With the start of the 2017 NFL season looming, bettors are flocking to place their wagers with anticipation and excitement for a new and unpredictable season. While handicapping the NFL over an entire regular season is no easy task, it is important to consider which teams have been overvalued and undervalued by the markets while making sure to jump on the undervalued teams. When a team is consistently undervalued by the markets for the entire course of a season but is able to maintain a high level of play throughout the season, this combination usually results in the team posting a stellar record against the spread. With that, let us take a look at the five best NFL against the spread (ATS) seasons of all-time – the top three teams on this list all went on to win the Super Bowl.
Number 5 – 2015 Minnesota Vikings (14–3 Record ATS)
The 2015 Minnesota Vikings came out of nowhere and surprised nearly everybody by compiling an 11–5 win-loss record and winning the NFC North division. While posting a 13–3 ATS record during the regular season, the Vikings improved this record to 14–3 in their last game of the season – a heartbreaking 10–9 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks as 4.5-point underdogs.
Number 4 – 2004 San Diego Chargers (13–2–2 Record ATS)
Similar to the Vikings, the San Diego Chargers were not considered an elite team but was a team that exceeded expectations during the 2004 season. Now named the Los Angeles Chargers, San Diego finished with a putrid 4–12 record in the previous year. In the next year, Drew Brees and LaDainian Tomlinson led the Chargers to a 12–4 record along with the AFC West title while finishing off the regular season with a 13–1–2 record ATS. However, in the wild card game, the Chargers ended up losing at home and failing to cover against the New York Jets – the Jets were also responsible for the Chargers’ only ATS loss during the regular season.
Number 3 – 1985 Chicago Bears (15–3–1 Record ATS)
The 1985 Chicago Bears are often mentioned as one of the greatest teams of all time and started off the 1985 season on a 12-game winning streak. Additionally, they also steamrolled their way through the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 91–10, and crushing the New England Patriots in a 46–10 Super Bowl win – the only points that the Bears gave up during their entire playoff run.
Number 1 (Tied) – 2016 New England Patriots (16–3 Record ATS)
Last year, the New England Patriots remarkable come-from-behind Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons was a feat to be remembered for the ages. However, perhaps even more impressive was the manner in which they dominated the 2016 season ATS. This was made even more notable in that the Patriots were forced to start off the first four games of the season without Tom Brady, arguably the greatest of all time. The Patriots ended off their amazing 2016 season by covering their final seven games.
Number 1 (Tied) – 1989 San Francisco 49ers (16–3 Record ATS)
The 1989 San Francisco 49ers represented the first elite team that Las Vegas oddsmakers failed to adjust for. After starting off the season 2–2 ATS, the 49ers went on an epic 14–1 run to finish off the season, including a perfect 3–0 record ATS in the playoffs. The 49ers completely dominated the competition in the playoffs, outscoring their opponents 126–26 while destroying the Denver Broncos 55–10 to take home the Super Bowl.