Football season is approaching and the team at Sports Insights has developed some college football betting predictions by taking a look at how the worst teams against the spread (ATS) recovered the following season. Are those teams poised for another bad year, or will they bounce back?
From our own initial hypotheses, we’d expect some teams to improve based on a few factors: constant player turnover, younger players developing, coaching changes, sportsbooks’ odds adjustments, and public perception. After delving into the data, it’s true that most NCAAF teams with poor ATS seasons recover the following season, but we were surprised to see just how well some of those teams bounced back.
We used our Bet Labs software to find the worst teams ATS (in terms of Units Won/Lost, and 3 or fewer ATS wins) for a given year and then analyzed how that team performed the very next season.
NCAAF ATS Regular Season (does not include bowl games) since 2006:
- 76 of 78 teams (97%) had more ATS wins the following year, 1 had same, 1 had fewer
- 41 of 78 teams (53%) finished .500 or better ATS the following year
- 35 of 78 teams (45%) improved by 4+ games ATS the following year
Since 2006, nearly half the teams improved by at least 4 games ATS. However, in 2012, these teams improved far more than we could have imagined.
ATS in 2011
ATS in 2012
|Middle Tenn St.||3-9||8-4|
- 13 teams won 3 or fewer games ATS in 2011. The following year (2012), all 13 teams improved by at least 2 games ATS.
- The 13 worst ATS teams went 36-117 ATS (23%) in 2011. In 2012, those same teams combined to go 87-66 ATS (57%), an improvement of over 50 games.
- In 2012, 10 of 13 teams improved by 4+ games ATS.
As you can see, the worst ATS teams from 2011 performed admirably in 2012. By looking at the worst ATS teams in 2012 (in terms of Units Won/Lost, and 3 or fewer ATS wins), we’ve got some potential sleepers to watch out for in 2013.
Worst Teams ATS in 2012 to look out for in 2013:
Southern Miss 3-9
Air Force 3-9
Virginia Tech 3-9
Southern Cal 3-9
Miami Ohio 3-8
- 14 teams finished with 3 or fewer ATS wins in 2012-13. According to our historical data, we’d expect about 6 or 7 of them to improve by 4+ games ATS in 2013-14.