Five worst NFL franchises to bet on during the Super Bowl era

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

The NFL season doesn't kick off for a while, but we do know the 2020 schedule, and opening lines have been released for Week 1, Monday Night Football games and some other key matchups.

As we prepare to get back into the swing of things and return to betting, we decided to take a look back at the worst teams to bet on over the course of the Super Bowl era.

Our NFL Nation reporters offer their input while discussing the bottom five franchises to bet on against the spread, percentage-wise, using research from ESPN Stats & Information.


No. 1: Arizona/St. Louis Cardinals (386-435-11 ATS, .470)

The Cardinals' overall futility as an organization extends beyond their win-loss record. There hasn't been a worse team against the spread in the Super Bowl era than the Cardinals, first of St. Louis and then of Arizona. They are 386-435-11 (.470) against the spread -- but that's a better mark than their actual on-field record of 326-442-8 (.425) during that span.

The Cardinals are the league's oldest franchise but have just 13 winning seasons since 1970, including in 2013 and 2014, which were two of their three best seasons against the spread. Arizona just hasn't been able to find any consistency winning or as an organization. With Kliff Kingsbury, the Cardinals are on their 16th head coach since the merger and have been to the playoffs just eight times in 49 years with one trip to the Super Bowl, which they lost. And since the merger, 43 quarterbacks have started for the Cardinals. -- Josh Weinfuss


No. 2: Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (390-429-13, .476)

The Raiders have been a literal black hole for bettors, as their 390-429-13 (.476) ATS mark suggests. It only seems like it was a lifetime ago when the Raiders were one of the most dominant teams in the league, winning three of the first 18 Super Bowls while playing in nine AFL or AFC titles games between 1967 and 1977. Ancient history, right? Especially since the Raiders have had only one -- one! -- winning season since playing in Super Bowl XXXVII in January 2003. It's a trend the franchise hopes to reverse as it, ironically, makes the move to the gambling mecca of Las Vegas. Bettors beware. -- Paul Gutierrez


No. 3: Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams (386-424-22, .477)

Despite a successful run at the turn of the millennium that resulted in a Super Bowl title during the 1999 season and a Super Bowl appearance to end the 2001 season, the Rams have been among the most unpredictable teams during the Super Bowl era. They are just .477 against the spread, ahead of only the Cardinals and Raiders, with a 386-424-22 mark.

Outside of the "Greatest Show on Turf" team coached by Mike Martz and led by quarterback Kurt Warner and running back Marshall Faulk, the Rams have been unable to sustain prolonged success over the past 30 years due in large part to coaching turnover, relocation (from L.A. to St. Louis and eventually returning to L.A.) and front-office dysfunction. -- Lindsey Thiry


No. 4: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (319-350-23, .477)

The Bucs haven't been kind to bettors over the past 43 years because the franchise has been so wildly unpredictable. From going 2-26 straight up the first two seasons in 1976-77, to going 10-6 and reaching the NFC Championship Game in 1979, to winning the Super Bowl in 2002 and then not winning a postseason game since, the Bucs have had little stability. It can be seen in the constant coaching changes and an inability to draft and sign a quarterback to a second contract -- something they still have yet to do. They're hoping their fortune changes now with Bruce Arians and Tom Brady joining forces. -- Jenna Laine


No. 5: New York Jets (387-421-24, .479)

The Jets have the fifth-worst record ATS (387-421-24, .479) in the Super Bowl era, which shouldn't come as a shock. After all, they have reached the postseason only 14 times during that span. And when they've been bad, they've been really bad -- 14 last-place finishes in their division, meaning they're non-competitive as often as they play in the postseason. Chalk it up to instability on all levels of the organization, from the front office to coaching to the quarterback position. -- Rich Cimini