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Football picksJuly 30, 2021

Handicapping NFL Teams that Won Less Than five Games

Betting trends, futures odds and statistics for NFL teams that won less than five games last year, along with historical data to help you key in on top spots this season.

NFL teams that won less than five games last season

All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson notched 11,619 receiving yards with 96 touchdowns, but still had to endure three painful seasons in which the Lions won less than five games


We Know Why You’re Here

There are two types of people with a genuine interest in NFL teams that won less than five games last year:

  • Fans
  • Bettors

If you’re a fan of any NFL teams that won less than five games the previous season, there is cause for hope. First of all, this league is the ultimate parity party. No professional sports league has witnessed as many teams go from worst to first in subsequent seasons, and there’s no reason to believe that trend will change anytime soon.

Secondly, NFL teams that won less than five games are usually sporting a hot new rookie quarterback. Or perhaps it’s an impact running back that’s making fantasy football owners drool. There’s often a new coach to go along with it, too. All are justifiable reasons for optimism.

But let’s talk about bettors. Chances are good that if you’re on my sports betting website, you want the straight goods. How are you going to make money betting on or against NFL teams that won less than five games the previous season?

Well you came to the right place. In this article I have trends, stats and odds for NFL teams that won less than five games last year, along with historical data that can help you key in on some top spots this season. So let’s get to it.

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Trends For NFL Teams That Won Less Than Five Games

I’ll start things off with a season-long Over/Under betting trend that has produced a 62% record over the years. The OVER is 41-25.

  • Away from home, play OVER the total with any NFL teams that won less than five games and whose current win total is O/U 5 or less.

These sad sack teams are generally getting at least +7 points. They’re throwing what they can at the wall and seeing what sticks. With a weak defense, they are likely to give up 28-plus points per game and garbage time touchdowns are an OVER bettor’s best friend.


For UNDER bettors, this trend was inspired by HC Frank Reich in his rookie season with the Colts (2018).

  • I’m looking for home favorites with a solid record (.500 or better) just one year after a brutal season (sub five wins). An added parameter is to look for teams that had a weak fourth quarter defense last year.

Indy (4-12 SU) held nine leads through three quarters in 2017, but finished 4-5 SU in those games. With QB Andrew Luck back in the mix, they were now winning these battles. His strong offense through the early part of that season earned us some high totals but Indy finished 2018 on a 7-2 UNDER run. With the conditions of this system, Indy was 3-1 UNDER as a home fave.

  • The updated record for this system is 33-19 UNDER (63%), league-wide.

Watch the Falcons, Eagles and Jaguars this year for potential UNDER value after some high-scoring early games. Atlanta was 31st in fourth quarter scoring (9.4) while Philly ranked 16th (7.1). The Jags were 10th, allowing 6.0 fourth quarter PPG, but their offense stands to show the greatest improvement early, inflating their totals by midseason.


When you find a team that covered less than five games ATS last year, hit them up in Week 1 and hit them hard.

  • Week 1 NFL teams that won less than five games against the spread are 21-11 ATS (66%).

The Philadelphia Eagles were 4-12 ATS in 2020 and they are getting +3.5 points on the road against Atlanta to start this year.


One more thing you’ll notice about these sub-5-win stinkers is that they are often riding extended losing streaks against rivals. It brings this 60% ATS trend into play.

  • In Week 1, look at backing any team seeking quadruple revenge.

The structure of this league is built on a concept that evens the playing field. Straight up streaks like this are often overcompensated for by NFL odds makers. In other words, you’re getting built in value with the line. Week 1 teams that have lost four-straight against their opponent are 41-27 ATS.

NFL Teams That Won Less Than Five Games in 2020

I’m tracking NFL offseason betting odds for you throughout the summer. Every time a new team preview is added or the futures market takes a significant swing, I’ll post on social media and you can stay up to date as we countdown to kickoff.

The six NFL teams that won less than five games last year are the Falcons, Eagles, Texans, Jaguars, Jets and Bengals. Here’s a snapshot of their upcoming seasons.

Atlanta Falcons

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 7.5 OV -145
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 7 OV -145
2020 Record: 4-12
Average Wins 2018-20: 6
Odds to win the Division: +1000 (3rd)
Net Strength of Schedule: 14th easiest

Thanks to the Panthers, Atlanta ranks as the only team out of these six sub-5 winners that is not projected to finish last in their division. Art Smith gets his first shot as a head coach and while he won’t have Derrick Henry to lean on, RB Mike Davis had a breakout year in Carolina with 1,015 yards from scrimmage. Smith’s philosophy is to play to his personnel’s strengths. We know what Matt Ryan can do and LT Jake Matthews is a rock. The offense will put up points but as noted above, this D allowed 9.4 fourth quarter points per game last year and they haven’t done nearly enough on that side to make the Falcons competitive.

  • Circle Week’s 14 (at Panthers), 16 (Lions) and 17 (at Bills) for potential UNDER spots with Atlanta this season.

Philadelphia Eagles

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 6.5 OV -155
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 6.5 OV -135
2020 Record: 4-11-1
Average Wins 2018-20: 7.3
Odds to win the Division: +500 (4th place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 2nd easiest

The Eagles have a young, new coaching staff that will try and utilize Jalen Hurts‘ mobility, but don’t take that as predictability. Nick Sirianni has worked with QBs that had a vast array of talent and he’s going to work to get play action involved, using RPOs or whatever else he can think of to try and keep the defense guessing. The Eagles will be aggressive and will look to play spoiler, projecting as an underdog in all but two of their games. After a late bye week, Philly finishes with four-straight divisional games, three of them at home. Seven wins is a stretch but keep in mind, Philly’s December home record since 1989 is 43-22 SU (66%). Their current win streak is five-straight.

Houston Texans

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 3.5 OV -155
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 4.5 OV -110
2020 Record: 4-12
Average Wins 2018-20: 8.3
Odds to win the Division: +2500 (4th place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 15th easiest

The Texans off-season has been marred by controversy and with so much uncertainty still surrounding this team, they earned the distinction of having the lowest win total in the conference. The rebuild has begun, and it’s going to be a long road.

For preseason power rankings and Super Bowl odds, visit my NFL Team Previews HQ!

Despite all the things this franchise has done wrong in the past three years, hiring David Culley was a good move. While it’s true he has no head coaching experience at the pro level, Culley has been around the NFL for almost 30 years. He’s offensive minded, worked closely with Andy Reid for many of his 14-years in Philadelphia, and comes to Houston from Baltimore where he spent time with John Harbaugh and Lamar Jackson. The players like Culley and right now, this organization is in dire need of some character building.

Jacksonville Jaguars

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 6.5 UN -125
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 6.5 UN -120
2020 Record: 1-15
Average Wins 2018-20: 4
Odds to win the Division: +1000 (4th place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 4th easiest

Under the blazing Florida sun, first overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence is stealing the show through the first few days of training camp. Behind a below-average offensive line, Lawrence will look to establish some balance in an attack that was forced to throw on 66.2% of its plays last season, most in the NFL. The key is that when Lawrence does drop back, he gives the team a chance to improve on its pitiful 62.8 completion percentage (27th), and 6.0 yards per pass (26th) averages from 2020.

In six games before their bye, Jacksonville will face the Texans and Titans to get a taste of the division. They also get Denver and Arizona at home and with heat and humidity factored in, those two matchups offer upset potential. The Jags visit Cinci in Week 4 for a showdown between the past two No. 1 overall draft picks. Miami is favored by -3.5 in Week 6 and from an optimistic point of view, Jacksonville could be as good as 3-3 SU when they head into their break.

An innovator of the game, ‘rookie’ HC Urban Meyer will play a big role in O-Co Darrell Bevell’s offense. Between Lawrence, RB James Robinson and first rounder Travis Etienne, this Jaguars attack will develop an unique, explosive identity. Hitting seven wins in Year 1 is a big ask for this group but when they’re getting enough points, Jacksonville will be worth a look.

Jets headline list of NFL teams that won less than five games last year

Jets QB Wilson signed a four-year, $35 million contract Thursday that includes a $22.9 million signing bonus


New York Jets

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 6 UN -125
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 6.5 UN -150
2020 Record: 2-14
Average Wins 2018-20: 4.3
Odds to win the Division: +2500 (4th place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 8th easiest

The Jets posted a 0-6 SU record vs. the AFC East in 2020, marking their fifth straight losing season against the division. As expected, New York took QB Zach Wilson with the second overall pick and followed with an O-Lineman, WR Elijah Moore and RB Michael Carter. They then shifted gears and gave first-year HC Robert Saleh some tools to work with on defense. It’s another rebuild year but New York nailed the draft and Saleh will whip this team into shape.

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One interesting thing to monitor with this improved Jets team will be their ability to respond to a loss.

  • Since 2017, the Jets are 10-33 SU (.233) off a loss, the worst win-percentage in football.

New York has missed its Vegas win total four of the past five years (80%), and this year’s line is being pressed off 6.5. The last time the Jets were even .500 on the season was in 2013 (8-8), but Saleh won’t tolerate a culture that’s become so accustomed to losing.

Cincinnati Bengals

2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds: 6.5 UN -115
Pre-draft NFL Win Total Odds: 6.5 OV -110
2020 Record: 4-11-1
Average Wins 2018-20: 4
Odds to win the Division: +2500 (4th place)
Net Strength of Schedule: 13th most difficult  

Of the six NFL teams that won less than five games in 2020, the Bengals are the only one whose strength of schedule ranks above average in terms of difficulty. That’s what playing in the AFC North will get ya, and Cinci also faces Green Bay (Week 5), San Francisco (Week 14) and Kansas City (17). Travel and ‘Rest’ rankings do play to the Bengals’ favor. Joe Burrow returns from his season-ending injury to lead an offense featuring Joe Mixon and 5th overall draft pick Ja’Marr Chase. This team is headed in the right direction.

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