I’m wrapping up some investigations and reports into which NFL teams are best in various NFL betting situations. That’s part of my wider summer review of NFL ATS records.
I’ve already written about who the best favorite teams in NFL betting are. Here’s the other side of the coin – the best underdog teams in NFL betting.
Best NFL ATS Underdog in 2022
The New York Giants were the best NFL ATS underdog in 2022, posting a remarkable 10-2 record as a dog during last year’s regular season.
Statistically speaking, the Giants are viewed by many to have had an aberrationally good year based on their talent and play. New York qualified for the playoffs and reached the divisional round, despite ultimately having a negative point differential on the season.
PFF graded the Giants at 29th overall, behind the Panthers and Colts.
The Giants were 10-2 as an underdog in 2022 but just 26-28 over the previous four years. I don’t see a successful long-term trend here with the Giants as a dog, so consider avoiding them in the early weeks of 2023.
(I do, however, see the Giants as one of the best road teams in NFL betting, so maybe go check that article out when you’re done here.)
Updated 2022 NFL betting update:
Underdogs 148-118-5 (56%) ATS
Underdogs of 3+ pts: 101-67-1 (60%) ATS
Unders: 151-119-1 (56%)
Data per @Bet_Labs
— John Ewing (@johnewing) January 10, 2023
The next-best underdogs in 2022 were Detroit (9-3 ATS) and Carolina (9-4 ATS). Since Detroit is arguably the most beloved darling of this offseason, I don’t see a huge slate of future games where Detroit is catching points from the market.
The Panthers are a different story. Carolina will sport a small-but-capable rookie quarterback this year in Bryce Young, who should play in a below-average division against a winnable schedule.
Carolina was a mess last year (especially under center) but routinely covered games because their overall roster was undervalued by bettors. If Young can stay healthy and provide some stability, Carolina could remain a value bet this season – especially throughout the first few weeks of the season.
NFL ATS Records as Underdogs
|Team||ATS Record as Underdog, 2022||ATS Record as Underdog, 2018-22|
Best Underdog Teams in NFL Betting (Last Five Years)
The Baltimore Ravens have an elite ATS record as an underdog over the last five years, posting an incredible 17-4 record against the spread.
That’s the power of having a great coach, a strong front office, and powerful overall organizational control. Similarly, Pittsburgh (27-11-1) has been doubted far too often in the NFL betting markets.
In fact, most of the top organizations in the NFL have stark winning records when playing as an underdog. The Chiefs have been an underdog 11 times over the past five years, with Patrick Mahomes starting at quarterback for most of those games. They’ve covered seven of them.
The Bills, Bengals, Cowboys, and 49ers all have noticeable winning records as a dog over the last five years.
Bad teams are harder to paint with broad brush strokes. Some teams that have struggled over the last few years, like the Jaguars, have poor records despite playing dozens of games as an unattractive, valuable underdog.
Other teams, like the Lions and Commanders, carry winning underdog ATS records despite a minimal track record of success.
That alone is enough to highlight that underdog value is complicated. If you’re looking to understand how often underdogs cover NFL spreads, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
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