2010 Year in Review

2010 Year in Review & Team of the Year Award (December 2010)

We are pleased to bring you SportsInsights.com’s (SIs) unique Year-End in Review — where we look at an interesting blend of this past year’s top sports stories — combined with value — in the sports betting world.  We’ll take a look at who’s currently hot — and who’s not.  We’ll also pay tribute to this year’s champions in the major US team sports — as well as “against the spread” leaders.  Finally, we’ll study the results and see what lessons we, as “value sports investors” can learn.  The information on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.

Who’s Hot?

As we wrap up another action-packed year of sports action, we thought we would take a look at, “Who’s Hot, and Who’s Not?” 

  • The New England Patriots & Tom Brady are definitely hot.  Early in the season, the thinking was that New England was still a solid team, but a mere shell of their dynasty teams.  However, the Patriots once again have the best record in the NFL at 11-2 (tied with Atlanta) , with the best net points (Points For – Points Against).  Because their performance is a bit of a surprise, the Pats are 8-4 ATS.
  • In the NBA, Boston, San Antonio, and Dallas are all playing about .850 ball — and interestingly, even with their red-hot starts, they are only about .600 ATS, combined.  It is very difficult for great teams to beat expectations — and beat the spread.  
  • Amar’e Stoudemire’s Knicks have been a pleasant surprise for their fans and are playing .600 ball.  They are also a surprise for sports bettors and are currently +10 units and 72% ATS.
  • Lebron James’ Triumvirate started the season slow, but they are now red-hot, often demolishing teams.  Miami is playing around .700 ball and have gotten back to “even” ATS.
  • Duke is continuing this season the way they ended their 2009-2010 championship season, starting 10-0.  They are 6-3 ATS.
  • SportsInsights publishes a regular series of articles on “Betting Against the Public” in various sports.  SportsInsights’ Square Plays feature have had a good year, with College Football Squares winning 66% of their selections and the NBA, a red-hot 70%.   Currently, SportsInsights’ Square Plays are up about +30 units.  This doesn’t even include our best-performing sport, MLB, which had a +21 unit season in 2010.

Who’s Not?

  • The Detroit Lions have a poor 3-10 record in the NFL, but they are nicely positive ATS, at 9-4.
  •  The NHL New York Islanders were actually in first place during the early stages of the season when they stood at 4-3.  Since then, they have won just two games (which is, by far, the fewest wins in the NHL).  Amazingly, the Islanders are close to even ATS.
  • After losing to Duke in the NCAA March Madness Championship last season, Butler is just 3-3 to start this season.

Recap of 2010 and Sports Betting Tidbits

Below is a table for the major US sports that shows the Champions, teams with the best Regular Season record, and best-performing team ATS.  Even though these are often the best teams in the sport, many teams are subpar ATS (highlighted in green).  Some standout teams that surprised sports book linesmen did well ATS, which we highlighted in yellow.  Some other highlights:

  • In last year’s NBA season, the Lakers and Cleveland had great seasons, but struggled ATS.  This shows us that the point spread and money line are great equalizers.
  • If you scan the chart below, you will note that during 2010 — more often than not — the team with the Best Regular Season Record did NOT go on to win the Championship for that sport .  This tidbit of information might prove to be useful as sports investors approach playoff betting opportunities.
  • Baseball’s Giants and Padres had better-than-expected seasons and as a result, did well ATS.

Table 1: 2010 Champions and Best Performance Against the Spread (ATS)

Sport Champion Best Regular Season Record ATS Champion
NCAA Football 2010-2011 
(current season)
Champion to be determined 1/10/11

#1 Auburn (13-0, 9-4 ATS) vs. 
#2 Oregon (12-0, 7-4-1 ATS)
Auburn (13-0, 9-4 ATS)
Oregon (12-0, 7-4-1 ATS)
TCU (12-0, 8-4 ATS)
Hawaii 11-2 ATS(Actual Record 10-3)
NCAA Football 2009-2010 
(last year)
Champion: Alabama
Alabama #1 (13-0, 8-5 ATS) vs.
Texas #2 (13-0, 5-7-1 ATS)
Alabama (13-0, 8-5 ATS)
Texas (13-0, 5-7-1 ATS)
Boise St (13-0, 8-5 ATS) 
TCU (12-0, 8-4 ATS)
Cincinnati (12-0, 6-6 ATS)
Connecticut 10-2 ATS(Actual Record 7-5)
NFL 2010-2011 (this year)
New England (Current AFC #1 Seed)
8-4 ATS
Atlanta Falcons (Current NFC #1 Seed)
9-4 ATS


New England (11-2, 8-4 ATS)Atlanta Falcons (11-2, 9-4 ATS) Atlanta (11-2), Jacksonville (8-5), St. Louis (6-7) & Detroit (3-10)all 9-4 ATS
NFL 2009-2010 (last year) Champion: New Orleans 8-8 ATS

Indianapolis (Current AFC #1 Seed)
New Orleans (Current NFC #1 Seed)  
Indianapolis 14-0 (10-3-1 ATS)
Indianapolis 10-3-1 ATS
(Actual Record 14-0) 
NCAA Basketball Duke 35-523-14-2 ATS Kentucky 35-320-16 ATS Princeton 18-7 ATS(Actual Record 22-9)
NHL Chicago Black hawks 52-22-8+8 units with Money Line Washington Capitals (54-15-13)+16 units with Money Line San Jose +21 units with Money Line(Actual Record 51-20-11)
NBA Los Angeles Lakers (57-25, .695)(33-46 ATS) Cleveland Cavaliers (61-21, .744)(38-43 ATS) Milwaukee 52-28 ATS(Actual Record 46-36)
MLB San Francisco Giants (92-70, .568)+14 units with Money Line (regular season) Philadelphia Phillies (97-65, .599)+10 units with Money Line (regular season)
San Diego Padres +19 units 
with Money Line

(Actual Record 90-72, .556)

How do Good Teams do ATS?  Bad Teams?

After studying the year-end summary charts over the past few years, what conclusions can we make about how “good teams” and “bad teams” — perform ATS.

  • Oftentimes, teams that do the best ATS are average-to-good teams.  This result agrees, to some degree, with SportsInsights’ research that shows that “Betting Against the Public” performs slightly better in games that are expected to be “closer” — or games that are expected to be “more competitive.”
  • As sports bettors know, teams that do well ATS are “undervalued.”  That is, teams that do well ATS perform “better than expected” — whether they are good teams or bad teams.
  • The very worst teams seem to under-perform ATS.
  • Sports bettors should seek to ride the coattails of undervalued teams.  Although this may sound obvious, it is much harder to do than you think.  For example, the “sports marketplace” is very efficient and adjusts relatively quickly.  For instance, last year’s NBA champs, the Lakers are below .500 ATS!   This shows how difficult the “sports betting marketplace” is to navigate.  Like sports, sports investing is very competitive!

2010 Team of the Year

This year, the staff at SportsInsights.com decided to select a “Team of the Year.”  Our Team of the Year award is selected based on excellence and achievement — as well as value for sports investors.  The Finalists for SI’s 2010 Team of the Year Award are the Duke Blue Devils (NCAAB) and the New Orleans Saints (NFL).

  • 2009-10 Duke Blue Devils : Coach K’s teams seem to contend year-in and year-out — but they had not won a Final Four championship since 2001.  They last made it to the Final Four in 2004 but put it all together last year.  Duke lost just 5 games during the regular season and beat the upstart Butler team in the final 61-59.  Duke surpassed even the high expectations of the sports marketplace by going 23-14 ATS.
  • 2009-10 New Orleans Saints : The Saints had a great regular season, going 13-3.  They led the league in net points, scoring a league-leading 510 points while yielding just 341.  Their season was overshadowed a bit by the Colts run at a perfect regular season.  The Colts won their first 14 games of the season before losing the last two games in relatively meaningless games (with respect to playoff positioning).  The Saints won the Super Bowl as underdogs to Peyton Manning’s “more experienced” Colts.  However, during the regular season, the Saints were just 8-8 ATS.

And this year’s award goes to… The Duke Blue Devils.  The Saints had a great season — as well as the “feel-good” story of Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding of New Orleans.  However, Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils added a feather to their cap by grabbing yet another title.  And — not only did Duke win a championship, they helped their backers pad their bankroll.  The team at SportsInsights.com salutes the Duke Blue Devils and congratulates its fans.  We look forward to another year of “value” and profit in the sports marketplace.

Team of the Year Awards

  • 2010 Duke Blue Devils
  • 2009 New York Yankees

SportsInsights.com’s Philosophy on Sports Investing

We hope that our 2010 Year in Review has shed some light on “value” in the sports betting marketplace .  Sports betting is a very competitive environment and the sports marketplace adjusts the pricing and lines fairly quickly.  SportsInsights.com approaches sports betting in a business-like manner and views it more as “sports  investing.”  SportsInsights provides its Members with the industry’s fastest live odds, collects data on the sports marketplace and develops systematic and computerized methods to capture “value” in the sports marketplace.  SIs’ “contrarian sports investing” techniques include: Betting Against the Public, Square Plays, Smart Money, Steam Plays, and Best Bets.

We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we’ve found will continue to exist.  It is impossible to predict the future.  Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time.  Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself.  We do not guarantee our data is error-free.  However, we’ve tried our best to make sure every score and percentage is correct.