NCAA Football: Who are the Best and Worst ATS Teams?
by George Monroy - 10/3/2013
Football handicapping can be a tedious undertaking because there are so many stats and elements of the game to think about. Some gamblers might just flip a coin and pray, while others pour over very stat possible before deciding on the best bets to make. Either way, no matter what type of handicapper you are, the one stat that every bettor should look at before placing a wager on any game is a team’s ATS record. Winning a game is one thing, but covering a spread is an entirely different story. ATS records are particularly useful in college football because of the large spreads usually involved.
Alabama might be the best team in football. However, because of the large spreads the team usually faces, they don’t have the best ATS record in football. The Crimson Tide only have a 2-2 ATS record, while plenty of unranked teams are undefeated against the spread. Let’s spend a few minutes and take a closer at the best and worst ATS teams this college football season.
Central Florida: 4-0
Colorado State: 4-1
Ball State: 4-1
Bowling Green State: 4-1
Florida Atlantic: 4-1
Utah State: 4-1
Washington State: 4-1
The one thing to take away from the list of the best ATS teams in college football is that nearly all of the teams are smaller, unranked schools. The only real notable team in the Top 10 is Wisconsin. The rest of the teams are smaller schools that are probably not on most bettors’ radar. It seems that the best way to make a profit during the NCAA football season is to sprinkle in a few bets on the smaller under-the-radar schools. It might not be wise to completely abandon the teams that you are familiar with and bet on a regular basis, but there is value wagering on the unknown schools.
Central Michigan: 0-5
Notre Dame: 0-4-1
Fresno State: 0-4
Southern Methodist: 0-4
Wake Forest: 1-4
New Mexico State: 1-4
Louisiana Tech: 1-4
Most of the teams with the worst ATS records are schools that are well known to gamblers. The schools at the bottom of the list were not expected to be very good in the first place, so it is not like gamblers are losing much money on them anyway. One take away from the worst ATS list is that the top-ranked schools might not have the best betting value, but they do not have the worst either—the Alabamas and Oregons of the world are not on either list.
AP top 10
Ohio State: 3-1-1
Florida State: 3-1
Texas A&M: 3-1
Last week’s Associated Press Top 10 did not have horrible ATS records, but they are not tearing up the betting spreads by any means. Five of the teams in the Top 10 have a .500 ATS record, while the other five have .750 or better record. The difficulty in wagering on the top-ranked schools is that they are usually such large favorites that the spreads do not matter. Will a team like Alabama slip in the BCS rankings because they beat an opponent by 25 points instead of 30? The best bet for wagering on the top-ranked schools is to look on the lower end of the Top-10 or Top-25 rankings. The teams that are good, but not considered a contender for the national title, might have smaller spreads and less hype to deal with on a weekly basis.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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