All the hype this college football season has been on a core of teams that typically fight for spots in the College Football Playoff. Georgia, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation, is one of them along with SEC rival Alabama, which suffered a rare early-season loss to Texas A&M. Ohio State and Oklahoma are back in the mix as is No. 2 Cincinnati representing the Group of 5 schools.
Interestingly, not many of these teams would be high on the list for bettors. None of the schools mentioned have the best record in the country against the spread this year. That honor belongs to…wait for it…Syracuse. The Orange are 8-1 ATS this season followed by UTSA (7-1) and Michigan State (6-1-1).
Does that mean that bettors should instantly start backing Syracuse against the spread? Michigan State? Maybe. Here’s a look at the best and worst teams to back against the spread.
If you were looking for a consistent team to back week in and week out, that team would be…Liberty. Yep, that’s right. A program that became an FBS member in 2018 and wasn’t bowl eligible until 2019 is the best team to back against the spread.
Prior to playing in the FBS, Liberty was an FCS power winning numerous Big South Conference titles. The Flames also played several games against FBS competition. As a result, going back to 2010 Liberty’s record against the spread is 38-16-2. That’s a cover percentage of 70.4. That’s pretty good considering the next team on the list has a cover percentage of 59.6.
The Mullet & The Big 12
Maybe the hair gives his team strength. Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy either won or lost a bet with one of his kids and began sporting the mullet for several years. He cut it off before this season, but losing the hair hasn’t interfered with his team’s ability to cover point spreads.
The Cowboys are 6-2 ATS this season and since 2010 Oklahoma State is 87-59-2 ATS (59.6%). Right behind the Cowboys is Kansas State. The Wildcats are 85-60-2 ATS (58.6%) since 2010. Kansas State is 4-3-1 ATS so far this season.
David Shaw & Stanford
Stanford head coach David Shaw has one of the best records against the spread of any FBS coach. Since 2010, the Cardinal are 82-60-5 ATS (57.8%). Shaw has had a winning ATS record in all but one season. He went 7-7 ATS in 2013. This season could be his first losing season ATS. Stanford is 3-5 ATS right now.
Harbaugh & Holgorsen
Jim Harbaugh and Dana Holgorsen have been FBS head coaches for some time. They have led multiple programs too. What’s interesting is Harbaugh does fairly well overall. He’s 6-2 ATS this year and he is 28-11 straight up when playing as the favorite. The issue is Harbaugh is just 18-20-1 ATS in those 39 games.
Holgorsen is 53-37 at West Virginia in seven seasons. Bettors might think twice about backing the Mountaineers under Holgorsen. He is just 37-52-1 ATS (41%). The WVU head coach is having a better go of it this year with a 5-3 ATS record so far.