Q: A friend of mine said that I should look to fade all top-10 teams on Saturdays. He said they’ve struggled to cover the spread this year. He even mentioned that they were covering at a rate less than 45 percent. Any info on this?
— Ryan, from somewhere.
A: I took the time to look this up, but please, ask your friend what the significance is of Saturdays. How is a Saturday different than a Sunday or a Wednesday or a Friday?
When I first read your e-mail, I thought there was a strong chance that his information was correct, primarily because Kentucky suffered a 13-game ATS drought and at least half of their failed cover attempts came on Saturdays. The Wildcats, of course, have been in the top 10 all year.
Overall, top-10 teams are 22-37-3 ATS on Saturdays, which means they have covered the spread just 37 percent of the time. Three games involved top-10 teams that played each other. If you were to eliminate those games, the actual ATS record would be 19-34-3 (36 percent).
While the overall numbers are meaningless and you’ll never get me excited over this particular stat, there was one interesting thing that stood out: Fifteen of the 34 failed ATS covers by top-10 teams also resulted in straight up losses. Ten of them occurred in January, meaning they’ve come primarily in conference play.
Here’s a breakdown of the month-by-month ATS records for top-10 teams:
November: 5-2 ATS (1 outright loss)
December: 6-9-2 ATS (4 outright losses)
January: 8-23-1 ATS (10 outright losses)
Overall, I wouldn’t put a heavy emphasis on blindly following this trend. It is, however, something that’s worth monitoring, if only because it’s possible that oddsmakers are overvaluing ranked teams, teams that could be more likely to appear on national television or in primetime slotting on Saturdays.