Tulane's Fritz Tops AAC Coaches Against the Spread

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 3:12 PM UTC

Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 3:12 PM UTC

SBR ranked the American Athletic Conference's head coaches against the spread. Here's the top three, led by veteren leader Willie Fritz at Tulane.

The American Athletic Conference is a springboard for college football coaches looking to land a more lucrative Power 5 position. The turnover rate from year to year is high. Entering 2018, only Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo (2007) has been in charge of a AAC program prior to 2015.

The league, often recognized as the best of the Group of 5 conferences, is beginning to attract more experienced leaders with the likes of Charlie Strong (South Florida), Sonny Dykes (SMU) and Willie Fritz (Tulane) entering the ranks. SBR examined each AAC coach’s record against the spread throughout their career, ranking them based on their college football betting record. The top three are as follows:

Willie Fritz, Tulane
  • ATS Record: 30-18-1 (62.5 percent)
  • ATS Margin: 3.2
  • Avg. Line: -2.8

Fritz is a program builder and one of the best coaching secrets in the country. His career started at Blinn College in 1993, where he claimed two NJCAA National Championships. Fritz moved to Central Missouri in 1997 for a 12-year stint, before winning a pair of Southland titles in 2011 and 2012 at Sam Houston State. In 2014, Fritz made his FBS debut at Georgia Southern, leading the Eagles to a Sun Belt championship with a lethal spread-option attack. This is his third year in charge of Tulane, missing bowl eligibility by inches last season in a heartbreaking 41-38 loss at SMU to close the season.

Fritz owns a 30-18-1 ATS record in the FBS. Including his time at Georgia Southern, he averages 31.9 points per game on offense. A heavy dose of runs leads the way, averaging 303.7 yards per game on 51.5 carries. This translates to success in the betting market against defenses often targeted for a ground assault. Versus those seeing fewer than 33 passing plays per game entering a matchup, Fritz is 27-13-1 ATS, covering a -2.2 average line by 5.1 points.

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Coach Willie Fritz: with a veteran quarterback, he sees Jonathan Banks’ confidence with the system and can build around his personnel.

Opens up potential for more triple option elements. pic.twitter.com/r5gZoSNSNm

— Fear the Wave (@FearTheWaveBlog) July 24, 2018
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Randy Edsall, Connecticut
  • ATS Record: 102-84-4 (54.8 percent)
  • ATS Margin: 0.8
  • Avg. Line: 2.9

Edsall is in his second stint coaching UConn after a disastrous four years at Maryland (2012-15) in which the Terrapins went 22-34 SU and 24-31-1 ATS. From 1999-2010, he won two Big East titles with the Huskies, including a Fiesta Bowl appearance in 2010. UConn, which entered the FBS in 2002 under Edsall’s watch, is in full rebuilding mode entering 2018. It will take time for the Huskies to threaten the AAC title.

Edsall is 102-84-4 ATS since 1999 coaching at the collegiate level. Prepping his squads to manage foreign atmospheres with their backs to the wall is his bread and butter. As true road underdogs in out-of-conference matchups, Edsall is 39-24 ATS (61.9 percent) all-time.

Phillip Montgomery, Tulsa
  • ATS Record: 19-16-3 ATS (54.3 percent)
  • ATS Margin: 2.9
  • Avg. Line: 2.1

Tulsa’s Montgomery slumped to an ugly 2-10 SU record last season after a pair of bowl appearances (Independence, Miami Beach) in his first two years in charge. The long-time offensive coordinator at Baylor and Houston transformed the Golden Hurricane into a potent, quick-strike attack. They post 36.5 points per game since 2015.

Betting value is through the roof backing Montgomery’s men against efficient passing defenses. The unit is too tough to tame. Up against opponents allowing fewer than 7.0 passing yards per attempt, Tulsa is 14-4-1 ATS, topping a 3.9 average line by a whopping 10.0 points per game. The Golden Hurricane put up 39.6 points per contest.

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