Handicapping Winless NFL Teams

by | Last updated Jul 27, 2022 | nfl

NFL Handicapping: The Value of Betting Winless Teams
by Jerald of Predictem.com

When handicapping the NFL, the bettor must consider the public opinion of a team. If a team is winless through the first five weeks of the season, the public will soon decide that this is an underperforming team and will choose to bet against them. The bookmakers also know this and will inflate the point spreads on these games. I’m here to tell you that this creates a great opportunity for those of us who like to wager on the underdog against public opinion (aka: Contrarian). Let’s look at what happened in 2006 to winless teams entering Week 6. (Note: Teams can be 0-4 or 0-5 at this point depending on if they have had their bye.)

Week 6

  • Detroit (0-5) was a 1.5 point underdog to Buffalo and won 20-17.
  • Oakland (0-4) was a 15.5 point underdog to Denver and lost 3-13 but did cover the point spread.
  • Tampa Bay (0-4) was a 5 point underdog to Cincinnati and won 14-13.
  • Tennessee (0-5) was a 12 point underdog to Indianapolis and won 25-22.

Week 7

  • Oakland (0-5) was a 3 point underdog to Arizona and won 22-9.

These results are amazing, as we had a 5-0 record against the spread and a 4-1 straight-up record with the underdogs.

In going back all the way to 1994, these winless teams are an amazing 55-22 ATS for a winning percentage of 71.4%

There are many reasons for this trend.

  1. The bookmaker is undervaluing them.
  2. Their opponent may be overlooking them.
  3. Since they’re winless, they have probably had bad breaks go against them. This is due to turn around at some point (in most cases).

This is a trend that is certainly worthy of consideration and one that I look forward to supporting in the upcoming season.

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