Time to Tank? How has Betting Against the NFL’s Worst Fared Historically?

Time to Tank? How has Betting Against the NFL’s Worst Fared Historically?

We’re entering the home stretch of the NFL season and there are plenty of teams that have absolutely nothing to play for. In fact, they’d be better off losing the remainder of their games to secure a better draft pick. The old tanking method, nothing else like it in sports. Luckily I’m a young lad from Massachusetts so I know nothing about tanking, but I heard it’s great fun!

Well isn’t that a pretty picture? Santa’s rolling down the block in a Panzer.

With that said, how has betting against these tankers in the final month done in the past?

Opponent w/ .300 record or lowerATS RecordUnits WonROI
Any Week581-617-33 (48.5%)-51.22-4.2%
Weeks 14-17132-122-8 (52.0%)+6.79+2.6%
Weeks 14-17 ONLY Betting on teams with a .500 record or higher96-74-6 (56.5%)+19.17+10.9%

Not bad, but you have to pick your spots. Purely betting against teams with a .300 winning percentage or less has barely been profitable, but if they’re playing a team with a .500 record or higher, AKA teams that are playing for something, the returns are pretty good. As a matter of fact, the teams that are exactly .500 have provided by far the best results.

What about the moneyline? Since tankers care about their actual record, not their ATS record, perhaps we can find some more potential profits by betting against them straight up.

Opponent w/ .300 record or lowerRecordUnits WonROI
Any Week816-406-2 (66.9%)-30.30-2.5%
Weeks 14-17219-96 (69.5%)+0.24+0.1%
Weeks 14-17 ONLY Betting on teams with a .500 record or higher140-35 (80%)+10.42+6.0%

Eh, it still works, but you’d still be better off taking the same teams on the spread. Most of these teams will be -200, -300, -400 or even higher on the moneyline, making it hard for substantial earnings even at an 80% win rate. Stick to the spread!

Mark Gallant

I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.

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