How Do NFL Teams Perform Following In-Season Coaching Changes?
The Cleveland Browns have reportedly fired head coach Hue Jackson. In two-plus seasons, the Browns won three games under the now departed coach.
Cleveland was 1-15 in Jackson’s first season and 0-16 last year. The Browns started 2018 with a tie before losing four of their past five games.
During Jackson’s tenure, Cleveland went 3-36-1 straight up (SU) and 13-27 against the spread (ATS) – the least profitable coach during that time.
On Sunday the Browns host the Kansas City Chiefs (1 p.m. ET, CBS) in their first game without Jackson. Cleveland is a 7.5-point underdog at home.
With Jackson canned, what should bettors expect from the Browns?
To answer that question, we turned to the Bet Labs database. Jackson is the 23rd coach to be fired in-season since 2003.
Here are how the previous 22 teams performed in the game following their coach’s dismissal:
On average, teams have been 5.5-point underdogs in their first game after a coach gets fired.
These teams have gone 9-13 (41%) SU, a marked improvement from how they played before the head coach leaving town. Combined, the 22 teams had a 58-160 (26.6%) record before the coach was relieved of his duties.
The improved win rate results in a profitable record ATS. Teams that fired their coach in-season have gone 12-10 ATS in the following game.
It is a small sample, which makes it difficult to draw strong conclusions, but it’s reasonable to theorize that a team would play better once a coach, such as Jackson, who was compared by a player to Michael Scott, is no longer part of the organization.
The betting market believes the loss of Jackson is addition by subtraction. Kansas City opened as an 8.5-point favorite but has moved to Chiefs -7.5.