2017 March Madness: Which Coaches Should Bettors Know?

One team from every Division I college basketball conference earns an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament, and four automatic bids have already been doled out including Jacksonville State (Ohio Valley), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), Wichita State (Missouri Valley) and Winthrop (Big South). While many basketball fans may be unfamiliar with all of the mid-majors battling for invitations to the tourney, these small conference tournaments often provide unique opportunities for bettors.

Some small conference tournaments tipped off last week with all of the major conferences getting underway over the next couple of days. The ACC Tournament begins on Tuesday with the other major conferences (Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC) starting on Wednesday. These games mark the unofficial start of March Madness — perhaps the most exciting time on the sports calendar.

I have already examined the best values in the futures market and will be detailing several profitable postseason betting strategies over the upcoming weeks. In the meantime, many bettors have been asking about which coaches have fared best during March Madness. Players are constantly cycling in and out, but coaches are the one constant for the nation’s top programs.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has made 12 Final Four appearances and has won five national championships, which trails only UCLA’s John Wooden for the most all-time. Despite his impressive win-loss record, Coach K has not historically delivered for bettors. Since 2005, Krzyzewski 24-34 against the spread (ATS) in postseason games, which includes conference tournaments, the NCAA Tournament and smaller postseason tournaments like the NIT, CBI, and CIT. That makes him the fifth worst active postseason coach in our database.

The table below looks at the best and worst postseason coaches for both the spread and total.

Best ATS Coaches

Coach School Record Units
Rick Pitino Louisville 36-20 +14.3
Mark Gottfried North Carolina State 20-7 +12.2
Rod Barnes Cal State Bakersfield 14-2 +11.3
Andy Enfield USC 13-2 +10.5
John Beilein Michigan 29-18 +10.1

Worst ATS Coaches

Coach School Record Units Won
Dave Rose BYU 15-29 -14.9
Scott Sutton Oral Roberts 7-19 -12.4
Rick Barnes Tennessee 17-28 -11.6
Gary Waters Cleveland State 10-21 -11.5
Mike Krzyzewski Duke 24-34 -11.1

Best Over Coaches

Player School Record Units Won
Thad Matta Ohio State 38-23 +12.6
Jeff Lebo East Carolina 20-7 +11.7
Mark Few Gonzaga 31-19 +10.0
Roy Williams North Carolina 41-29 +9.7
Mark Fox Georgia 23-12 +9.5

Best Under Coaches

Coach School Record Units Won
Bill Self Kansas 40-25 +12.8
Marvin Menzies UNLV 21-7 +12.4
Steve Fisher San Diego State 32-20 +10.1
Barry Hinson Southern Illinois 14-3 +10.0
Tommy Dempsey Binghamton 16-5 +9.9

Several of the best ATS coaches in our database have moved onto brighter pastures with Billy Donovan (38-22) and Brad Stevens (23-10) taking NBA head coaching positions. Interestingly, all five of the worst ATS coaches in our database are still active.

Don’t forget to visit our free college basketball odds page for the latest odds, public betting trends, injuries and more. Interested in tracking steam moves, smart money alerts, and our highly profitable Best Bet picks? Sign up for a 4-day trial of Sportsbook Insider Pro.

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David Solar

David Solar is the Content Manager at Sports Insights. He specializes in sports betting analytics and creating data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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