The Dallas Cowboys are a mess. They’ve lost their franchise quarterback to injury, their defense can’t stop a nosebleed and they’re mired in an 0-7 against the spread (ATS) streak to start the season.
With the Cowboys’ ineptitude, they’re now one of nine teams since 1988 to start an NFL season 0-7 ATS, but if history has told us anything, the Cowboys will be a good spread bet for the rest of 2020.
According to Odds Shark’s database, teams that started the season 0-7 ATS went on to cover the spread in 62.3 percent of their games the rest of the way. That seems like a lie, doesn’t it? It’s true, though – the eight teams before the Cowboys in 2020 went a collective 43-26-3 ATS to finish their seasons and only two of those teams (the 2003 Raiders and 1991 Bengals) had losing ATS records over the duration of the season.
Here is every instance of a team starting 0-7 ATS and each team’s betting record for the remainder of the regular season:
|Year||Team||Remaining ATS Record|
|2006||Miami Dolphins||6-3 (66.7%)|
|2003||Oakland Raiders||3-5-1 (39.8)|
|1997||Green Bay Packers||5-2-2 (71.4%)|
|1997||Cincinnati Bengals||7-2 (77.8%)|
|1991||Cincinnati Bengals||4-5 (45%)|
|1991||Indianapolis Colts||5-4 (55.6%)|
|1988||Indianapolis Colts||6-3 (66.7%)|
When Was The Last Time An NFL Team Started A Season 0-7 Against The Spread?
The last team to start an NFL regular season 0-7 ATS was the 2006 Miami Dolphins. If you recall, that was Nick Saban’s last year coaching in the NFL before he fled to greener pastures in the NCAA with the Alabama Crimson Tide following a Week 17 loss to the Colts. It was also the year the Dolphins chose Daunte Culpepper as their quarterback of the future instead of Drew Brees. Ouch!
In the first seven games of the season, the Dolphins were favored in three of them and lost two of those games outright. It was after their Week 8 bye that things turned around, as the Fins went 5-4 SU and 6-3 ATS the rest of the way. Even if Saban tucked his tail and ran, it’s still encouraging to see how a team responds when nearly everyone, including the oddsmakers, is against them.
Has A Team That Started 0-7 ATS Had a Winning SU Record?
Only one team on our list would be considered an outlier as these records are usually reserved for the worst of the worst of historical NFL teams that are typically underdogs for the majority of their games. The anomaly is the 1997 Green Bay Packers. If you can remember, the Packers were coming off a Super Bowl win over the Patriots in 1996 and were the toast of the league with NFL MVP Brett Favre.
Well, the first half of the season did not go well for Packers backers, even if they were 5-2 SU. In four of their five wins, they were double-digit favorites, and they lost two road games outright as a fave to the Eagles and Lions on their way to starting the season 0-7 ATS.
Then the Packers had their bye, proceeded to go 8-1 SU and 5-2-2 ATS the rest of the way and locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The good vibes of 1997 ended at the Super Bowl when the Packers fell 31-24 to the Broncos.
Are the Cowboys Good Spread Bets For Remainder of 2020?
I guess it depends on the spreads but, historically, teams like the Cowboys that start off this badly against the spread end up coming around for the remainder of the season. Of the previous eight teams to start 0-7 ATS, only two had losing spread records the rest of the way and that was the 1991 Cincinnati Bengals and the 2003 Oakland Raiders. To be fair in the Raiders’ case, QB Rich Gannon, who won NFL MVP in 2002, was out for the season after Week 7 due to a shoulder injury.
While I wouldn’t call Dak Prescott an MVP, that QB injury kind of mirrors the 2003 Raiders’ debacle and it’s why I’m dubious that the Cowboys can reverse their fortunes and come around. Watching backup quarterbacks like Andy Dalton or Ben DiNucci try to move the chains is cringe-worthy and the schedule for Dallas is difficult the rest of the way (Eagles x2, Steelers, Ravens, 49ers).
Even if the Cowboys are underdogs in every game the rest of the season, they’re such a public team that the spreads likely won’t be high enough for sharps to back them. For example, Dallas is currently a 7.5-point underdog to the Eagles in Week 8 but that spread should be closer to +10.5 or more. For what it’s worth, the eight prior teams that started a season 0-7 ATS were 6-2 ATS in Week 8.
That being said, the longest ATS losing streak to start a season is eight games and all the factors are aligned for the Cowboys to tie the 2003 Raiders and 1991 Bengals in spread futility. Fade until further notice.