Is There Value Betting an NFL Team to Go Winless Again This Season?

Is There Value Betting an NFL Team to Go Winless Again This Season? article feature image

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Browns fans watch the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens

  • An offshore sportsbook is offering a prop that allows bettors to wager on whether an NFL team will go winless in 2018.
  • After the Cleveland Browns went 0-16 in 2017, "yes" is available at +1500, with "no" listed at -4000.
  • According to 10,000 simulations of the 2018 NFL regular season, 12 teams have a chance of going winless.

Trailing, 28-24, with less than two minutes to play, the Cleveland Browns faced a 4th and 2 from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 27-yard line in Week 17 of the 2017 season. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer took the snap, avoided pressure and threw a pass to receiver Corey Coleman for a first down.

Unfortunately, the ball bounced off Coleman’s hands, ending the drive and the Browns’ season. Cleveland joined the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams in NFL history to go 0-16.

Expectations were low in Ohio last season as oddsmakers set the Browns’ regular season win total at 4.5 games, but few expected the team to go winless.

A lot has to go wrong for a team to finish 0-16. Cleveland ranked 32nd in offensive DVOA in and finished last in the league in turnovers (41).

Poor play and bad luck doomed the Browns. Does the same fate await the team in 2018? Oddsmakers are taking action on a team posting an 0-16 regular-season record.

Will a team go 0-16?

  • Yes +1500
  • No -4500

We know 0-16 is possible but how likely is it?

Based on 10,000 simulations of the 2018 season, there are 12 teams that could flirt with the wrong kind of perfection. Here are those 12 squads and how many times they finish the regular season 0-16 in our sims:

The Buffalo Bills are the most likely team to go 0-16.

In rookie Josh Allen’s first preseason start on Sunday he was sacked five times in the first half. He had fewer passing yards (34) than yards sacked (39).

It was not a great start to Allen’s career, but even with his poor play, the Bills finished 0-16 in only 23 of the 10,000 simulations, or 0.23% of the time.

Oddsmakers expect the Arizona Cardinals to take a step back this fall. After the Cards finished 8-8 in 2017, the team’s regular season win total is set at six games, although it could be much worse with Arizona expected to start a combination of Sam Bradford, Mike Glennon and Josh Rosen.

Arizona has a 0.20% chance to go winless.

The AFC East is well-represented in our simulations. In addition to the Bills, the New York Jets (0.07%) and Miami Dolphins (0.06%) each have an outside shot of an 0-16 campaign. Ah, the joys of playing in the same division as Tom Brady.

You might have noticed the Browns are not listed above as one of the 12 teams with a chance of going 0-16.

Our model is high (relatively) on Cleveland. Hue Jackson’s team is projected to finish 7-9 and has a 17.7% chance of making the playoffs.

After the Browns’ 0-16 season, a postseason run would be great, but the folks in The Factory of Sadness would settle for just one victory.

In total, there are 82 teams that post an 0-16 record in our 10,000 simulations. That works out to a 0.82% chance we see a team go winless in back-to-back seasons.

At +1500 odds, the implied probability for the prop bet is 6.3%. No matter how bad you think your team or your rival is, there is no value betting “Yes”.

There is value on “No” but do you want to wager $4,500 to win $100?

There are better ways to spend your bankroll.


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