Bad teams are often bad bets, but sometimes – just sometimes – those terrible, terrible teams can come full circle and become a solid wager due to the market overcorrection on their odds. As oddsmakers pile on the points and public bettors fade them hand over first, those lofty spreads inject value into these losing teams.
As the NFL heads into the final month of the regular season, here are a few bad teams that could suddenly become good sports picks down the home stretch of the schedule.
Cleveland Browns (0-11 SU, 2-9 ATS)
Fading Cleveland has pretty much been a blind winner the past two season, with the Browns covering the spread only five times since 2016. That’s made them nearly unplayable for NFL bettors. However, this trend could start spinning the other way as Browns backers are handed truckloads of points in the final weeks of the season.
Cleveland has seen some positives on the defensive side of the ball, but has juggled quarterbacks and injuries on offense. The Browns are near 14-point road dogs in Los Angeles in Week 13 and face Green Bay and Baltimore at home in the following two games before playing at Chicago and Pittsburgh to close out the year. The Packers and Bears don’t have much to play for and the Steelers could rest key players in Week 17, opening up value on the sad sack Browns.
Indianapolis Colts (3-8 SU, 6-5 ATS)
The Colts have actually been a solid bet all season, but their poor play has masked that ATS success and scared off plenty of possible backers. Indianapolis has plenty of positives, considering it was without franchise quarterback Andrew Luck all season. Backup Jacoby Brissett has performed better than expected, even after being thrust into the Colts system just before the season started and having little to no protection from the offensive line. If he can survive to the end of the year, that will be an accomplishment in itself.
Indianapolis has an underrated defense that has kept it close enough to cover the spread most weeks and has a good shot to keep those profits coming in the final games of the year. The Colts are near double-digit dogs at Jacksonville in Week 13, following that divisional matchup with trip to Buffalo and a home date with Denver. The final two games have Indy at Baltimore then back home to host Houston in Week 17.
San Francisco 49ers (1-10 SU, 5-6 ATS)
The Niners won’t go winless in 2017, thanks to a victory over the Giants – a team that bettors should stay well clear of during the remainder of the schedule. San Francisco is giving the starting nod to recently-acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, kicking the tires on the former Patriots No. 2 to see if he can potentially be their top gun in 2018. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has been patient with Garoppolo since acquiring him via a trade deadline deal and has worked magic with passing games in the past.
The Niners are getting a field goal in Chicago this Sunday, and then travel to Houston to face the Texans. San Francisco closes this lost campaign with a two-game home stand against Tennessee and Jacksonville before wrapping up the season against the Rams, who could be resting up in Week 17.