University of Washington head coach, Chris Petersen, has been with the Huskies for three seasons and 41 betting-lined games. What is more, he left a betting-data trail from his eight years as the head coach at Boise State. This article unearths some meaningful and potentially profitable betting patterns of teams coached by Petersen.
In 2016 by Amazon’s metrics, I wrote a No. 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. I utilized 10 years of synthesized college football betting data, and 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 Washington Huskies’ head coach, Chris Petersen.
Petersen has been the head coach at U-Dub since 2014. Studying data from only three seasons and their 41 betting-lined games might make the traditional statistician run for cover when tasked with finding anything of statistical significance, but it should be noted that less than half of all current FBS coaches (41.86%) have been head coaches with their FBS teams for longer. So in the ever-changing world of college football coaching, we simply must work with small sample sizes. In the case of Petersen, however, he also left a data trail from his eight years at Boise State.
Petersen’s overall against the spread (ATS) record at Washington is 22-19 (53.66%) -- a modestly profitable figure because anything greater than 52.38% is profitable in the standard college football betting realm of bet-11-to-win-10. His ATS winning percentage was better at Boise State (55%), but expectations were not quite so high (especially at the beginning of his tenure) with the Broncos. Speaking of expectations, when Petersen’s teams were ranked in the Preseason AP Top 25, his ATS winning percentage was exactly 52.38; when his teams were not ranked in the Preseason AP Top 25, his ATS winning rate was a whopping 61.1%.
In The Betting Black Book, I divided point-spread values into distinct groups. One such group was the middle range, defined as spreads between 7-13.5 points. Those games have clear favorites, but they are not prohibitive favorites. (Such games still should be competitive, keeping in mind that the average college football point spread involving FBS teams over the past 10 seasons was 13.14.) Interestingly enough, whether the favorite or the underdog in those middle-range games, Petersen’s teams were 67.74% ATS through 31 games (combined from Boise State and Washington).
Another apparent pattern is Petersen’s away-game performance ATS. (Away games being defined as games played away from the team’s home stadium, but NOT bowl games.) Petersen’s Huskies have beaten the spread 64.71% of the time in those away games, and his Broncos were 61.7%. The combination yields an away-game winning rate of 62.5%. Not only is that a very profitable overall figure, but Petersen-coached teams have been profitable ATS in away games eight of the last nine seasons and all three at Washington. UW has opened as a 31.5-point favorite to kick off the 2017 season at Rutgers on Sept. 1.
While the type of trend betting highlighted in this article might leave some sports bettors skeptical, my research of 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 bettor profit.
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