NFL Betting Advice and Predictions: How Best ATS Teams Last Season Could Fare in 2018
Last year in the NFL, six teams stood out above the rest when it came to producing profits and making bettors happy. Impressively, three of the six were from the same division. As we near the new season, it is a good time to look at the six teams that were best against the spread last year and determine how many of them have a chance of again being at or near the top of the betting performance standings. Spoiler alert - it's not too many.
Minnesota (11-5 ATS): The Vikings were a very easy team to like last year. On paper they are just as solid this year, and they probably - not certainly, but probably - have upgraded at QB. I am bullish. Really quite bullish. The challenge from a betting perspective is that they are getting more attention because of their success and expectations. This is offset somewhat, though, by the depth at the top of the NFC and the deep love the public has for the Packers in the same division. They may not be the best betting team in the league again this year, but they won't be too far off.
New England (11-5 ATS): I have had an uneasy feeling about the Patriots for months now, and I just can't shake it. They have some things going for them - Brady, Belichick and McDaniels is a trio that no one can match, and the AFC East is laughably lousy this year. But this roster has so many holes that it looks like a sieve, and the receivers imitating the drummers in "Spinal Tap" this fall has not inspired confidence. I don't think the team is going to fall off a cliff by any means, but I get very nervous at the idea that they are Super Bowl favorites. They could certainly make it to the Super Bowl this year because the AFC in general is a bit of a mess, but I feel like they would be a nine- or 10-win team in the NFC - at best. There are just so many things that could go wrong for this team and so little depth in some spots to make up for it if things do go awry. If people bet this team like the Super Bowl favorites they are - and the public is very likely to do that since this is the Patriots we are talking about - I don't see how they will come anywhere close to matching last year's stellar betting results.
Philadelphia (10-6 ATS): The Eagles face massive expectations. And teams that have won a Super Bowl don't often deal super well with those expectations in the short term. Suddenly an inexperienced playoff team has become the last team standing, and a whole bunch of players have become Super Bowl Champions. It can be tough to deal with. This is a talented, well-constructed and well-coached team. But I have a blanket policy to be solidly skeptical about Super Bowl champs the year after, and it has done well for me. In a very tough NFC I'm not going to change that policy for this team.
Kansas City (10-6 ATS): I am conflicted here. On one hand I look at this team on paper and I find quite a bit to like. Offensive talent runs deep. The defense is solid. The coaching is stable and solid. I want to believe, and I like that they exist perennially just below the radar. The ingredients for a repeat of this ATS performance are in place. But on the other hand, the more I hear about how well positioned Patrick Mahomes is, and how he is poised to have a huge season, the more nervous I get. He has a lot to work with, and certainly has a big arm, but he has yet to prove that he can do it in live fire. I'm not saying he won't, but there is a certainty among many people that he will, and I always rebel against that kind of certainty. Add it all up, and I am cautiously optimistic about betting on this team.
Buffalo (9-6-1 ATS): They are in a position of trying to figure out how to best deploy Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen - one guy who probably doesn't have a real future in this league, and another who is the definition of a long-term project. The only thing I feel really confident about with this team is that they are in the race for the top pick next year. I don't see them covering a ton of spreads.
New York Jets (9-6-1 ATS): Starting Sam Darnold out of the gate is the right move. And it's going to bring some rough patches and growing pains with it. He's incredibly young and wasn't a polished product last year in college. They have to get him some time and work towards having the game slow down for him. It's an investment of time, and it won't lead to a lot of covered spreads in the short term.
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