Should You Bet on an NFL Team Going 0-16 in 2019?

Should You Bet on an NFL Team Going 0-16 in 2019? article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks with quarterback Kyler Murray

  • Two teams have gone 0-16 in NFL history, and oddsmakers are giving +1600 odds that another team goes winless this fall.
  • According to 10,000 simulations of the 2019 NFL regular season, 13 teams have a chance of going 0-16.

Since 1978, when the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule, only two teams have gone 0-16. The 2008 Detroit Lions were the first to accomplish the feat and were joined in misery by the 2017 Cleveland Browns.

A lot has to go wrong for a team to finish a season winless, but it is possible. Does the same fate await a team in 2019?

The bookmakers at FanDuel are taking action on a team posting an 0-16 regular season record.

Will a team go 0-16?

  • Yes +1600
  • No -4000

At +1600 odds (betting $100 wins $1,600), “Yes” is an appetizing wager. But is there any value in betting this prop?

Based on 10,000 simulations of the 2019 season, there are 13 teams that could flirt with the wrong kind of perfection. Here are those squads and the numbers of times within those simulations they finish the regular season 0-16:

The Cardinals are the most likely team to go 0-16. Arizona has a new coach, who wasn’t all that good in college, a rookie quarterback and a team that finished 32nd in DVOA in 2018. Sounds like the perfect combination to go “defeated.” Still, it is not very likely as the Cardinals finished 0-16 in only 35 of the 10,000 simulations (or 0.35% of the time).

Oddsmakers don’t expect much from the Dolphins this season, either. After a 7-9 campaign, Miami has the lowest win total in the league. The ‘Fins start the season with a brutal schedule, facing four teams that won 10 or more games a season ago. Miami is staring down the barrel of an 0-4 start, and it is a slippery slope from there. Still, the Dolphins have just a 0.33% chance to go completely winless.

If you have been watching Hard Knocks then you know Jon Gruden has been trying to create a winning cultural in Oakland. The Raiders look good, at least in the preseason.

Gruden’s squad is 3-0 in exhibition games and has a chance to run the table on Thursday. Unfortunately, a perfect preseason record doesn’t mean much. The 2008 Lions and 2017 Browns both went 4-0 in the preseason before finishing the regular season 0-16. The Raiders fail to win a game nine times in our 10,000 simulations.

In total, there are 95 occurrences of an 0-16 finish in our 10,000 simulations. That works out to a 0.95% chance we see a team go winless.

At +1600 odds, the implied probability of a third NFL team going 0-16 is 5.9%. No matter how bad you think your team or your rival is, there is no value betting “Yes.”

There is some value on “No,” but the margin is thin and we’d rather not recommend wagering $4,000 to win $100, especially when there are better ways to spend your bankroll.

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