A quarter of the 2017 NFL season is in the books, and four NFL teams own a goose egg in regards to covering the spread: the Chiefs and Bills are a perfect 4-0 ATS, while the Chargers and Cardinals are winless ATS. When will each erase that zero? Soon.
The modern NFL is designed for parity among teams. Including the high luck factor in any given game and oddball scoring rules (points divisible by 3), it’s pretty rare for a team to win or lose four straight against the spread in the betting market at any point in the season. The Chiefs, Bills, Chargers and Cardinals have accomplished this feat to begin the year. Easy money suggests going against their trending way as soon as possible.
The Chiefs and Bills are a perfect 4-0 ATS after late-game victories in Week 4. Buffalo used a trio of fourth-quarter field goals to upset the Falcons 23-17 in Atlanta as 8-point underdogs, while the Chiefs covered a 7-point spread in a wild 29-20 win over the Redskins on Monday night. Down 23-20 with 0:04 left in regulation, Washington attempted a desperation lateral play in a final effort to win the game. A complete pass and two tossbacks later, running back Chris Thompson fumbled. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston scooped it up and scampered into the end zone for a 13-yard defensive touchdown as time expired. For bettors taking the points, it was one of the toughest NFL bad beats in recent memory.
So how long will the Bills and Chiefs remain perfect against the spread? Not very, if recent history is to judge. Since 1989, two teams or more have entered Week 5 competition 4-0 ATS nine separate times. At least one has failed to cover each season. Overall, perfect teams are 10-22-2 ATS in this span, losing to the number by 3.4 points per game on average. The Bills opened as a 1.5-point pup at Cincinnati on Sunday, the line adjusted to +3 in early wagering. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have moved to a pick ‘em at most shops since an initial -3 offer for their date at the Texans. The 2007 Patriots own the best ATS start to a season, going 8-0 before failing to own up to -4.5 points in a 24-20 Week 9 win at the Colts.
The Chargers and Cardinals are on the other side of the spectrum, the only two NFL teams to begin the year winless against the spread. The Cardinals are missing the mark by a touchdown per game after eking out an 18-15 extra-time win vs. the 49ers last week while laying 6.5 points. Arizona has covered at least two games through their first four games each season in the last decade. The Chargers, on the other hand, have had slow starts to each of their last three seasons, going a combined 3-11 SU and 4-9-1 ATS through Week 4.
Similar to the undefeated trend, six seasons have witnessed multiple teams enter Week 5 winless against the spread since 1989. At least one has come out on top each year. The race to get that first cover takes a little bit longer, however, when all teams are considered. Overall, 0-4 ATS squads are 12-14-1 ATS in this span. Almost 30 percent of these teams have gone 0-6 ATS to begin the year. The 1991 Colts sustained the longest losing streak, needing until the halfway point of the season to cover their first spread in a 17-6 loss at the Jets as 11.5-point pups.
The Chargers are 3.5-point underdogs at the Giants on Sunday, while the Cardinals are catching 6.5 points at the Eagles. It would be wise to take the points with at least one. Do your homework and pick a winner.