In blackjack, you’ll walk away from an ice-cold table before you end up giving the dealer all your money.
The percentages and odds behind it don’t make any rational sense, but it makes you feel better to stand up and leave. Even though every hand of blackjack ever dealt at a casino gives you essentially the same odds of winning or losing (unless you’re counting cards, of course), we talk ourselves into the theory of “hot” and “cold” tables.
Is it the same in sports betting?
No one wants to keep betting on the teams that are losing them money. Perhaps you bet the Eagles in Week 1 as big favorites at Cleveland. They won, of course, but that didn’t do you any good because they didn’t cover. And the same thing happened in a 24-23 victory over Baltimore as 2.5-point favorites in Week 2.
Two bets, two losses, and now there’s no chance on earth you’re backing the Eagles again.
Right now, there are eight NFL teams that are a perfect 2-0 against the spread through the first two weeks. There are also eight teams that are 0-2 ATS.
Using KillerSports.com’s SDQL database, here’s how teams in similar scenarios have done in Week 3 (since 1989).
TEAMS THAT START 2-0 ATS (IN WEEK 3)
Straight Up: 80-58 (.580)
ATS: 65-67-6 (.492)
As a Favorite: 38-38-3 ATS (.500)
As an Underdog: 26-28-3 ATS (.481)
At Home: 32-37-3 ATS (.464)
On the Road: 33-30-3 ATS (.524)
TEAMS THAT START 0-2 ATS (IN WEEK 3)
Straight Up: 73-65 (.523)
ATS: 80-57-1 (.584)
As a Favorite: 28-26 ATS (.519)
As an Underdog: 52-29-1 ATS (.642)
At Home: 31-30 ATS (.517)
On the Road: 49-27-1 (.645)
It goes against every instinct we have to bet on teams that haven’t won any money in the first two weeks. “Who wants to bet on the Raiders?” we ask ourselves. “They’ve looked terrible.”
And the same goes for the Chiefs, Vikings, Saints, Titans, Giants, Lions and Eagles—all teams that haven’t quite lived up to expectations and are 0-2 ATS to begin the season.
But, unlike blackjack, the odds can swing in our favor based on what’s happened previously.
Oddsmakers adjust. Public money moves lines. Perception changes, and that can create value by backing teams that no one wants to support.
It’s tempting to “stay with the hot hand” in Week 3 in the NFL, and there’s a decent chance that a few of the 2-0 ATS teams win and cover.
But 24 years and more than 100 games of evidence seems to show that it’s the 0-2 ATS teams that carry much more value.