Sports Betting All-Decade Awards: Most Profitable Teams, Coaches, Trends & More of the 2010s
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots
- With the start of a new decade, it's time to look back at the world of sports betting in the 2010s.
- Using Bet Labs, we look at the most profitable teams, coaches, betting trends and more across the past 10 years in sports.
It is the last day of 2019 and the end of a decade. The past 10 years have been some of the best for sports bettors, from surprise champions to the legalization of sports betting.
It would be impossible to review all of the 2010s from a gambling perspective in one post, but by using Bet Labs we have highlighted the most profitable teams, coaches, betting trends and more across sports from 2010-2019.
Let’s look back at the decade that was in sports betting.
Most Profitable Teams for Against the Spread (ATS) Bettors
- NFL: New England Patriots (106-70-5 ATS, +33.93 units)
- NBA: Dallas Mavericks (421-363-10 ATS, +38.15)
- MLB: Texas Rangers (863-800 ML, +37.31 units)
- NHL: Washington Capitals (488-355 ML, +43.6 units)
- College Football: Oklahoma State Cowboys (79-51 ATS, +23.10 units)
- College Basketball: Virginia Cavaliers (171-118-4 ATS, +43.13 units)
If you are a fan of one of these teams it has been a fun decade, especially if you bet on them. Take the Patriots for example, a $100 bettor blindly wagering on New England in each game would have returned a profit of $3,393.
Of the most profitable teams across the six major sports in the past 10 years, the Patriots, Mavericks, Capitals and Cavaliers all won championships.
While the Rangers and Pokes never won titles, they did experience a lot of success. Texas played in the Fall Classic twice (2010 and 2011) and Oklahoma State won 10 or more games six times, while going bowling each season.
Least Profitable Teams for ATS Bettors
- NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (71-81-7 ATS, -14.71 units)
- NBA: Los Angeles Lakers (351-416-12 ATS, -82.12 units)
- MLB: Detroit Tigers (798-855 ML, -98.52 units)
- NHL: Edmonton Oilers (305-452 ML, -103.3 units)
- College Football: Connecticut Huskies (42-77-3 ATS, -37.23 units)
- College Basketball: Cal Poly Mustangs (107-152-5 ATS, -51.15 units)
The Edmonton Oilers have been the least profitable team in the 2010s. A $100 bettor wagering on the Oilers straight up (SU) lost $10,330. Edmonton failed to reach the postseason in nine of the past 10 seasons.
Misery loves company. The Detroit Tigers have cost bettors 98.52 units since 2010. The Tigers had some success winning the AL Central in four consecutive seasons (2011-2014), but never made it past the ALCS. Detroit has been trending in the wrong direction since 2015 as the club has lost 98 or more games in three straight years.
After winning back-to-back championships in 2008-09, the Lakers hit a skid. Los Angeles is on a six-year playoff drought and hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2012. LeBron James and Anthony Davis will likely have the Lake Show back in the playoffs this season, but at 16-15 ATS on the year it remains to be seen if the Lakers can be profitable.
Best Coaches for ATS Bettors
- NFL: Bill Belichick (106-70-5 ATS, +33.93 units)
- NBA: Rick Carlisle (421-363-10 ATS, +38.15)
- MLB: Jeff Banister (328-319 ML, +47.22 units)
- NHL: Barry Trotz (473-360 ML, +64.03 units)
- College Football: Mike Gundy (79-51 ATS, +23.10 units)
- College Basketball: Tony Bennett (171-118-4 ATS, +43.13 units)
Bill Belichick has been the coach of the decade. The Patriots have won 11 or more games and the AFC East each season since 2010. New England has played in five Super Bowls and won the Lombardi Trophy three times.
Belichick hasn’t won bettors the most money in the past 10 years, but on a units won per game he has been the best. Plus, no other coach can match his success on the field.
Worst Coaches for ATS Bettors
- NFL: Ken Whisenthunt (27-42-2 ATS, -16.12 units)
- NBA: Flip Saunders (71-107-3 ATS, -40.14 units)
- MLB: Ron Gardenhire (469-666 ML, -90.05 units)
- NHL: Bill Peters (199-243 ML, -53.33 units)
- College Football: Rich Rodriguez (34-57 ATS, -24.96 units)
- College Basketball: Joe Callero (101-146-5 ATS, -50.62 units)
Ron Gardenhire started the decade on a hot note, winning American League Manager of the Year with the Twins in 2010. He followed up that season by failing to surpass 70 wins for four straight years, and failing to cash for moneyline bettors in the process.
Rich Rod spent time as the head honcho at Michigan and Arizona, each stint ending unceremoniously. Rodriguez did not coach in 2018 and had to settle for an offensive coordinator position at Ole Miss to return to coaching in 2019, likely because he was 23 games below .500 ATS.
Like Rich Rod, Whisenhunt coached for multiple teams in the past 10 years. Neither stretch as head coach at Arizona or Tennessee will be fondly remembered. Whisenhunt didn’t coach many games, but he did significant damage to bankrolls, covering the spread in fewer than 40% of his games.
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Best ATS Teams Against the Public
- NFL: Seattle Seahawks (42-25-4 ATS, +15.42 units)
- NBA: Denver Nuggets (219-180-9 ATS, +27.8 units)
- MLB: Tampa Bay Rays (395-379 ML, +53.26 units)
- NHL: St. Louis Blues (167-141 ML, +47.25 units)
- College Football: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (38-21 ATS, +15.31 units)
- College Basketball: Seton Hall Pirates (86-51-2 ATS, +30.38 units)
Betting against the public can be a profitable strategy in sports betting. These teams were the best in their respective sport when receiving less than 50% of tickets.
The Tampa Bay Rays, as a small-market team, were often overlooked by casual bettors. That was a mistake. Tampa won 90 or more games six times in the past 10 years and savvy gamblers smart enough to back the Rays when they received less than 50% of moneyline bets returned a profit of $5,326 for a $100 bettor.
Worst ATS Teams With the Public
- NFL: Atlanta Falcons (44-58-3 ATS, -15.24 units)
- NBA: Los Angeles Lakers (170-216-5 ATS, -54.64 units)
- MLB: Tampa Bay Rays (456-379 ML, -58.17 units)
- NHL: Edmonton Oilers (102-116 ML, -37.51 units)
- College Football: Virginia Tech Hokies (29-50-1 ATS, -22.40 units)
- College Basketball: Indiana State Sycamores (53-80-2 ATS, -30.42 units)
Which teams burned bettors the most in the past decade? According to our data, the Rays lost bettors 58.17 units when a majority of bets were on them to win outright. Tampa was the Jekyll and Hyde of the 2010s, rewarding bettors when the public faded them and destroying bankrolls when the squares bet them.
The Rays technically cost bettors the most money since 2010 as a popular bet, but on a per-game basis the Lakers were worse. A $100 bettor backing Los Angeles when more than 50% of tickets were on it to cover the spread lost $5,464 and the Lakers accomplished this feat in 400 fewer games than the Rays.
Los Angeles has only one winning season ATS in the past 10 years (2017: 43-39 ATS).
Most Profitable Over Teams
- NFL: New England Patriots (100-80-1, +15.18 units)
- NBA: Milwaukee Bucks (656-599-15, +25.44 units)
- MLB: Miami Marlins (1,195-1,091-139, +61.08 units)
- NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning (426-351-48, +64.09 units)
- College Football: Indiana Hoosiers (72-48-1, +19.72 units)
- College Basketball: Buffalo Bulls (153-109-6, +31.43 units)
Recreational gamblers love cheering for points and betting overs. Oddsmakers know this and tend to inflate the lines, making it more difficult for overs to cash.
But since 2010, these teams have been the best at consistently going over the total. The over hit in Indiana football games 60.0% of the time, the Buffalo Bulls went over in 58.4% of basketball games and the Patriots cashed over tickets 55.6% of the time.
Most Profitable Under Teams
- NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers (98-72, +21.90 units)
- NBA: Orlando Magic (676-590-19, +55.23 units)
- MLB: Houston Astros (1,244-1,141-109, +37.36 units)
- NHL: Los Angeles Kings (397-299-126, +53.47 units)
- College Football: Akron Zips (76-46, +25.50 units)
- College Basketball: Cincinnati Bearcats (164-109-4, +41.44 units)
Bettors might love overs, but there is money to be made wagering on unders. The Orlando Magic were the best under team this decade, returning $5,523 for a $100 bettor. The Magic accomplished this feat by finishing in the bottom half of the NBA in points scored per game in each of the past 10 seasons.
The Magic were the most profitable under team, but the Akron Zips saw the under cash in their games at a higher rate. College football bettors won unders in 62.3% of Zips games.