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2012-13 NFL Season Wrap Up: The Best Teams Against the Spread

Now that the 2012-13 season is in the books (Baltimore won the Super Bowl, by the way), let’s take some time to look back on the season and see which teams were the most profitable against the spread over the course of the year. Naturally, some of these teams may not have finished with good records, but that’s not the point of doing well against the spread. These are instead the teams that Las Vegas consistently underrated with their point spreads. Keep in mind, it’s very difficult for a football team to consistently perform well against the spread; Vegas adjusts the lines to account for a team’s success or failures, thus adjusting for their performance; that’s why most teams’ ATS records end up in the .500 range. However, these five teams bucked the trend this season and became gamblers’ favorite squads no matter their city affiliation.

Indianapolis Colts: 11-5 ATS

This one isn’t really a surprise, given everything that the team accomplished this season with rookie phenom Andrew Luck and the wave of sentimentality surrounding Chuckstrong. (More on rookie QBs later.) The Colts were the surprise team of the season, even claiming a playoff berth before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champs in the first round. However, they also had the easiest schedule in the league, and while Andrew Luck mounted more than his fair share of successful fourth quarter comebacks, he was often doing it against subpar teams. However, strength of schedule matters, so analyze promising teams next year that have a weak slate of games. Every year there’s a team that capitalizes on the league’s creampuff teams, and this year it was the Colts.

Seattle Seahawks: 11-5 ATS

This healthy record against the spread was the result of another phenomenal rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson. Their dominance this season was based largely on a ball-hawking, hard-hitting defense and a sterling home record. Betting trend to watch next year: the Seattle Seahawks were 7-1 against the spread at home this season. They’ve traditionally been an amazing home team, but with another year of experience under their belts, look for the Birds to be even more dominant on their home turf next year. Las Vegas won’t be caught off guard by them anymore, however, so the lines may be inflated. Still, Seattle is always a smart bet at home, particularly against inferior competition; they showed in back to back 50-plus point games this year that they enjoy running up the scoreboard any chance they get.

St. Louis Rams: 11-5 ATS

This is the first team on our list where their gambling success does not jive with their on-field success. The Rams were okay this season, finishing 7-8-1. However, they were scrappy and well-coached by new sideline general Jeff Fisher. They found themselve4s in a lot of close games, which is how they ended up covering the spread 11 times this year. Look for them to improve even more in Year Two of the Fisher era.

Washington Redskins: 11-5 ATS

The Redskins were largely thought to be a bottom-feeder in the NFC East this season. Instead, they won it with the stellar play of rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. They also lost in the first round of the playoffs, but remember: if a promising rookie QB enters a good situation in the NFL, the sky is the limit for how high his team can rise.

Denver Broncos: 10-5-1 ATS

After a rough start to their schedule, Denver benefited from one of the easiest second halves in the league. They capitalized, frequently blowing teams out. Look at strength of schedule, even for good teams like the Broncos that have unusually high lines. They still might just be a smart bet.

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