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Worst US Sports Teams for Betting On – 6 Teams to Fade

| December 19, 2020 6:27 am PDT
6 Worst US Sports Teams to Bet On

My dad falls into the same trap that many casual sports fans do. He loves betting on “his team.”

After spending a lot of his youth in South Beach and being a lifelong fan of the Hurricanes, “pops” always fires away on Miami football. Regardless of the situation or any shifts in the line, he just loves betting on the Canes.

As it turns out, Miami is an even 69-69 against the spread since 2010. While my father hasn’t made any money blasting away on “The U,” at least it hasn’t burned a huge hole in his pocket.

With that in mind, there are some squads out there I’d advise steering clear of in the betting arena. Let’s call them the worst US sports teams to bet on.

And now for the reveal.

Kansas Jayhawks, College Football

When Kansas hired former LSU coach Les Miles in 2019, the thought was that the Jayhawks football program would start turning the tide. Unfortunately, it’s been quite the opposite.

A 3-9 record in year one was followed by a disastrous 0-9 campaign in year two, bringing Miles’ record in Lawrence to a laughable 3-18. Now for the numbers, the bettors care about.

  • 6-15 ATS through Les Miles’ first two seasons
  • KU was 0-8 against the spread in 2020 before finally covering in the last game against Texas Tech 

For the most part, the Jayhawks aren’t even competitive when they step out on the field. Here’s a team that concluded 2020 averaging 16.0 ppg while surrendering an NCAA-worst 46.0 ppg.

US sports gamblers beware. This is not a team to risk your money on.

Columbia Lions, College Basketball

Hopefully, my wife won’t be reading this as she obtained her Masters in Psychology from Columbia University. Then again, even a Lions alumnus wouldn’t want anything to do with betting on his or her basketball team.

For starters, here’s a program that hasn’t won the Ivy League regular-season championship since 1968. As poor as Columbia has been over the years, they were royally painful in 2019-20. A 6-24 record (1-13 in conference play) included covering the spread just 32.1% of the time.

Don’t even think about backing the Lions on the money-line – they’ve lost 13 consecutive games straight up.

On top of materializing into mostly losing betting tickets, what makes betting on the Lions even worse is that none of their games are ever on TV.

No offense, but not many people outside of the Northeast are too concerned that the Ivy League canceled the 2020-21 basketball season.

Cleveland Browns, NFL

There’s no question that Kevin Stefanski was a great hire and that Cleveland is moving in the right direction. Nevertheless, the Browns have been substantially worse than anyone else in the league when it comes to covering the spread in recent years.

Case in point – since 2015, the Browns have covered just 37% of the time. The next-lowest % of an NFL team covering during that stretch is 43.6% (49ers).

Unless the NFL betting sites are skewing the numbers on purpose, this is an organization that has gravely underperformed. After Browns bettors lost in excruciating fashion on MNF against the Ravens (week 14, 2020), it’s fairly clear that this franchise is one of the worst US sports teams to bet on.

Detroit Pistons, NBA

You have to go all the way back to 2015-16 to find the last time the Pistons posted a winning record against the spread. A roster being weighed down by Blake Griffin’s bloated contract isn’t able to lure any prized free-agents, and we saw Detroit wave the white towel in 2020 when they traded Andre Drummond for next to nothing.

The fact of the matter is through Dwane Casey’s first two seasons at the helm, the Pistons are 61-91. They’re just 67-82-3 against the spread. It’d be one thing if this group was at least exciting to watch, but that’s not the case either.

The good news – a seat at the table of the worst teams for betting on does have a silver lining. The Detroit Pistons are one of the best teams to fade.

Boston Red Sox, MLB

To illustrate how quickly things can change in Major League Baseball, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2018 and owned the best record ATS. It was all hunky-dory in Beantown.

Plenty of sports bettors would have won some money from backing the team, too.

Fast forward to the start of the 2021 season, and the only team less trustworthy against the spread than Boston (over the last two years) has been the Detroit Tigers.

Boston Red Sox ATS Numbers in 2019 and 2020
Run Line Record Cover % MLB Rank
99-123 44.6 29th

Whatever you do, don’t bet on the Bo Sox at home.

On the heels of a 42-68 ATS record at Fenway Park since 2019, I wouldn’t touch “backing Boston” with a 10-foot pole.

Brooklyn Nets, NBA

After being installed right behind the Lakers as the second-favorite to win the 2021 NBA title, I can’t wait to load up against the Brooklyn Nets. The impending return of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving has the bookies assuming the Nets will be a legitimate contender. However, I’m pumping the brakes and specifically looking forward to fading Brooklyn early.

That’s right, I’ll be motivated to bet on whoever is playing against that disgruntled PG.

While most are enamored by the potential superstar duo of KD and Kyrie, I’m studying the numbers.

As good as the Warriors were during Durant’s final two seasons in Golden State, the Dubs were atrocious when it came to covering the spread.

Golden State Warriors Record Against the Spread
Year ATS Record Cover %
2017-18 46-56-1 45.1
2018-19 44-58-2 43.1

The key here is the sportsbooks were able to build in a cushion knowing that people loved betting on Durant and the Warriors. Similar to Steve Kerr’s old teams in the Bay area, the 2020-21 Nets team will be popular and fun to watch. Hence, exaggerated odds that favor betting against Brooklyn.

What is it they say about betting against the public?

Going Away

And there you have it, the six worst US sports teams to bet on. Now let’s flip the script and pass on some brighter news.

Just like there are teams you’ll want to fade, there are a handful of teams hanging out on the opposite end of the spectrum.

It’s important to avoid the sports teams that will cost you money more often that not. It’s just as important to know which ones you can generally rely to help you win some cash.

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Michael Wynn
Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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