Inside the stats: Don't bet against a vengeful Nick Saban

Sep 12, 2013 |
Covers Expert Marc Lawrence digs deep into his stats machine to bring you the best betting numbers, trends and records for this week's football action in NCAAF and the NFL.

You killed my team, prepare to die

Alabama’s only loss of the 2012 season occurred at home in a 29-24 setback to Texas A&M.

The question is will the Tide extract their revenge or will the weight of being the defending national champion hold them down?

If you like Nick Saban, you’ll like knowing he shines in games when seeking revenge, going 32-17 SU and ATS in his college career – including 11-0 SU and 8-3 ATS when favored by more than seven points.

Saban is also an eye-opening 20-4 SU and 17-6 ATS in games involving a pair of undefeated teams, including 15-1 SU and 11-5 ATS with Alabama.

Granted, the Aggies are a jaw-dropping 35-4 straight up at home in games in which they are undefeated since 1984, but Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin is 0-6 ATS in his career against .666 or greater foes with revenge.

Remember, it was Gandhi who said, “An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” 

Somehow, we think Nick Saban could care less.

Taking an early blow

In the majority of cases, rest is considered advantageous for most college football teams, especially late in the season.

An extra blow not only helps heal tired bodies but also gives coaches a chance to better study an opponent’s game film in greater detail. However, rested teams during the opening month of the season tend to develop dichotic personalities.

A week of rest right out of the box in a new season can either help or hinder a team – depending on their previous effort and venue.

In college football, teams in Game 2 playing off a loss with a week of rest are just 58-73 ATS since 1980, including 29-44 ATS when on the road. This week we find Boise State, Navy (away), Southern Miss and UAB (away) in this not-so-desirable role.

On the other side of the coin, college football teams in Game 2 playing off a win with a week of rest are 121-86-4 ATS since 1980, with Oregon State in this role next week.

When playing foes with wobbly defenses (allow 27 or more PPG on the season), these rested winners improve to 40-14 ATS, including 19-4 SU and ATS when playing away. Beware of the Beavers next week.

Phony baloneys

As we commonly allude to in this column, phony football teams manage to wins games on the scoreboard while losing in the stats.

While there wasn’t the usual amount of “inside-out” wins on the football front last weed, here are teams this week that were last week’s stat winners and losers…

Won the game, lost the stats: Akron, Fresno State, Tennessee and Purdue.

On the flip side, these are teams that lost the game but won the stats: Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.

On the NFL front, last week’s stat winners and losers included:
Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins and the St. Louis Rams – all won the game but lost the stats.

Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants and the Oakland Raiders – all lost the game but won the stats.

Note: The New York Giants were triple-digit yardage winners, while Akron and Dallas were triple-digit yardage losers.

NFL total discovery

With no-huddle, quicker-pace play, and lots more offensive snaps per game being the new wave in the NFL these days, totals are expected to reach new heights.

Not so during Week 1, however, as over/unders evened out at 8-8 last week.

Interestingly, six of the seven games that did go Over involved the seven teams that had the most offensive plays in their contests, namely: Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco and Philadelphia – in that order.

Keep an eye on this evolving trend.

Stat of the Week

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is 15-0 ATS in games off a loss of six or more points.

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