Against the Spread Trends & Analysis: Conference Betting Guide

- Matt Cox

Supporting Data Analysis

If you believe coaching and stylistic matchups are strong predictors for who wins and loses on a night-to-night basis in college basketball - both straight-up and against the spread - then you see the world the same way we do here at 3MW (and that's a good thing!)...

Using against the spread individual game results for all conference games dating back to 2008 (data provided by, we whipped up a dynamic Excel tool (see screenshots below) which populates historical ATS results between any two teams in a given conference.

The blue cells in the top left are the two key inputs which refreshes the output below each time the team and timeframe are changed. The output shows the selected team's against the spread record over the timeframe chosen, along with the ROI and net average margin of cover (aggregate performance relative to the spread). 

With conference play now in full swing, we went team by team for multiple timeframes in each of the Power 6 conferences searching for lopsided ATS matchup records - essentially, we wanted to find out who dominates who relative to the standards set by the oddsmakers in Vegas.

Ok, enough about the process - let's get to the goodies...

Historical ATS Matchup Findings by Conference


  • Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish have yet to come out 'swinging' against the Yellow Jackets in their last seven bouts. While five of these ATS victories were under Brian Gregory's watch, Pastner kept the streak rolling in his first season at the helm last year with a two point home victory and competitive 4-point loss in South Bend.
  • Until a tough loss last week in the Carrier Dome, Buzz Williams and Virginia Tech appeared to have the blueprint for derailing the zone. Despite that recent faulty road performance, the Hokies are still 4-1 ATS against Syracuse since Buzz took over in 2015.
  • Brad Brownell has his Clemson Tigers cookin' this year, but he has to face his kryptonite - the UNC Tar Heels -  twice more this season in conference action. Something tells me Brownell will flip the script this year with his stout veteran backcourt and emerging low post stud in Eli Thomas against a new look UNC team struggling to find its identity.
  • On paper, it would appear that Notre Dame - always equipped with an array of long range snipers - would be a good matchup for Tony Bennett's patented packline defense but since joining the ACC in 2014, the Irish have been confounded by Virginia's stymying defensive front. This was glarignly apparent last year when Notre Dame struggled to put up 50 points in an eye-opening 17 point loss at home.

Big Ten

  • After attending Indiana for 5 years, I couldn't be less shocked to find that Wisconsin has made a boatload of cash for their betting backers everytime they laced 'em up against the Hoosiers. The Badge bumped this record to 16-5 last week with a 10-point win at the Kohl Center, thanks to Ethan Happ's low post wizardry.  However, Tom Izzo and [surprisingly] Pat Chambers have given Wisconsin some hiccups since 2013 and 2012, respectively.
  • Always a fun in-state showdown between Illinois and Northwestern, the Illini have had the upper hand over the past few seasons, including a 2-0 clean sweep of the Wildcats last year. Bryant McIntosh and the NW backcourt will face a whole different animal against Brad Underwood's swarming perimeter pressure this season.
  • Since joining the B10, Mark Turgeon and the Terps have found success against Purdue and Ohio State with a combined 9 straight wins against the number over the last three seasons.

Big 12

  • In the brutal Big 12, few teams / coaches displayed noticeable one-sided ATS success over any other team / coach.  The few exceptions are noted above,  headlined by the Sooners dominance of Bedlam and are now 13-3 against the Cowboys ATS after dismantling Okie Light by 20 in Norman last week.
  • Since taking his coaching talents to Texas, Shaka Smart has been able to solve West Virginia's pressing puzzle that so often torments Big 12 backcourts. Despite losing three times outright to Huggins and co. last year, the Longhorns managed to sneak inside the number twice and squeaked out a push in the Big 12 conference tournament.

Big East

  • As one of the top contenders to dethrone Villanova's 4-year Big East regular season title streak, Chris Mack has beaten Jay Wright just 1 time in 9 attempts, which coincides with the 8-1 ATS record shown above. The Musketeers have also had trouble with Kevin Willard and the Pirates, who are now sitting pretty with a cool 3-0 Big East record after a tough road win at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
  • Creighton also shares Xavier's frustration with the Big East King - the Jays have dropped 7 straight to the Wildcats after failing to come within single digits in any of their three games versus Nova last season.


  • Utah is 'Jekyll and Hyde' when it comes to their performance against the rest of the Pac-12 landscape. While the Utes are 20-3 combined against Arizona State and Colorado (sorry Tad Boyle) since 2012, they have been owned by the state of Oregon over the last 3 years to the tune of a 11-1 record against the number - that is, until last week when they took down the Ducks and Beavers in a successful 2-game road trip to the great Northwest.
  • Despite Arizona State's sizzling hot start, the big brother in-state foe Wildcats took down the Sun Devils in the conference opener, continuing Sean Miller's dominance over ASU since coming to Tucson. 
  • A rather head-scratching trend shown above is Tad Boyle's ownership of the Stanford Cardinal, much of which was during the forgettable Johnny Dawkins era. And with the Buffs now trending upwards after dispatching Arizona and Arizona State in back to back bouts in Boulder, Boyle probably wishes he got to see a collapsing Cardinal team more than just once this season - an unfortunate outcome of the imbalanced scheduling.


  • While Kevin Stallings suffers through a brutal 2nd season at Pitt, perhaps he can reminisce about the good times he had at Vandy, where he was a thorn in the side of two traditional SEC hoop powerhouses in Big Blue Nation and Florida. His successor Bryce Drew kept that ball rolling against the Gators last year going 3-0 outright against Mike White and was competitive in both tilts against a Kentucky team dripping with NBA talent.
  • In a matchup between two of the longer tenured SEC head honchos - Mark Fox at Georgia and Andy Kennedy at Ole Miss - the Bulldogs have had the Rebels' number, posting a 9-2 ATS record dating back to 2010. 
  • If you're looking for an SEC matchup that could trip up John Calipari and his Kentucky Wildcats, steer clear of Arkansas and South Carolina. Mike Anderson and Frank Martin have had fits dealing with UK's always elite talent, length and athleticism in each of the last three seasons.

Caveats and Ending Notes:

  • The data does NOT include any results from the 2018 season - our intent is to eventually begin continuously updating the supporting data file so this tool can be as up-to-date as possible with current year conference results incorporated in the output

  • We have the data setup to run historical iterations for all of the other mid-major conferences that are consistently lined (sorry SWAC and MEAC fans), so we may post those time permitting - just tweet or DM us @_3MW_ if you have a specific conference or team you'd like to hone in on, and we will provide the results as quickly as possible

    • Don't hesitate to comment below with any questions!