Below, is a list of teams put in order according to their records ATS (Against the Spread).  As behind scenes bookmakers construct point spreads each week, certain teams most definitely, deserve more love than others. A plethora of factors lead to victories on Sunday, and one thing we know is that there is no one sure fire formula; however becoming immersed in the football news that comes your way is vital (preferably more than once source). Numbers, can often clarify our opinions regarding a specific team, and in this case explain a team’s success over an entire season.  What trends do I see? By no means am I professional gambler, football prophet, or number cruncher, but it is easy recognize a few key trends.  More studying adds up to more victories, sounder picks and more profitable payouts.

First of all, stay with strong passing attacks. It is no surprise, that New Orleans, New York and Green Bay rest in the top 5. With offenses that have the ability to pull away late in games, these teams can continue to score points- and therefore secure victories. QB such as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Eli Manning week after week, demonstrate a keen ability to keep the offense on the field and close out games.  In contrary, teams at the bottom of the list such as Indianapolis, Minnesota and Tennessee were in QB limbo during 2011 and a result, rest at the bottom.  Great QB play leads to great game management, longer drives and the chance to put up more points.

Secondly, teams that have horrible (W-L) records can still make you money. Seattle and Oakland are at the top for a reason, despite having horrible records. (Example of this is in Week 8 Dallas was a 10.5 point favorite and won by 10). The Raiders started off as undedogs the first 6 weeks of the season, posting a (5-1) record against the spread. Both, of these teams were more often than not underdogs, going into each week. When the spread, becomes bigger for the favorite- it is much easier to capitalize on the underdog.  This therefore, is a viable explanation for an overall winning ATS record, despite a W-L record that does not correspond. The fact is that some teams keep each and every game they play close, is a huge plus-when trying to make money. (Ex: Kansas City Week 3-Week 7 tallied 5 ATS wins in a row keeping it close against San Diego, Minnesota and Indianapolis). This works the other way as well. Teams at the bottom of the list such as San Diego and Dallas were more often than not favorites the majority of the time during the 2011 season. (Chargers opened up as favorites 6 out of 7 weeks and failed to cover 5/7 times).  With high expectations, it is very difficult to cover these spreads. An additional factor worth mentioning is home field advantage and weather: Kansas City and Arizona are perfect examples. The Chiefs, support a very tough home field advantage.  Similarly, Arizona plays in extremely harsh-heat a factor that most teams have a difficult time adjusting too. Harsh environments definitely play a role. Always, be sure to give the underdog a long look in any situation. Often a touchdown or two for the underdog, can mean a pay out on a bet.

Moving to the second end of the list, Baltimore and Miami teams that support strong defense are always a relevant bet. Miami covered 9 of its last 10 games ATS, while loosing 4 out of these 10 games straight up. Philadelphia’s ATS record, corresponds with disappointing (8-8) season. Middle of the pack (teams who boast 8-7-6 wins) proved last year, that without the combination of explosive playmaking and defense, there is a much greater chance of loosing your bet. Detroit, is a perfect example of defense that allowed tons of points (Example Lions 41-45 loss against Packers in Week 17) and therefore was not able to cover the spread.  The game slows down in harsh weather and this is definitely evident as the majority of cold weather teams such as Washington, Pittsburg and Denver are tough places to play well, late in the season. As the weather becomes crappy, it is much easier to move the ball with the run game and therefore more difficult to cover the spread and play well.

Third, Gamble on teams you know. There is really no substitute for gambling on a team you are passionate about, and follow very closely. Even if your squad is not a powerhouse and is the bottom of this list, the spread is designed to give equal weight to both teams.  As a new season represents a fresh start history, is a great way to learn from mistakes, however does not tell the whole story. Injury reports, scores in years past and taking hype/media coverage with a grain of salt is extremely important. The bottom line remains however, that each and every year the organization puts a different product on the field. Paying attention to how things go the next few weeks will get you acclimated and in tune with how your team is looking going into week 1. Lastly, monitor the amount you wager on each game. Align, the amount according to your confidence level.

In the end go with your gut, do your research and at times roll the dice…Gambling after all is about how one can manage risk/rewards. Best of luck this season!  This fall, keep checking into www.Wall of Fame for much more NFL and College Football analysis to come.


ATS (Against the Spread), 2011 W-L Record

1.  NEW ORLEANS 13-5, (14-4)

2.  SAN FRANCISCO 12-5-1, (14-4)

3.  HOUSTON 12-5-1, (11-7)

4.  NEW YORK GIANTS 12-7-1, (13-7)

5.  GREEN BAY 11-6 (15-2)

6.  SEATTLE 10-5-1, (7-9)

7.  OAKLAND 10-6, (8-8)

8.  NEW ENGLAND 10-9, (15-4)

9.  ARIZONA 9-7, (8-8)

10. KANSAS CITY 9-7, (7-9)

11. MIAMI 9-7, (6-10)

12. CAROLINA 9-7, (6-10)

13. BALTIMORE 9-8-1, (13-5)

14. CINNCINATTI 8-7-2, (9-8)

15. CLEVELAND 8-7, (4-12)

16. ATLANTA 8-8-1, (10-7)

17. PHILIDELPHIA 8-8, (8-8)

18. DENVER 8-9-1, (9-7)

19. CHICAGO 7-8-1, (8-8)

20. JACKSONVILLE 7-8-1, (5-11)

21. MINNESOTA 7-8-1, (3-13)

22. WASHINGTON 7-9, (5-11)

23. PITTSBURG 7-10, (12-5)

24. DETROIT 7-10, (10-7)

25. BUFFALO 6-9-1, (6-10)

26. TENNESSEE 6-10, (9-7)

27. NEW YORK JETS 6-10, (8-8)

28. SAN DIEGO 6-10, (8-8)

29. INDIANAPOLIS 6-10, (2-14)

30. DALLAS 5-10-1, (8-8)

31. TAMPA BAY 4-12, (4-12)

32. ST. LOUIS 3-12-1, (2-14)