The Ohio State University head coach, Urban Meyer, has been with the Buckeyes for five seasons and 67 betting-lined games. He coached the Florida Gators for six seasons and 76 betting-lined games. This article highlights some meaningful betting patterns of teams coached by Meyer.
In 2016, (by Amazon’s metrics) I wrote a #1 best-selling book in sports gambling (and two other categories). It was entitled, The Betting Black Book, Winning Sports Betting Data on All FBS Coaches. In it, I utilized 10 years of synthesized college football betting data. The aim of the book was to reveal profitable tendencies that could be gleaned from a head coach’s history with his current team. With the understanding that no sports-betting model or system is 100% correct (or even close to that), the data-driven sports betting analyst is compelled to dwell in the world of tendency, not certainty. It is with that understanding that I have continued my research into coaches’ tendencies. For this article, I have fixed my focus on Ohio State’s head coach, Urban Meyer.
Urban Meyer has been the head coach at Ohio State since 2012, but he was also Florida’s head coach for six seasons. Although I like to focus on a coach’s betting history with his current school, a high-profile coach like Urban Meyer coaching at two high-profile football schools (in Florida and Ohio State) is worth the data-dive into both coaching tenures to determine if there are any meaningful tendencies. As I discovered, and I will reveal in this article, such meaningful tendencies do persist with Coach Meyer.
Meyer’s overall against-the-spread (ATS) record at Ohio State is 35-31-1 (53.03%). It is important to remember that anything greater than 52.38% is profitable in the standard college football betting realm of bet-11-to-win-10, so Meyer has been narrowly profitable at OSU. He was more profitable at Florida (beating the spread at the rate of 57.89%), but it might be worth recalling that Meyer built his reputation as one of the best college football coaches while at Florida; Meyer came to Ohio State having already established himself with the betting public as one of the best college football coaches in the game, which meant that expectations were as high as possible from the start, and expectations drive betting lines.
Although it is rare to find Urban Meyer’s teams as underdogs, it does happen. Through 11 years of combined Florida and Ohio State head-coaching, Meyer’s teams have been underdogs just 12 times. His record as an underdog is an amazing 10-2 (83.33%) ATS – 5-0 at OSU and 5-2 at Florida.
Similar to finding an Urban Meyer team as an underdog, his teams are seldom the betting side getting the minority of the public betting (although it has happened more often than the underdog category). To be precise, his teams have been the minority betting side in just 24.48% of all games. Overall, Meyer’s record when the majority of the public is betting against him is 65.71% ATS – 8-4 (66.67%) at OSU and 15-8 (65.22%) at Florida. An example of such a game from the 2016 season is when Ohio State faced Nebraska: The game closed with Ohio State as 17.5-point home favorites. OSU got just 30% of the public betting, yet the Buckeyes beat the Huskers 62-3, covering the spread by a whopping 42.5 points. Most importantly, Meyer’s winning percentage in this category while at Ohio State and Florida are nearly identical.
In The Betting Black Book, one of the categories I found worth noting was called Total Preparation. The Total Preparation category included any game for which a coach had at least 10 days to prepare (without having to play another game in the interim). That category included the first game of the season, bye weeks, and bowl games. Urban Meyer has won an extremely-profitable 71.79% of those games ATS – 11-6 at OSU and 17-5 at Florida.
While the type of trend-betting highlighted in this article might leave some sports bettors skeptical, my researching more than 11,000 college football betting matchups has suggested that there are meaningful trends in college football betting that can be revealed by specific circumstances. Understanding the tendencies of teams under the profound influence of their head coach can help the college football bettor profit.