The countdown is over, the college football season is upon us. The first game is an opportunity for teams to set the tone for the remainder of the season. Everyone wants to win, but some coaches are better than others at preparing their players to hit the field in midseason form.
Since returning to college football in 2008, Nick Saban is 10-0 straight-up when the season kicks off, including 9-1 against the spread (ATS), making the Alabama head coach the most profitable one in Week 1.
Here is how he stacks up against the other active FBS coaches out of the gate:
Any list that includes Saban, Urban Meyer, Jimbo Fisher and Chris Petersen at the top is legit. These coaches not only win games at an absurd rate but also manage to cover the spread for bettors in Week 1.
Of course, it would be foolish to place much faith in such small samples. Saban has been money in Week 1, but Bama is 7-8 ATS in other regular-season contests with 10 or more days between games to prepare.
In fact, of the 25 most profitable coaches in Week 1, 15 are .500 or worse ATS later in the season with 10 or more days to coach-up their teams. However, some coaches have proven to be good bets when given extra time to prepare regardless of when the game is scheduled:
Give Gary Patterson, Petersen and Meyer more time to game plan and they will not only beat you, but cover the spread.
All of these coaches (except Meyer) are in action this weekend. While it’s not advisable to place a wager based on one trend, bettors should consider a coach’s record when he is given extra time to prepare in Week 1.