The public tends to overvalue homecourt advantage in college basketball, and these are the teams surprising the market most on the road midway through the 2016-17 season.
Every college basketball bettor can tell you homecourt advantage is meaningful to wagering. On average, handicappers value it roughly 4 points to the spread. Research has shown this number can reach as high as 10-11 points, or be completely negligible depending on the program, venue, crowd, altitude, play style, and the like.
One factor that is consistent year after year, is that the public and casual bettor tends to overestimate home advantage. As a result, roughly a dozen teams in any given season will cover more than 10 games against the spread on the road, equating to nearly a 70 percent win total. Midway through the 2016-17 season, let's take a look at the top five hottest road teams beating the NCAA Basketball odds.
1. San Diego (8-0 ATS)
The Toreros, who have tipped off underdogs in every road test this season, are a perfect 8-0 against the number, winning in style. They are beating the market by a whopping 10.7 points per game. This is due in large part to winning four outright thanks to an underestimated offense. Senior forward Brett Bailey (17.4 PPG) and sophomore guard Olin Carter III (16.5 PPG) rank fifth and eighth in West Coast Conference scoring respectively.
2. Samford (8-1 ATS)
Covering the spread by 7.6 points per game, the Bulldogs only slip-up occurred in a 70-65 victory at Western Carolina where they were asked to win by 8 points, the most in a Southern conference road test in at least the last decade for Samford. Since former NBA'er Scott Padgett took over head coaching duties, the school is 23-13-1 ATS away from home. They shine when spotted 7 points or more, going 13-3-1 ATS overall.
3. Jacksonville St, (8-5 ATS)
The Gamecocks only have three road games left on the schedule, but they come against Ohio Valley Conference foes. Dating back to last season, they are 9-2 ATS in road conference games.
4. UC Irvine (7-3 ATS)
The Anteaters are 33-23-1 ATS on the road in Big West play under head coach Russell Turner. Where they are most profitable is as chalk, going 13-6-1 ATS, beating the number by 4.4 points per game.
5. Troy (7-3 ATS)
The Trojans dropped their first three road games against the spread to begin the season, but have rattled off seven straight covers. They're 4-0 versus the number away from home in conference play, topping their win total of three from last season.
Four other teams have seven road covers to date, including Montana State, Middle Tennessee, Fresno State and Canisius.