These Six Teams Made Bettors the Most Money in 2020

Miami Dolphins quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick

Miami Dolphins quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa (1) and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) walk together during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
  • The year 2020 was a disaster in almost all respects
  • It was a little more tolerable if you bet on teams that covered the spread
  • See which teams were the most-profitable for bettors in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, plus college football and college basketball

As 2020 comes to a close, no one is mincing words. This year was, mostly, awful. The Wikipedia entry for the year 2020 is nothing more than a video of your sister on a date with Jake Paul. Not even Logan, Jake.

There was a silver lining for people who backed the following teams in the big-six North American betting markets, though. (All data is from SBD Sharp.)

Jump to: NFL | NBA | NHL | MLB | NCAAF | NCAAM

NFL: Miami Dolphins

2020 ATS Record Return on Investment If you bet $100 on every game, you would have won …
11-3 51.93% $727.02

All calculations as of Dec. 23rd, 2020.

The Miami Dolphins showed signs of life at the end of the 2019 season, winning four of their last five, and they parlayed that momentum into a hugely successful 2020. The Phins are 10-5 heading into Week 17 and have a 65% chance to make the playoffs, according to FootballOutsiders.

Evidently, oddsmakers still saw Miami as the 5-11 team that they were on paper last year. They were underdogs in their first five games of the 2020 season and ten of 16 overall. They won five of those ten games straight up (with the last one still to come in Week 17 at Buffalo). The biggest spread they faced this year was +8.5 at San Francisco. They left Levi’s Stadium with a 43-17 win, paying out as +315 moneyline underdogs as well.

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NBA: OKC Thunder

2020 ATS Record Return on Investment If you bet $100 on every game, you would have won …
48-31 19.11% $1,509.69

When the Thunder dealt an in-his-prime Russell Westbrook – the face of their franchise – for a mid-30s Chris Paul ahead of the 2019-20 season, the betting world expected OKC to take a big step back. When they also sent Paul George to the Clippers for a package of youngsters and picks, a “big step” turned into a leap.

That didn’t happen. OKC went 44-28 in the hyper-competitive Western Conference, grabbing the #5 seed in the process. They actually improved their win percentage from the year prior, going from .598 to .611. CP3 upper his Player Efficiency Rating from 19.7 in 2018-19 to 21.7. Crucially, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the biggest chip acquired in the George trade, turned into a bona fide star in just his second season, leading the team in scoring (19.0 PPG).

It all amounted to an underestimated OKC team covering nearly 61% of their games.

2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers

2020 ATS Record Return on Investment If you bet $100 on every game, you would have won …
50-35 11.54% $980.90

The Flyers started the 2019-20 season slowly, going 11-12 (on the moneyline) in the first 23 games. But they went into the coronavirus hiatus as the hottest team in the league, posting a 9-1 record in their final ten. The strong finish propelled them into a top-four seed in the revamped 2020 playoff structure.

Including the fan-less postseason, Philly went 50-35 against the puckline, a 58.8% cover rate. Their 21.11% return on investment is actually the lowest on this list – by a wide margin – which demonstrates the parity of the NHL. Still, anyone who was backing the Flyers all season came out the other side with a smile bigger than Gritty.

MLB: Chicago White Sox

2020 ATS Record Return on Investment If you bet $100 on every game, you would have won …
38-25 21.11% $1329.93

The Chicago White Sox had a splashy 2020 offseason, scooping up catcher Yasmani Grandal, DH Edwin Encarnacion, and former Cy Young-winner Dallas Keuchel. Coming off a 72-89 regular season in 2019, there was a lot of optimism, but also plenty of doubters.

Even if the 2019 playoff field had been seven deep, like the 2020 bracket, the South Siders still would have finished 11 games out of the postseason.

On the back of an offensive explosion, Chicago finished 35-25 in the truncated 2020 season, a .583 winning percentage. They racked up 306 runs, second only to the New York Yankees in the American League.

College Football: Indiana Hoosiers

2020 ATS Record Return on Investment If you bet $100 on every game, you would have won …
7-0 92.85% $650.02

In 2019, the 8-5 Indiana Hoosiers posted their first winning season since 2007. In 2020, the basketball blueblood announced its return to prominence in the football world.

With Michael Penix taking over for Peyton Ramsey at QB, the Hoosiers went 6-1 overall in the shortened season and a perfect 7-0 against the spread. Their lone straight-up setback came at Ohio State. They kept it a one-score game (42-35) despite being 21-point underdogs.

Unsurprisingly, a 7-0 ATS record also means that Indiana had the best ROI of any team on this list.

College Basketball: Hofstra Pride

2020 ATS Record Return on Investment If you bet $100 on every game, you would have won …
29-10-1 41.63% $1,665.39

Not familiar with the Hofstra Pride? The little school in Hempstead were the best bet among all 353 DI schools in 2020. Playing in the Colonial Athletic Association, Joe Mihalich’s team went 26-8 overall last season, earning a place in the NCAA Tournament along the way. They have covered over 70% of their past 40 games.

What have you done for me lately? How about upset the Richmond Spiders on the road as 12-point underdogs.

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