For years, there’s been a debate about which is more of a freak occurrence in the NFL: A 16-0 season or an 0-16 season.
The New England Patriots, of course, pulled off the perfect regular season in 2007, while the Detroit Lions went winless in 2008. Since the NFL switched from 14 to 16 games in 1978, a handful of other teams have gone either 15-1 or 1-15.
Perfection is a fantastic accomplishment and is certainly rare, but it’s awfully difficult to not win one game out of 16 in a league as evenly matched and competitive as the NFL.
The bookmakers at Paddy Power now have some odds available for this debate.
First, the odds for any team to go undefeated in 2012:
Next, the odds of any team finishing winless in 2012:
So, at least for this season, oddsmakers think a 16-0 regular season is more likely than 0-16. The Patriots and Green Bay Packers are the most obvious threats for perfection. They have the two best quarterbacks in the league, and both have relatively soft schedules, so 5Dimes has each of them listed at 35-to-1 to pull it off.
(Still, the chances of each team going unbeaten are around 1 percent.)
On the other side, however, it’s even tougher to envision a team finishing winless.
The Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars all have win totals sitting at less than 6, but going 0-16? Not likely. The Browns have possibly the most difficult schedule in the entire league, but that still seems like a huge stretch that’d take higher than 50-to-1 odds to entice a bet.
For 2012, we know our answer. A winless season would be more of a freak occurrence than a perfect one.
In the future, though, let the debate continue.
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UPDATE (8:19 p.m. ET): BetOnline has released the following prop: