When it comes to betting on point spreads in the NFL, a lot of people tend to only bet the favorites when the numbers are closer to 0. Very rarely do people place big money on teams that are favored to win by three or more touchdowns, and for good reason.
Those types of spreads are insanely hard to cover, but they do still pop up from time to time. Throughout NFL history, here are the five largest point spreads that looked more like ones you’d see in college games.
5. Dallas Cowboys (-23 vs. Tampa Bay)
Things were incredibly difficult for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their first couple of seasons in the NFL, and they were still searching for the franchise’s first win in Week 3 of the 1977 NFL season. However, they ran into a buzzsaw in the form of the Dallas Cowboys, who came into the matchup as a 23-point favorite.
The game got out of hand rather quickly as the Cowboys jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. The Bucs tried to battle back in the second to make it a 20-7 game at halftime, but the Cowboys controlled the ball and showed mercy, winning by a final of 23-7 to improve to 3-0 on the season.
4. San Francisco 49ers (-24, Twice)
The San Francisco 49ers of the 1980s and 1990s were obviously incredible, and they were often heavy favorites for their games, especially against weak opponents. There were two occasions in which they were 24-point favorites, with the first coming in 1987 against the Atlanta Falcons, and the other in 1993 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The 49ers would actually cover in the first of those two games, defeating the Falcons 35-7 in Candlestick Park. As for their game against the Bengals, the 49ers would win comfortably at 21-8 (despite trailing at halftime), but came nowhere close to covering the massive point spread. Coming into those games, the Bengals and Falcons had a combined record of 4-20.
3. New England Patriots (-25 vs. Philadelphia)
The 2007 New England Patriots are considered to be among the best teams of all time and were on their way to a perfect regular season when they were hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12. The Patriots were 10-0 at the time while the Eagles were still a respectable 5-5, but the oddsmakers figured it was going to be a blowout and made the Patriots a 25-point favorite.
The Eagles gave the Patriots everything they could handle, though. At halftime, the Patriots led 24-21, but lost the lead and went into the fourth quarter trailing 28-24. With 7:20 left, the Patriots scored a four-yard touchdown from Laurence Maroney and never lost the lead, winning 31-28 but coming nowhere close to covering the spread.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (-27 vs. Tampa Bay)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers played their first NFL season in 1976 and, well, they didn’t perform quite the way that they wanted to, to put it nicely. The team was 0-12 heading into Pittsburgh to play a Steelers team destined for the playoffs. Oddsmakers gave the Steelers a 27-point advantage coming into the ballgame as nobody knew if the Bucs would even be able to score on the Steel Curtain.
Unlike the Cowboys from the year before, the Steelers didn’t show much mercy toward the 0-12 Buccaneers. Pittsburgh scored four touchdowns in the second half, and it wasn’t until they took a 42-0 lead into the fourth that they would slow down. That would end up being the final score, with the Steelers easily covering the massive spread.
1. Denver Broncos (-28 vs. Jacksonville)
The largest line in NFL history opened up at 28 points when the 5-0 Denver Broncos hosted the 0-5 Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6 of the 2013 NFL season. The Broncos were riding high and Peyton Manning was having one of the greatest quarterback seasons in NFL history while the Jaguars were going nowhere fast.
In the first quarter, it appeared as if the Broncos were going to cover, hopping out to a 14-0 lead. However, the Jaguars scored all 12 points in the second quarter to dash the hopes of anyone that bet on Denver. The Broncos would end up outscoring the Jags 21-7 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to cover as they walked away with a 35-19 win.