Each year in the NFL, there are a few teams that overachieve drastically, and a few that underachieve and cost bettors big time bucks. Below are the Top 10 teams that we think could ultimately be teams that cover at least nine or 10 games this season, if not even more when push comes to shove.
1: Denver Broncos – The Broncos went 10-6 ATS last season, and there is little reason to think that they won’t be able to do that once again this year. Simply put, this is a complete team that, as much as we hate to say it, might be underrated. We really feel as though Denver is going to be the best team in football this season, and that’s just not what the oddsmakers are thinking. They still believe that the Patriots and the 49ers are the two best teams in football. Remember that the Broncos were No. 2 in the league in scoring last year, and they have a better offense on paper this season as long as QB Peyton Manning stays healthy. They also had the No. 4 scoring defense. Denver outscored teams by 12.0 points per game last season, and if it does that again this year, especially playing against the always overrated NFC East teams in the opposite conference, it will be another 10-cover season at minimum.
2: New Orleans Saints – The Saints quietly went 8-5 ATS over the course of their last 13 games of the season after their disastrous start to last season’s campaign. Remember that two years ago, this club went 12-4 ATS as well. Ever since QB Drew Brees came to town, New Orleans has been formidable, but ever since getting this group of receivers together, especially since RB Darren Sproles came to town, this offense has been unstoppable and the defense has been able to do just enough to get the job done to cover spreads.
3: Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons have been a tremendous ATS team since QB Matt Ryan has been drafted with the team’s No. 1 overall pick in 2009. Since that point, the team is 38-24-2 ATS, easily the best mark that any single starting quarterback has been able to put together. The Falcons have the same looking team that they had last season that went 9-6-1 ATS, and though the rest of the NFC South should be a bit better than it was a season ago, that doesn’t mean Atlanta won’t still fly high. For whatever reason, this is a team that is perennially underrated.
4: New York Jets – Okay, you might think that we’re crazy thinking that the Jets might be a decent ATS team this year, but the perception is definitely there that this is one of the worst teams in football, and we simply don’t believe that to be the case. Oh, the Jets are bad, and they aren’t going to win more than six games this season, but we do think that they are going to show a heck of a lot of fight against a relatively easy schedule. Remember that last season, even without DB Darrelle Revis for most of the year, the team still ranked second against the pass, and it managed to go 7-9 ATS with an offense that averaged just 17.6 points per game. QB Mark Sanchez might be a goner at the end of the season, but he has one last chance to try to prove himself. New York did a decent job in the NFL Draft this year, and that might pay some dividends. However, it might not pay as much in dividends as the NFL Draft did for the…
5: Green Bay Packers – Over the course of the last four seasons, the worst ATS record that the Packers have had has been 9-7. The team had one of those 9-7 ATS seasons last year, and there is good reason to believe that it is going to be in good shape again this year. If for nothing else, the games against teams in the NFC North shouldn’t be nearly as difficult. The Lions might be a better team, but the Vikings surely won’t be (if for no other reason, RB Adrian Peterson probably won’t rush for 2,000 yards again), and the Bears are going to be using a new system. QB Aaron Rodgers is only getting better now that he is entering the prime of his career.
6: St. Louis Rams – The Rams went 11-5 ATS last season, and the oddsmakers never really seemed to catch up with them. They covered six of their last eight games, including going 7-1 ATS on the road. The team also went 11-4 ATS when they were underdogs. St. Louis is going with a youth movement once again this season, particularly at the running back spot. However, we like this spunky defense, and we think that this team is going to have a real chance to win some games in the NFC West, which seems to be the most hyped up division in football.
7: Cleveland Browns – Of all of the teams in the AFC North to list… the Browns? QB Brandon Weeden proved to be competent last season, and RB Trent Richardson is one of the best young rushers in the league. Cleveland had a strong looking NFL Draft this season as well, and it has a schedule that is going to be conducive to a lot of covers. Just over the course of the first six games of the year, the Browns have the Dolphins, Ravens, Vikings, Bengals, Bills, and Lions, and there is a real opportunity to shine in those games. Whether Cleveland can keep this up for the full 16 games is yet to be seen, but we do think that this is going to be the best ATS team of the bunch in 2013.
8: Tennessee Titans – The Titans are considered to be one of the worst teams in the league this year, and we aren’t so sure that’s the case. QB Jake Locker now has all of the weapons at his disposal that he needs to be a successful quarterback, and he’ll hopefully be healthy for a full 16 games this season. RB Chris Johnson had a better season than you would have thought last year, coming up with 1,243 yards. Tennessee only went 6-10 SU and ATS last season, and we think that it is getting a raw deal this year out of the blocks. The Titans could be much improved from a betting standpoint in 2013.
9: Carolina Panthers – This is Year 3 for QB Cam Newton, and this is the season in which he is expected to really take this team to the next level. He led the Panthers to a 9-7 ATS record last season, and there could be better on the horizon this year. For whatever reason, Carolina seems to have New Orleans’ number, and Tampa Bay might turn out to be one of the most overrated teams of the season this year. Carolina could ultimately be the beneficiary. If the Panthers take a step in the right direction this year, they might be able to get to not just a .500 record SU, but a 10-win ATS season as well.
10: Cincinnati Bengals – The AFC North is going to be crowded this year, and the Bengals might be the best team of the four in the bunch. They have quietly gone 17-12-4 ATS over the course of the last two seasons since QB Andy Dalton and WR AJ Green came to the Queen City. Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden has this offense putting up better stats than you would think, and the defense that Head Coach Marvin Lewis is putting together is formidable for sure. The makings are there for this team to take over as perhaps a 12-4 SU team, and if that’s the case, the Bengals will cover at least 10, if not a heck of a lot more.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.