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2014 NFL Season Bettor’s Recap

February 4, 2015

It’s hard to believe the 2014 NFL season is over, isn’t it? We sit around waiting for months in anticipation for the season, and then before you know it, we’re back to the off-season. 2014 was an exciting season that ended with a crazy Super Bowl finish. This was arguably the most competitive NFL season ever. Almost any team was capable of beating anyone on any given day. And because of that, it was a bit tough to predict winners against the spread.

Nobody Respected the Indianapolis Colts

One thing is certain – the team that got the least amount of respect from Vegas was the Indianapolis Colts. For whatever reason, they were considered overachievers. They were seen as a decent team that had a star quarterback, but not a real contender. This led to Indianapolis not getting as many points as they probably deserved each week. The Colts had the best record in the NFL ATS (12-6-1). They were 12-5-1 heading in the AFC Championship Game and still had doubters. But, after that 40-point blowout loss, maybe there was reason for the doubt.

Bad Teams Didn’t Cover

Sometimes, bad teams are able to beat the spread on a regular basis. That’s due to a lack of respect from the oddsmakers. In 2014, it was actually the bad teams that also tanked ATS. Every team that finished with a losing record against the spread also failed to make the playoffs. That’s a stunning fact, but it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Good teams typically cover the spread, bad teams get blown out often.

However, 3 of the top 5 teams ATS (Kansas City, Minnesota, Cleveland) did fail to make the playoffs. But 2 of those teams were actually decent. Minnesota was the exception to the rule. Cleveland and Kansas City were in the post-season chase for most of the season so it’s not like they were garbage teams. The top 2 teams ATS (Indianapolis, Arizona) both made the playoffs.

Over/Under Trends

For the most part, the teams with the best offenses hit the over more often than not. That makes sense, obviously. Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans, and New England all played in games where the over hit 61% of the time or better. So if you were smart enough to bet the over on games involving the high-octane offenses, you probably made some money this year. On the flip side, Cleveland, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Detroit, and Buffalo all played in games that only hit the over 5 or fewer times. And, go figure, those were mostly mediocre offensive teams.

What This Year’s Trends Mean for Next Season

If we learned anything from last year, we learned that just because the favorites covered at record pace (about 70% in 2013) doesn’t mean history will repeat itself. You can analyze all the historical data you want, but what happened in 2014 won’t necessarily occur in 2015. However, you should expect to see many of the favorites heading into next year get far too much respect from the oddsmakers early in the season.

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