So I got this tweet from scott_sportbets the other day: “Do you have trouble winning most of your bets? Well, I win at least 97% of mine.”
This guy is clearly awesome.
Meanwhile, I’m winning about three percent of mine, less than that last week.
That’s all right, though. Consider me past due. Odds are things will turn around. The smart thing to do would be to double down, press and play a little catch up. Then, invest in some of scott_sportsbets’ 97 percent winners.
Since I’m not quite that foolish, I spent my time breaking down the Top 3 ATS performers so far this year. Hopefully, this will help us pinpoint teams with similar stats that may not have had as strong of ATS showings this far but are poised for profitable finishes.
Connecticut Huskies (7-1 ATS): The Huskies, at 4-4 straight up, are in rare air. Since 2003, only three teams have finished in the Top 10 of ATS winning percentage with a .500 straight-up record or worse. But UConn, much like fellow ATS dandy Iowa, is built to keep games close, which has resulted in a 7-0 ATS mark as an underdog.
The offense is balanced (46th rushing, 30th passing) and more explosive than most believe (27.75 points per game).The defense is solid, but not spectacular, holding opponents to 20.63 points. But neither unit is going to overwhelm an opponent.
The Huskies make up for that in special teams, though, and almost always win the field-position battle. They rank in the Top 20 in the nation in net punting and kickoff returns.
Mirror image: Arizona State Sun Devils (4-3 ATS). The Sun Devils own the Pac-10’s top run defense, which will pay dividends down the stretch, including against USC this week and at Oregon next week. Like UConn, Arizona State has excellent special teams and a balanced offense.
Houston Cougars (6-1 ATS): Despite the Cougars’ bloated ATS mark, oddsmakers have had them pegged pretty well this season. Houston’s last two wins have finished within one score of the line.
But they do keep cashing behind the nation’s top-ranked offense. It doesn’t seem to matter that they also own the 114th-ranked defense.
Mirror image: Texas A&M Aggies (4-3-1). Since getting blasted by Kansas State three weeks ago, the Aggies have kicked it into high gear. The defense is very suspect, but improving. They rank 14th in the nation in sacks.
Temple Owls (6-1 ATS): Even though they showed improvement under coach Al Golden last season, the Owls dropped completely off the radar after opening the season with a loss to Villanova. They’ve since rallied behind the MAC’s best defense.
Temple has been outstanding against the run, limiting opponents to 113 yards on the ground per game.
*Stats before Thursday’s night’s game.
Mirror image: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (5-3 ATS). The Warhawks own the Sun Belt’s top run defense and the top rushing offense. That sounds like a good formula for a November run. ULM has lost two straight, ATS and SU, which should keep numbers down during a manageable finishing stretch.
How the early money’s doing
We’re tracking big early line moves this season to pinpoint what most experts say is sharp money. Last week really shows how the lines are indeed tightening.
Season: Sharps 14, Books 17
Last week: Sharps 2, Books 2
Open: New Mexico State at Ohio State (-39.5). Wednesday line: Ohio State (-45). Final score: Ohio State 45, N. Mexico St. 0.
Open: San Jose State at Boise State (-32). Wednesday line: Boise State (-35). Final score: Boise St. 45, San Jose State 7.
Open: Eastern Michigan at Arkansas (-35). Wednesday line: Arkansas (-38). Final score: Arkansas 63, Eastern Michigan 27.
Open: Kansas State at Oklahoma (-24.5). Wednesday line: Oklahoma (-28). Final score: Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 30.
Open: Miami at Buffalo (-13). Wednesday line: Buffalo (-17)
Open: Syracuse at Pittsburgh (-18). Wednesday line: Pittsburgh (-21.5)
Open: Colorado State (-2.5) at UNLV. Wednesday line: UNLV (-1)
Middles of the Week
We’re playing a few middles a week through November, trying to capitalize on the tighter lines while protecting our bankroll. For more on this strategy, click here.
Oregon -5 and Stanford at +7.
Pittsburgh -18 and Syracuse +21.5
Florida -32.5 and Vanderbilt +35
Last week: 0-4
Season: 13-21-3 (I was alerted that my account balance was low by my sportsbook. Sure appreciate being reminded of that.)
New Mexico at Utah (-27)
Purdue at Michigan (-6.5)
Pick: Purdue (will buy ½ point if line does reach 7).
Virginia at Miami (-13)
Best of luck everyone. Follow me on Twitter.