady, Mahomes flip the script?

We've already seen these two quarterbacks handle their business in playoff rematches this season, winning by a combined 37 points in the wild-card round against the Eagles and Steelers, respectively.

This time, it's personal. Both quarterbacks were on the wrong end of double-digit losses in their regular-season meetings with Sunday's opponents. Since 2005, teams that lost by 10-plus points in the regular season have gone 28-17-3 ATS (62.2%) in the postseason rematch.

That trend underscores just how difficult it is to beat a team twice in a season, especially if the first matchup was lopsided. Brady is 2-0 ATS in the playoffs when avenging a double-digit loss; Mahomes is new to this spot. If history is any indication, it'll be tough to foil either of them this weekend.

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at cjackson.cowart@thescore.com.

Why bettors should fear Brady, Mahomes in playoff rematches
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