Who are Best NFL Head Coaches Against the Spread?

Who are Best NFL Head Coaches Against the Spread?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

When it comes to betting the spread, taking the head coach’s tendencies into account can have as much of an impact as the players on the field.

In Texas, that means wondering if Mike McCarthy will have enough weapons to support Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and what impact will DeMeco Ryans have in his first year as a coach with the Texans. 

BetTexas.com utilized data from TeamRankings.com to gather every active NFL head coach’s record against the spread (ATS), dating back to 2003 when data was made available. We did not include records from interim stints.

Unfortunately for state football fans, there is no legal Texas sports betting on your favorite teams.

The Texas Legislature discussed the topic this session, but won’t consider it again until 2025.

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NFL Coaches Against the Spread

TeamCoachYears ActiveATS RecordCover Pct.
GiantsBrian Daboll114-573.7%
LionsDan Campbell223-1167.7%
BengalsZac Taylor448-28-260%
PackersMatt LaFleur442-2959.2%
PatriotsBill Belichick28204-148-958%
CowboysMike McCarthy16155-119-656.4%
ChargersBrandon Staley219-15-155.9%
BillsSean McDermott655-44-755.6%
DolphinsMike McDaniel110-855.6%
BroncosSean Payton15140-115-654.8%
49ersKyle Shanahan657-49-153.8%
SeahawksPete Carroll17118-104-753.2%
RavensJohn Harbaugh15132-119--1152.6%
RamsSean McVay654-49-552.4%
CommandersRon Rivera12102-93-752.3%
SteelersMike Tomlin16138-127-1052.1
ChiefsAndy Reid24180-167-651.8%
TitansMike Vrabel544-41-251.8%
PanthersFrank Reich538-36-351.3%
JaguarsDoug Pederson652-52-150%
EaglesNick Sirianni218-19-148.7%
RaidersJosh McDaniel321-2446.7%
FalconsArthur Smith215-18-145.5%
BrownsKevin Stefanski323-2944.2%
BucsTodd Bowles531-44-742.6%
VikingsKevin O’Connell17-10-141.2%
JetsRobert Saleh214-2041.2%
SaintsDennis Allen421-31-140.6%
BearsMatt Eberflus16-1135.3%

Although there are no Texas betting apps, national operators have Kansas City listed as the Super Bowl favorites at +625 odds, trailing the team it beat in last season’s title game (Philadelphia, +850).

Four Young Coaches Top the List

The New York Giants won a playoff game under first-year coach Brian Daboll, who was 14-5 against the spread so he tops the list with a 73.7 cover percentage. Three of the five times the Giants didn’t cover the spread in Daboll’s first season came while going 0-5 against the Cowboys and Eagles, who eliminated New York with a 38-7 loss in the divisional round. 

Detroit coach Dan Campbell ranks second going into his third year, while two coaching their fifth seasons — the Bengals’ Zac Taylor and the Packer Matt LaFleur — are third and fourth on the list. 

McCarthy’s impact figures to be even greater this year as he takes over calling plays for the Cowboys now that Kellen Moore is the offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers. Under McCarthy, Dallas was 11-8 against the spread in 2022, 13-5 in 2021 and 5-11 in 2020. That runs along with the Cowboys going 12-5 each of the past two years and 6-10 in McCarthy’s first season. 

Just like every year, the Cowboys are hoping this is the season they end the Super Bowl drought that extends 27 seasons to 1995. They’ll be playing without running back Ezekiel Elliott for the first time since 2015, as the Cowboys didn’t re-sign the back who rushed for 8,262 yards and 68 touchdowns in seven years and is still a free agent. 

And there’s already drama in Dallas, as All-Pro guard Zack Martin is in the middle of a holdout and isn’t in training camp. There is no BetMGM Texas Sportsbook, but nationally the Cowboys are a 3-point favorite in the opener at the New York Giants.

Texans Start Fresh Again With Ryans

Meanwhile, Ryans starts his NFL coaching career with the Texans’ new franchise quarterback in C.J. Stroud and the top defensive player in the draft with linebacker Will Anderson Jr. There will be a lot of excitement surrounding Houston’s football team for the first time in a long time. 

When it comes to covering the spread, the Texans will surely have some growing pains early in the season. But as the young core learns Ryans’ system and how to play in the NFL, they will be a team to watch later in the season and looking ahead to 2024. 

Looking at what San Francisco did the past two years while Ryans was its defensive coordinator shows some insight, too. The 49ers were 25-15 with a 62.5 cover percentage against the spread in 2021-2022. Of course that was with Kyle Shanahan as the head coach, but Ryans had a huge impact on the team’s success since he guided one of the league’s best defenses. 

There is no Caesars Sportsbook Texas, but nationally the Texans are a 9.5-point underdog in the opener at the Baltimore Ravens.

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Author

Douglas Pils has been a sports journalist for 30 years in Texas, Arkansas and New York having worked for the San Antonio Express-News, the Associated Press, The Dallas Morning News and Newsday. He most recently ran the Student Media Department at Texas A&M for eight years.

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