NFL Sandwich Games
Handicapping Theory - Play against a superior team facing an inferior team when they are coming off an emotional win versus a quality team and/or divisional opponent and have a quality team and or divisional opponent on deck.
While there are many handicapping factors to consider before laying your cash down on a game, one that many handicappers don’t consider is the “sandwich game”.”
The definition of a sandwich game is when a team has played an emotional game such as a game against a divisional opponent in the previous week and has another important game on deck. From a handicapping perspective this scenario is much stronger when the team won the previous week.
An example of this would be the Denver Broncos game in week 10 of the 2006 season. They were coming off of a win against the reigning Super Bowl champ Pittsburgh Steelers and had a divisional foe the San Diego Chargers on deck.
The lines-maker made the Broncos a big favorite, setting the line at Denver - 8
The Broncos did end up winning the game 17-13, but the game was even closer than the score indicated. Denver was not focused in the first half of the game and trailed 13-7 going into the 3rd quarter before pulling the game out in the 4th.
Each year there are many of these sandwich games on the schedule and definitely worth noting in your handicapping formulations. We’d also like to touch on trap games. Trap games are similar to sandwich games but they don’t need the stong opponent on deck. Instead they require a team coming off of two or more cosecutive games against top level opponents playing a bottom feeding club.
Below we have tipped you off on some of the possible games where the “sandwich” or “trap” effect may be in play during the first half of the 2022/2023 season.
Arizona at Carolina (Sandwich/Trap) – The Cards start the season with a home game against the Chiefs, then have a short trip to Las Vegas to play against a good Raiders team then they return home to host the Rams in Week 3. In Week 5 they host an improving Philadelphia squad who showed some signs on turning the corner last season winning four of their last five.
Green Bay at New York Giants (Trap) – The Packers start out the season with back-to-back NFC North games and then take on the Bucs and Pats before heading to England to take on the New York Giants.
Baltimore at NY Giants (Trap) - After playing three potential top 5 AFC teams in the Pats, Bills and Bengals, the Ravens travel to the meadowlands to take on the New York Giants.
Carolina at LA Rams (Trap/Sandwich) – This could fall into the trap game or the sandwich game categories. The Rams play back-to-back divisional opponents on the road (ARI and SF), then the Cowboys at home before hosting the Panthers. They have a bye week with the 49ers on deck after the week off.