When you think about the best college basketball teams you probably think about the Dukes, Gonzagas, and Michigans of the world. While these are the most talented teams of the 2018–19 season, they are not the most profitable. There is a monumental difference between the teams that meet high expectations and the teams that exceed much lower expectations.
Take a look at Michigan’s ATS and SU numbers this season. Much like the Warriors or last season’s Houston Astros, expectations are so high for U of M right now that oddsmakers continually set extremely stiff lines. This means that the Wolverines need to win at an exceptional rate (or by an exceptional margin) just to profit. It’s hard enough for bettors of Michigan to eek out a small profit. Burning the house for a huge payday is out of the question when you are betting massive favorites. It’s just not statistically possible.
|Michigan||5-8 (38.5%)||13-0 (100%)||-16.5|
And then there is Ole Miss. An unranked team whose 10-2 non-conference record looks impressive until you realize that they have not played a ranked opponent. Despite their shortcomings, this Rebels team has won a far greater percentage of their games than Michigan. How can this be when Michigan is undefeated?
If you pit these two head-to-head, Michigan would win 9 or 10 times out of 10. But we do not care about that. As sharp college hoops bettors, we care about one thing – profits. This is all you need to know right here: In 2018, Ole Miss had the best ATS record in the nation.
Of the Rebels’ 12 games, 10 of them were SU wins while a whopping 11 were ATS wins. That’s a 91.7% win percentage, 53.2 percentage points higher than the SU undefeated U of M.
|Ole Miss||11-1 (91.7%)||10-2 (83.3%)||-9.5|
I need to clear up 2 things. First, not all good teams are bad bets ATS. In fact Duke, Gonzaga, and Virginia are all profitable this year. I am just saying that it is much more difficult to turn big profits when has to cover 16-point spreads all season long. It is much more preferable to bet teams that you feel to be undervalued.
The other thing I needed to address is that Michigan is obviously a great pick SU right now. They are undefeated. Beware of lines that are constantly increasing, however. Laying massive odds to bet a huge favorite SU is risky business.
Who’s Getting It Done for Ole Miss?
So we have established the Rebels have the best ATS record in the nation. Two questions: who are their best players and can we expect their success to continue?
The Rebels are led offensively by the 3 guards averaging double-digit points per game on their roster: sophomore Devontae Shuler (10.3 ppg), senior Terence Davis (15.5 ppg), and junior Breein Tyree (17.3 ppg).
The Rebels do not have a big glass eater. Their leading rebounder is 6’7 freshman KJ Buffen with 5.3 boards per game. Terence Davis is right behind him with 5.2. Credit Rebels’ coach Kermit Davis for adjusting the game plan to account for his team’s lack of rebounding. The Rebels are not hurt by low rebounding numbers because they shoot very few 3s. Their 246 attempts ranks 290th in the nation. Their 95 makes put them in the top-50 of 3-point percentage, however, illustrating their efficiency.
It’s not just 3s. Ole Miss is currently shooting over 50% from the field, one of only 16 teams to do so. Their insistence on taking makeable shots and then making those shots has been the key to their good play through the first 12 games.
Ole Miss has not shot themselves in the foot with turnovers, ranking right around 100th in the nation which puts them in the top third of all teams. The Rebels are not shabby on defense, either. A 41.2% opponent field goal percentage ranks 84th in the nation and is 9% lower than Ole Miss shoots.
Can Ole Miss keep up their good play? Maybe … but if they do, watch out for lines that become stiffer and stiffer. This situation reminds me of last year‘s Seattle Mariners. Seattle started off hot and flew under the radar for a while, but the books adjusted and the Mariners ended on a sour note with a losing second half.
Remember, the great thing about betting spreads is that the underdog does not actually need to win the game. Sometimes a team can be playing really well through a tough stretch of their schedule with nothing to show for it in the win-loss column. This can cause the team to appear bad on SportsCenter, but in reality, they are very profitable because they keep covering the spread.
Do your homework, decide when Ole Miss is no longer profitable enough for you, and find a new under-the-radar college hoops darling.