BTB Note: This post has been updated to reflect week-by-week results. The original post looked at ATS numbers retrospectively using the final AP top 10 poll.
If you stare at them long enough, the numbers are jarring. Every team in the AP Top 10 has a winning ATS record, and six of them have only one against-the-spread loss through the first six weeks of the season.
The top 10 teams have a combined ATS record of 41-12-1. That’s 77.4 percent.
1. LSU 4-2
2. Alabama 5-1
3. Oklahoma 4-1
4. Wisconsin 4-0-1
5. Boise State 3-2
6. Oklahoma State 4-1
7. Stanford 5-0
8. Clemson 5-1
9. Oregon 3-2
10. Arkansas 4-2
It’s a nightmare scenario for bookmakers, who, I’m sure, haven’t seen anything like this before.
In 2010. And 2009. And 2008. And 2007. And 2006.
Over the last five years, the top 10 teams in the country have not only covered at a profitable rate, but at a rate that would allow you to retire by 2015, if not sooner. In 2010, teams in the Final AP Top 10 went 71-46-2 ATS (60.6). In 2009, they went 70-51-1 (57.9%). In 2008: 77-38-2 (67%). In 2007: 70-48-1 (59.3%). In 2006: 64-49-1 (56.7%).
Since 2006, if you did nothing but bet on teams in the final AP Top 10 teams, you would have gone 393-244 ATS, a win rate of 61.7 percent.
Now, there is a flaw to this methodology, of course. The AP Top 10 is not static from beginning to end, meaning there are plenty of teams that rise and fall out of the top 10 from one week to the next and over the course of the season.
And therein lies the problem.
If you go week by week, the results are much different:
Notice that 2008 and 2010 were extremely profitable, and 2011 is so far, too. But 2006 and 2007 weren’t very strong, and 2009 was nothing short of miserable.
Nonetheless, it’s still pretty interesting, and given the results so far this year, it will be worth tracking as the season progresses. After nine of the teams in the AP Top 10 won and covered the spread last week, expect to see plenty of inflated numbers in the weeks ahead.