Public Problems: NFL Bettors Off To Worst Start In 15 Years


Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: DeShaun Watson

Sep 26, 2018, 01:52 AM EDT
  • Public bettors are having the worst start against the spread to an NFL regular season in our dataset.
  • Three double-digit favorites have lost straight-up through three weeks for the first time in 25 years.

Through three weeks, public bettors are having their worst start to an NFL regular season in the history of the Bet Labs dataset (since 2003).

There have been 47 games so far in 2018 where at least 51% of the tickets on the point spread were on one team. In those 47 games, the public teams are 15-31-1 against the spread, losing bettors 16.8 units … and that isn’t even the worst of it.

Public Humiliation

In those 47 games, public spread bettors are actually under .500 straight-up, too, with a record of 22-23-2. From 2003 to 2017, public spread bettors were 362-244 (59.7%) SU in the first three weeks of the regular season, with 2018 being the first time public bettors are under .500 SU through three weeks.

Why has 2018 been so tough on public bettors? These eight quarterbacks are 0-13 ATS when receiving at least 51% of spread tickets, failing to cover the spread by over 9 PPG combined:

Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, Drew Brees, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady.

Year Of The Dog

September has provided some shocking results, which has helped the sportsbooks.

In the first three weeks, the Saints (Week 1 vs. Buccaneers), Vikings (Week 3 vs. Bills) and Jaguars (Week 3 vs. Titans) have lost games SU as a double-digit favorite. How rare of a feat is this in the betting world?

It is the first time in the last 25 years that three double-digit favorites have lost SU in the first three weeks of the season.

Don’t worry, the news keeps getting worse for New Orleans, Minnesota and Jacksonville fans. Since 1993, 13 teams have have lost SU as a double-digit favorite in the first three weeks of the regular season — none made the Super Bowl.

Three lost in the conference championship game, two in the divisional round and one in the wild-card round, with seven missing the playoffs altogether.

Lights, Camera, Action

No NFL games get more betting tickets, action and attention than games in prime time, under the lights. In 2018, public bettors are a gruesome 2-8 ATS in prime time (7 p.m. ET or later), cementing the worst start for public bettors in that spot in our dataset. The 10 teams the public has backed so far in prime time have failed to cover the spread by over a touchdown per game.

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