Analyzing Trends ATS This Season in Men’s NCAAB

Today the ScoreMetrics Lab dives deep into the analytics of investing on the spread in NCAA Basketball.

If you are looking to invest on games to make watching them more fun, than picking the winner straight up is the way to go. Depending on the matchup, the odds will be greater, which means you win more if your team pulls out a victory.

With the way top-ranked teams in college basketball have gone down to unranked competition this season, putting your money against the better teams was often a good idea. But picking upsets is not a reliable way to make money.

However, using the point spread—aka, the great equalizer — can be.

Now, if you are looking for a massive payout from one game, then investing in the spread is not the way to go (unless you are willing to bet a massive amount on one game). Making money investing on the spread is more likely to happen throughout a season once you can figure out the trends.

How do you do that? Well, that is where the ScoreMetrics Lab comes in handy.

With the college basketball regular season winding down, let’s see what we can learn about how teams performed against the spread (ATS) this season.

Roll Tide!

Figuring out who to bet on is the hard part. Do you go with your favorite team, one of the bluebloods, or the No.1 ranked team in the polls?

My favorite team is Texas A&M—not a great basketball team. That doesn’t mean they can’t be great ATS, of course, but they weren’t (13-16 ATS). However, after digging a little deeper, I discovered that my Aggies were 6-10 ATS at home and 6-3 ATS on the road.

So, if I didn’t mind selling my soul and going against them at home, but for them on the road, this strategy, could have done okay for me this season. But there has to be an easier and more profitable way.

What about going all-in on one of the bluebloods, like Kentucky? The SEC had some good teams this season. At least one had to be a good investment betting ATS this spread this season, right?

As it turns out, not really:

  • Auburn: 13-17 ATS; 8-9 at home, 2-7 on the road, and 3-1 at neutral sites.
  • Florida: 13-17 ATS; 6-8 at home, 4-7 on the road, and 3-2 at neutral sites.
  • LSU: 13-16-1 ATS; 7-9 at home, 5-5-1 on the road, and 1-2 at neutral sites.
  • Kentucky: 16-14 ATS; 8-10 at home, 7-2 on the road, and 1-2 at neutral sites.

The best investment from the SEC was a relatively mediocre team—Alabama:

  • 19-11 ATS.
  • 8-7 at home.
  • 8-3 on the road.
  • 3-1 at neutral sites.

Typically, when you think about Alabama, you think about football, not basketball. But anyone rolling with the Tide ATS this season had a good year.

Who Was The Best ATS?

You are better off taking emotion and any preconceived preferences out of the decision-making process. But then, how do you pick from the 300+ Division I college basketball teams? That’s where the Score Metrics Lab comes into play!

The top five teams ATS the spread this season were not teams the average fan would probably think of investing in. Again—that’s where ScoreMetrics comes in:

  • Hofstra: 22-8; 9-4 at home; 11-4 on the road; 2-0 at neutral sites
  • South Dakota State: 21-8; 11-3 at home; 10- on the road
  • Southern: 18-7-3; 8-1 at home; 10-6-3 on the road; 1-0 at neutral sites
  • St. Francis (PA): 20-8-1; 8-5-1 at home; 11-3 on the road; 1-0 at neutral sites
  • North Florida: 22-9; 8-5 at home; 14-2 on the road; 0-2 at neutral sites

Whether they were home or away, these guys still managed to cover the spread over 70 percent of the time this season. No other Division I teams can say that! So, had you invested in one of these teams during the regular season, you would be pretty happy right about now.


Of course, knowing this information after the fact doesn’t do anyone any good, but it does show us how the process works and the pitfalls in investing with your heart and being guided by emotions when investing.

Does this mean we can roll with one of these teams next year? Not necessarily, because a lot can change from now until the start of next season.

There is so much more that can be derived from a season’s worth of data, but if we gave out all our trade secrets—well, that would not be a smart idea.

However, if you want to learn more about ScoreMetrics works, check out John Todora’s new book, Zero Correlation Investing – The Score Metrics Secret.

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