- Twenty of the NFL’s 32 teams lost money for their ‘financial backers’ during the 2022 season.
- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went a horrific 4-13-1 ATS for a -10.3 unit loss.
- Chicago and Indianapolis were also big money losers in 2022.
Yesterday, we reviewed the best pointspread teams from the 2022 NFL season. Today, we’ll look at the other end of the spectrum. Twenty of the league’s 32 teams lost money against the spread last season but only one managed to lose double digit units. Parity and the small number of games makes it tough to lose that many units in pro football.
How rare is it for a NFL football team to lose double digit units? It isn’t unprecedented but it doesn’t happen very often. Prior to 2022, it hadn’t happened since at least 2018. That’s as far back as I felt like digging in my records. In 2019, the Chicago Bears lost -9.2 units which was the low water mark prior to the 2022 NFL season.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-10.3 UNITS)
In the span of a couple of years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gone from being Super Bowl champions to point spread infamy. The 2022 season was downright bizarre for Tampa Bay. The Bucs played in the worst division in football and still managed to only go 8-9 SU on the season. In a just world, they wouldn’t have come anywhere near the postseason but the NFC South was so bad that they *won the division* with that 8-9 record. All they got out of that was a wildcard game against Dallas where they were eviscerated by the Cowboys.
Tampa Bay was a miserable ATS team but due to the popularity and past performance history of their quarterback–a guy named Tom Brady–the ‘public’ kept throwing money at them week after week. That resulted in a 4-13-1 ATS record and a loss of -10.3 units. Tampa Bay finished a putrid 23.5% winner against the spread. Teams in Tampa Bay’s situation are perennial money losers at the betting window. Once elite teams on the downturn are still supported by ‘public’ money and this is one of many reasons that the ‘squares’ get killed week after week in the NFL. It’s not always easy to determine if the ‘wheels are coming off’ for a good team or if they’re just in a slump. In the case of the Bucs, however, it was pretty obvious. Tampa Bay stood at 3-2 SU after a 21-15 win over Atlanta on October 9. That would be the last time they’d be above .500 the rest of the way.
CHICAGO BEARS (-7.1 UNITS)
It would be easy to say that no one expected anything from the Bears in 2022 and they happily obliged. In this case, however, that would be inaccurate. Although Chicago has the ATS profile of a losing team that just didn’t exert an effort there were a few positive signs for the Bears in 2022. Most significantly, they led the league in rushing putting up 177.3 yards per game. That’s a full 17.3 YPG more than the second place Baltimore Ravens. It didn’t translate into putting points on the board as Chicago was #24 in scoring offense at 19.2 PPG.
Even in today’s pass oriented NFL, it never hurts to be able to control the ball on the ground. The bad news for the Bears is that the rushing game was let down by just about every other component of the team. The passing attack–a term that should be used loosely here–was abysmal behind overrated QB Justin Fields. Chicago was as bad through the air as they were solid on the ground with only 130.5 passing yards per game–dead last in the NFL and 28 YPG fewer than the second worst passing team (Atlanta). The defense didn’t do them any favors either. Chicago was #29 in total defense, #17 in passing defense and #31 in rushing defense. That translated into being dead last in scoring defense allowing 27.2 PPG.
Fields is ‘da man’ for ‘da Bears’, like it or not. There’s just not another legit NFL starting quarterback on the depth chart. The Bears spent the offseason trying to fill the rest of the holes on the team both through the draft (trading away the #1 overall pick) and through free agency (spent $120 million this offseason). With better personnel coming in Chicago almost *has* to be an improved pointspread team this year. If Fields starts to pan out they could become a tough team to face.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-6.1 UNITS)
Much of the Colts’ problem in 2022 was coaching–or a profound lack thereof. Frank Reich got shown the door after starting 3-5-1 but he looked like Bill Parcels compared to interim coach Jeff Saturday. Lest we forget, Saturday was given the job despite having no collegiate for professional coaching experience. The Colts would win only one game under Saturday and finish the season 4-12-1 SU/6-11 ATS.