Monday, December 10, 2007

How the BCS Top 25 Did Against the Spread

Here is a look at how the top 25 teams in the Bowl Championship Series standings finished against the spread, according to Covers. Some of the teams — Hawaii, for example — do not have 12 games against the number. This is because the of the ever-popular I-A strategy of scheduling I-AA teams to pad the victory column. You can get drugs, guns or booze in Las Vegas, but you can't get a line on a game between I-A and I-AA teams in sportsbooks.

What does all this mean and why is this worthy of a post? Pointspreads are actually a barometer of how the betting public perceives a team. As money rolls in for/against a team, the pointspread is adjusted. The aim of a sportsbook is to have a 50-50 split of wagers for/against a team because it eliminates risk and guarantees a profit from the 10% commission charged by a sportsbook for its services.

That said, a couple of conclusions can be made from this list. First, Kansas finished a national-best 10-1 against the spread. The Jayhawks clearly received little or no respect from bettors throughout the season and as a result, were able to cover the pointspread 90.9% of the time.

On the other end we have Louisiana State, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Virginia — teams that failed to cover the pointspread 50% of the time. In other words, bettors were too often on the wrong side with these teams, resulting in inflated pointspreads that the teams generally failed to cover. The breakdown:

1. Ohio State 7-4
2. Louisiana State 5-7-1
3. Virginia Tech 7-5
4. Oklahoma 7-6
5. Georgia 7-4
6. Missouri 9-3
7. USC 6-6
8. Kansas 10-1
9. West Virginia 6-6
10. Hawaii 4-6
11. Arizona State 6-6
12. Florida 8-3
13. Illinois 7-4
14. Boston College 6-6
15. Clemson 6-5
16. Tennessee 8-4-1
17. Brigham Young 6-5
18. Wisconsin 4-7
19. Texas 6-6
20. Virginia 5-7
21. South Florida 7-4
22. Cincinnati 8-2-1
23. Auburn 6-5
24. Boise State 6-5
25. Connecticut 7-3

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