Where Does Nick Saban Rank Among SEC Coaches Against The Spread?

Where Does Nick Saban Rank Among SEC Coaches Against The Spread?
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

College football season gets underway shortly, with the first SEC conference game about a month away, on August 26th. The Alabama Crimson Tide get their season underway on September 2nd, kicking off against Middle Tennessee.

Looking at the preseason odds it appears that the race for the SEC Championship may be over, with Alabama coach Nick Saban’s former understudy Kirby Smart leading the Georgia Bulldogs in their quest for a third straight National Championship. With such a strong squad, Georgia is already -115 at DraftKings Sportsbook to win the conference, leaving the rest of the contenders like Alabama and LSU in the dust.

With such a strong gap in the preseason odds and several games featuring heavy favorites likely to be played in the regular season, BetAlabama, your source for Alabama sports betting coverage, decided to take a different angle at prognosticating the upcoming season by looking at which coaches in the SEC have been best at covering the spread, instead of looking solely at win loss records. 

SEC Coaches Against the Spread

BetAlabama.com used TeamRankings.com to determine which coaches have the best ATS records. For the list, only games from the coach's current stint with the team were included and any teams with new coaches this season were not included.

TeamCoachATS RecordCover Percentage
ArkansasSam Pittman22-13-162.9%
TennesseeJosh Heupel15-1157.7%
GeorgiaKirby Smart55-4157.3%
LSUBrian Kelly8-657.1%
Texas A&MJimbo Fisher33-26-155.9%
AlabamaNick Saban119-98-354.8%
FloridaBilly Napier7-653.9%
South CarolinaShane Beamer13-12-152%
KentuckyMark Stoops61-63-149.2%
Ole MissLane Kiffin16-18-247.1%
VanderbiltClark Lea11-1345.8%
MissouriEli Drinkwitz16-2044.4%

For this list, only games from the coach’s current stint were included. Teams with new coaches entering the 2023 season were not included. 

Saban Just Outside of Top 5

Saban has a strong 54.8% win rate against the spread, an impressive feat given how often the Crimson Tide have been favored in games. He has the largest sample size of the group by far, despite coaching in the same conference as long-tenured coaches Smart, Jimbo Fisher and Mark Stoops.

Arkansas’ Sam Pittman comes in with the best ATS record, his 22-13-1 mark with the team putting him over 60%. His Razorbacks are expected to finish in the bottom half of the conference and he will likely come into several games as an underdog, so a losing record for him could still be a profitable year for bettors on his team.

With Saban’s squad coming into the year trailing only Georgia on the oddsboard, Alabama fans and bettors can expect to see lots of games where their team will need to win by quite a bit to cover the spread. With QB Bryce Young departed for the NFL, putting up points won’t come as easily as it did last year meaning the defense will need a solid performance for the team to cover spreads. QB Tyler Buchner has come in via the transfer portal and should still be able to put up points, but Young was a Heisman winner a couple of years ago and his ability to pick up yards and points with his legs as well as his arm was a huge boost to the offense.

If there’s one thing bettors don’t need to question with Alabama it is their preparedness with Saban at the helm. As one of the top college coaches of all time, there’s no doubt that he can pick up wins and more often than not, he also covers the spread.

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Cecil Peters

Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for BetAlabama.com. A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports teams, with a focus on golf, the NFL and NHL.

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