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NFL Week 3 Picks & Betting System: Winless Against-the-Spread Teams Provide Value

NFL Week 3 Picks & Betting System: Winless Against-the-Spread Teams Provide Value article feature image

Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Darnold

  • Winless against-the-spread NFL teams are historically good bets in Week 3.
  • How is that possible? Danny Donahue digs into the teams offering bounce-back betting value today.

If you’re not prepared to read about how the Jets might be one of Week 3’s best betting values, this isn’t the article for you.

But in case you are open to the idea of putting money behind a team that gave up 55 yards on a 3rd-and-31 toss play from its opponent’s 11, I’ll continue. I’ll also now point out that not every suggested team in this post will be as bad as the Jets, because, well, such teams don’t exist.

Teams like the Cowboys, Texans and Eagles also fit into variations of this historically undervalued spot entering the third week of the NFL season. And that spot — as you may have picked up from the title — is having yet to cover a spread.

Betting 0-2 ATS Teams in Week 3

Given it’s one-game-per-week style, football is perhaps the ultimate recency-biased sport, and two weeks of a season is more than enough for the public to feel it knows everything about every team.

Part of knowing everything about every team? Knowing which ones aren’t going to win you any money.

But, of course, a two-game sample is no way to judge a football team (hell, look at where we pegged the Dolphins after a seven-game sample last season). So bettors willing to back what feel like very uncomfortable sides in Week 3 have actually made quite the profit over the years.

In our database (since 2003), teams entering Week 3 at 0-2 against the spread (ATS) have gone 66-47-0 (58.4%) ATS in their next game. For several of those teams, though, the opponent was also 0-2 ATS.

By filtering out the duplicates we get an ATS record of 54-35-0 (60.7%). That mark has returned 16.9 units for a 19% ROI.

Here are your current 0-2 ATS teams (that aren’t playing another one this week):

  • Texans (+4 at PIT)
  • Eagles (-5.5 vs. CIN) [Bet Now in PA!]
  • Jets (+10.5 at IND) [Bet Now in NJ!]
  • Panthers (+6.5 at LAC)
  • Browns (-7 vs. WAS)
  • Lions (+5.5 at ARI)
  • Cowboys (+5 at SEA)

Not all 0-2 ATS teams are created equal, though, and further targeting certain spots within the coverless world has been even more profitable — again, historically speaking.

Average Cover Margin

There’s coming up a couple points shy of your spread in a dramatic comeback win, and then there’s losing your first two games outright by double-digits despite closing as the favorite in both. The latter is probably going to have a greater effect on upcoming spreads.

Sure enough, these 0-2 ATS teams that have been particularly far from covering have made for even better bets. How exciting.

Over the same 17-year span, such teams that have failed to cover by an average of at least five points in their first two games have gone 50-26-0 (65.8%) ATS, winning 22.4 units for a 29.5% ROI.

Most of the teams listed above still fit into this system:

Big Underdogs

Perhaps because these lines are the clearest-cut examples of overreactions in the betting market, targeting 0-2 ATS teams that enter Week 3 as big underdogs has been a money-making machine in our database.

Specifically, such teams that come into Week 3 as underdogs of a touchdown (+7) or more have gone a ridiculous 21-6-0 (77.8%) ATS, racking up 13.7 units for a 50.9% ROI.

Now, that’s obviously a smaller sample, and no bettor should expect a near-80% win rate to continue. It does, however, provide some insight into which types of these 0-2 ATS teams are the most undervalued.

Sadly, there is only one such match for this system on Sunday.

Even more sadly, it’s exactly the team you were hoping it wouldn’t be:

NFL Week 3 Sportsbook Promos

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