Best and Worst NFL Betting Teams Against the Spread
We are entering the final quarter of the NFL season. In fact, as I write this, it is late Thursday night, so the Cowboys and Bears are already into the final quarter. As we get ready for the stretch drive, it's a good time to check in on the teams that have been very good to bettors so far this year and those that really haven't -- the betting studs and duds of the NFL season so far.
Buffalo (8-3-1 ATS): The Bills, to the surprise of most people who are being honest, just keep winning. They have allowed the second fewest points in the AFC, and the third fewest in the league, and it is that defense combined with a competent enough offense and a pillowy soft schedule that has led this team to where they are at now - the most profitable team in the league. They have the Ravens , Steelers and Patriots in their next three, so if they are still at the top of the league for bettors after that then they will really have something going on.
New Orleans (8-4 ATS): The Saints are 10-2, and they have proven that they have two quarterbacks who they can rely on, but they still don't feel like they are as good as they are going to need to be in January - at least not by these eyes. But they are covering NFL spreads nicely enough, and that is really what matters most.
L.A. Rams (8-4 ATS): I'm not sure what is more surprising - that the Rams are such a shadow of what they were last year that 7-5 feels like a slightly flattering record, or that bettors have adjusted so well to their sudden fall from grace that they are among the more profitable teams in the league. When a team that was very public last year collapses like this, you might expect them to burn bettor money, but that's just not the case. From an ATS perspective, this is the biggest positive surprise in the league right now.
Green Bay (8-4 ATS): The Packers are 9-3, and 8-4 ATS, so they are doing a whole lot right. The last two times they have failed to cover, though, are real causes for concern. They were blown out by the Niners and the Chargers. The first is a lot easier to accept than the second, but neither is ideal if this team wants to be what they surely want to be. They are creating profits, but I sure don't see it turning into long term success.
Arizona (7-4-1 ATS): I have been of the opinion throughout the year that the Cardinals, despite their woes in the standings, and despite the fact that they clearly have a whole lot of work to do, are doing some things right. A fair number of things. And that certainly seems to be the case - at least if the betting performance is any indication. For a 3-8-1 team to be this nicely profitable means that they are quietly playing better than they are getting credit for widely.
L.A. Chargers (3-8-1 ATS): What a mess. Facing massive expectations heading into the season, the Chargers started poorly and never really recovered. There has been a bright spot or two, but things are mostly bleak, and the team is going nowhere fast. It's both fitting and not at all surprising that they are the worst betting team in the league.
Chicago (4-9 ATS): The Bears were the worst betting team in the league through 13 weeks, but they got a headstart on the rest of the league with their Thursday night date with the Cowboys, and their convincing win as three-point dogs was a nice cover. They are still a horrible betting team, obviously. But if they could string together a couple more games like that one against Dallas, they would at least finish strong.
Atlanta (4-8 ATS): The Falcons were supposed to be solid this year. Given their talent, they shouldn't be winning it all, but they should be respectable. But this team has been mentally weak for years now, and it is really haunting them. Aside from that short stretch of competence started with the huge upset of the Saints, this team has been a mess. And that bit of competence was bad news for bettors - just when they were ready to give up on this team, they were dragged right back in.
Philadelphia (4-8 ATS): The Eagles are bad. Really bad. They are a lousy 5-7, and don't deserve any better. Yet, they are only a half-game behind the Cowboys, and they have the Giants twice, the Redskins, and those Cowboys down the stretch, so you could almost make a compelling argument that they should be a slight favorite to win this, the worst division in football.
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