As the calendar turns to 2017 and conference play begins in the college basketball season, we’ve had enough play to identify which teams that have been undervalued ATS so far this year. Let’s look at the top five ATS winners so far this season as you scan the current NCAAB odds.
2015-16 NCAAB Record: 16-9, +6.10 Units
Fresno State, MWC: 9-5 SU, 8-1 ATS
Fresno State out of the Mountain West Conference is tops in the nation right now against the spread, as they have compiled an 8-1 record. They shoot a hot 48.1% from the floor and have length and size in the backcourt to create matchup issues. Their top scorer is 6' 7” swingman, Paul Watson, who usually has a size advantage playing as the de facto third guard on the floor. Fresno State has covered every time they've been listed as an underdog this season, and are currently on an eight game ATS winning streak.
Baylor, Big 12: 13-0 SU, 7-1 ATS
Just like Fresno State, the only game that Baylor has lost ATS this year is their first one as a heavy favorite, and now they have reeled off 7 straight. Baylor shoots a blistering 50.3% from the floor and has three players that shoot better than 40% from beyond the arc. Baylor has a lot of size in their front court with 7' 0” Jo Lual-Acuil Jr. and leading scorer, 6' 10” Johnathan Motley. Baylor has 10 players that see the court on a regular basis, so they are able to keep up the intensity on the defensive side of the ball.
Samford, Southern: 10-4 SU, 6-1 ATS
Samford would be perfect ATS this year if they would have made a free throw at the end of their game against Jacksonville State last month. As it is, their 6-1 ATS record comes on the heels of some impressive performances against heavy favorite. Samford shoots a nice 40.2% from beyond the arc, which is good because they are undersized in the back court. They are led by 6' 9” sophomore center, Wyatt Walker, who averages a double-double per game. Samford was picked to finish 7th in the Southern Conference before the season started, and their ATS record reflects that they are performing better than public expectations so far.
Fairfield, MAAC: 6-5 SU, 6-1 ATS
The Stags may not have much of a SU record, but they do have a knack of covering as road underdogs so far this season. They are the worst shooting team on this list, only converting 44.3% from the floor and 34.4% from beyond the arc. Fairfield has a player in 6' 3” guard, Tyler Nelson, that can take over games though. He scored 38 in a game against Rider and averages 20.3 points per game. They have a team with some size up and down the roster, so I'm not surprised they were able to stay competitive throughout their non-conference schedule.
Gonzaga, WCC: 14-0 SU, 9-2 ATS
We round out the top five with the best offensive team on the list, the Gonzaga Bulldogs. They shoot 49.2% from the floor, but also rank 16th in the nation in rebounds. As the team nearest to me I watch a lot of their games, and I can tell you that this squad is very deep. Coach Mark Few has a tendency to play the end of his bench in blowouts, which increases the risk of back door covers. That hasn't been the case for this team, as the 8th-10th players on the roster are talented and playing their butts off looking to get more minutes. Gonzaga has already covered chalk of 14.5 points or more 5 times this season.