'Coach Mo' Is a No Among AAC Coaches vs. Point Spread

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 1:39 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018 1:39 PM UTC

SBR examines the worst against-the-spread college football coaching records in the American Athletic Conference. Some may surprise you.

The American Athletic Conference is full of new faces among its head coaching ranks, some young and some veterans. Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo, arguably the best of the bunch, is the only one at his program since 2015. The rest have less than three years experience at their respective school. Earlier in the week we looked at the best ATS head coaches from the top Group of 5 conference, including their marks from prior programs. Here’s a look at the bottom three:

Scottie Montgomery, East Carolina

ATS Record: 6-17-1 (26.1 percent)
ATS Margin: -4.5
Avg. Line: 10.1

East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery is a woeful 6-18 SU and 6-17-1 ATS since taking over for Ruffin McNeill three years ago. The Pirates lost eight games by 20 points or more last season. Only San Jose State (9) tallied more.

A porous defense handicaps ECU. It allows 40.5 points per game on 497.7 total yards under Montgomery. The Pirates cannot compete against even the average offenses. They are 1-15 SU and 1-14-1 ATS versus foes scoring greater than 22.5 points per game. ECU is failing to cover a 14.8 average line by an average 12.1 points. Yikes.

Sonny Dykes, SMU

ATS Record: 41-45-1 (47.7 percent)
ATS Margin: -0.8
Avg. Line: 0.4

Sonny Dykes, in his SMU debut, was routed 51-10 by his former employer Louisiana Tech (2010-12) in the 2017 SXL Frisco Bowl. The Air Raid coach brings his pass-centric offense to the Mustangs from Cal where Dykes was a disappointing 19-30 SU and 20-29 ATS in four seasons. He inherits an offense from new Arkansas play-caller Chad Morris that is ready to run and gun; Dykes averages 34.6 points per game in seven-plus years as a head coach.

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Liked our effort today! Good first day. Lots of work ahead. https://t.co/FTBwdNz6HF

— Sonny Dykes (@CoachDykesSMU) August 3, 2018
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Dykes is a tad under 50 percent with a 41-45-1 ATS record all-time in the betting market. Where he struggles most is against winning rivals. Dykes is just 13-25 ATS (34.2 percent) facing conference opponents with a positive average margin of victory entering a matchup. His quick-strike offense limps to 27.9 points per game under these conditions. The defense yields 41.9 per contest. Dykes comes up 4.1 points shy of a 9.9 average line. This is how to bet against the new SMU coach.

Mike Norvell, Memphis

ATS Record: 12-13-1 (48.0 percent)
ATS Margin: 3.9
Avg. Line: -7.7

Norvell, a current Power 5 coaching prospect, led Memphis to a pair of bowl games in his first two years in charge of the program. The Tigers are 18-8 SU, but just 12-13-1 ATS in his tenure. It is all or nothing for Norvell satisfying the market. His 3.9 average ATS margin ranks highest among his AAC peers, yet Norvell’s overall record teeters around 50 percent.

Memphis posts 42.2 points per game under Norvell. It absolutely punishes poor scoring defenses, going 6-1 SU and ATS against those allowing more than 32.0 points per contest for the season. All but one matchup (Bowling Green) has come against conference foes. Four times the Tigers have put up 66 points or more; they average 57.4 in this situation. In all other contests, Memphis is 9-7 SU and 6-9-1 ATS. The public tends to inflate Norvell’s men against non-cellar-dweller defenses.

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