Best College Basketball Teams Against the Spread
by Trevor Whenham - 12/8/2009
It's early in the college basketball season, but already some teams are establishing themselves as good friends to bettors. In some cases teams are only big against the spread successes until the public starts to catch on, but more often in college basketball it seems like teams that start out strong continue to reward their faithful backers. Here's a look at the five biggest ATS successes so far this season:
New Mexico (7-0-1 ATS) - No one would mistake the Lobos for a serious national contender, but they haven't taken a misstep yet en route to an 8-0 start. The Pit isn't a friendly place for opponents to play - it is, incidentally, by far the best place I have ever seen a college basketball game - and this year has been no exception. They have won all six home games, and they have been favored in all eight of their games, so they are not only winning but winning in style. Their schedule gets a little bit tougher over the next month, but they don't have the toughest schedule in the world, and the way they are playing it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that they will be reasonably profitable. It's not like they are going to be a team that the public is going to pay much attention to.
William & Mary (5-0 ATS) - Few people ever think about William & Mary at the best of times, and certainly not when they are coming off a 10-20 season during an off year for the CAA. There were reasons to think that this team could improve at least a little this year, though - they returned four starters, they don't have to rely on a raw freshman backcourt this year, and senior David Schneider is a pretty special player - at least in CAA terms. So far things are going well for them - they have won six of eight games, and have covered without fault whenever facing a line. They haven't faced a weak schedule, either - they covered against UConn to open the season, and went to Wake Forest and left with an impressive 10-point win.
South Florida (6-1 ATS) - The good news is that the Bulls have come out of the gate swinging - they have won seven of eight and are covering at a grand clip. The bad news - they haven't exactly played anyone. The closest things to good teams they have played are South Carolina and Virginia, and the Gamecocks were their only loss. The biggest key to the success has been the unexpected strength of sophomore Augustus Gilchrist. Gilchrist started at Virginia Tech and briefly transferred to Maryland before landing at South Florida, but in his second year he's leading the team with 18.8 points per game. He and junior guard Dominique Jones are helping this team reach their potential so far. Now it remains to be seen if this team can maintain their momentum once the brutal Big East schedule starts.
Villanova (6-1 ATS) - Unlike the rest of the teams on this list, Villanova is doing well despite facing massive expectations - they are currently ranked third in the AP poll. As with any top team at this point in the season, they have faced some big spreads. Though they have mostly covered them, it has to make bettors nervous that they aren't generally doing it by a wide margin - three of their six covers have been by two points or less. Despite the narrow margins of covering, the Wildcats have only been challenged once so far - by George Mason. They have been the least challenged of the elite teams in the league, though, so it remains to be seen what they can do when things get tougher - though that doesn't really happen until January.
Richmond (4-0 ATS) - The only real reason that anyone is talking about Richmond right now is because football coach Mike London just jumped to the ACC with Virginia. if they keep up their current pace, though, then the focus could shift to the basketball squad. They are 7-1 so far, and the have covered all four of their games that have had spreads. A couple of those covers have been impressive, too - they beat Mississippi State and Missouri on consecutive days on a neutral court. The strong start isn't a surprise to those who follow the A-10. They have four returning starters, and are a popular upstart pick as a winner of their conference - or at least a strong contender for Dayton.
Most Recent College Basketball Handicapping
- College Basketball National Championship Odds and Expert Analysis and Predictions
- 2021 ACC Tournament Predictions and Betting Odds
- Weekend College Basketball Primer
- 2021 NCAA Tournament Projections and Predictions
- Non Conference College Basketball Betting Loophole
- 2020 Big Ten Basketball Predictions
- 2020 ACC Basketball Predictions
- 2020 Big East Basketball Predictions
- 2020 Big 12 Basketball Predictions
- Doc's Sports 49th year 3 for 1 anniversary college basketball picks special offer