Best, Worst College Football Coaches to Bet This Bowl Season

Best, Worst College Football Coaches to Bet This Bowl Season article feature image

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brian Kelly

  • Urban Meyer has been the best coach to bet on in bowl season since 2005, covering in 75% of his postseason games.
  • Washington State's Mike Leach hasn't fared so well, earning just one bowl win against the spread over the past 13 seasons.

Bowl season is upon us. Sadly, that means the end of the road is near for the 2018 college football season, but there’s still plenty to play for over the course of the next month.

Of course for four teams, there’ll be a lot more than just pride on the line, but for most, bowl games are an opportunity to bring home a trophy and become an eternal part of school history.

As for the job of getting that message across, that would fall on the head coach. And historically, some coaches have been far better than others this time of year.

As bettors, however, it’s not so much who wins that matters to us. It’s who covers.

A number of coaches will be experiencing their career first bowl game this postseason, but for those that have been here before, I’ve dug up some bowl season numbers with the help of Bet Labs.

Below is every current head coach’s against-the-spread (ATS) record, return on investment, and units won in bowl games since 2005.

Urban Meyer leads the way with nine ATS wins since 2005. Most recently, his Buckeyes knocked off USC, 24-7, in the Cotton Bowl a year ago. In what will be his final game as Ohio State head coach, he’ll take on Chris Petersen and Washington in the Rose Bowl Game.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is Mike Leach, who has covered in just one of his eight bowl appearances over the same span. After a second loss gave them no shot at a Pac-12 title this year, Leach’s Cougars have drawn Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl.

And while both Dabo Swinney and Brian Kelly have led their teams to the Cotton Bowl Semifinal with undefeated seasons and winning ATS records in 2018, their historical performances in bowl season have been anything but alike.

Unsurprisingly, that game leads the list of biggest bowl mismatches by head coach units won.

>> All odds as of Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time college football odds and track your bets.

Biggest Mismatches

Cotton Bowl (College Football Playoff Semifinal)

  • Clemson: Dabo Swinney (8-4-0, +3.62 units)
  • Notre Dame: Brian Kelly (3-7-0, -4.09 units)
  • Spread: CLEM -11.5

Alamo Bowl

  • Iowa State: Matt Campbell (2-2-0 -0.08u)
  • Washington State: Mike Leach (1-7-0 -6.12u)
  • Spread: WSU -6.5

Rose Bowl Game

  • Ohio State: Urban Meyer (9-3-0, +5.70u)
  • Washington: Chris Petersen (6-6-0, -0.51u)
  • Spread: OSU -4.5

Camping World Bowl

  • Syracuse: Dino Babers (1-0-0, +1.00u)
  • West Virginia: Dana Holgersson (1-5-0, -4.07u)
  • Spread: WVU -6.5

Sun Bowl

  • Stanford: David Shaw (5-2-0, +2.80u)
  • Pittsburgh: Pat Narduzzi (0-2-0, -2.00u)
  • Spread: STAN -6.5

Boca Raton Bowl

  • UAB: Bill Clark (0-1-0, -1.00u)
  • NIU: Rod Carey (0-5-0, -5.00u)
  • Spread: UAB -2.5

First Responder Bowl

  • Boise State: Bryan Harsin (4-1-0, +2.91u)
  • Boston College Steve Addazio (2-3-0, -1.09u)
  • Spread: BSU -3.5

New Orleans Bowl

  • Appalachian State Scott Satterfield (2-1-0, +0.85u)
  • Middle Tennessee: Rick Stockstill (2-5-0, -3.04u)
  • Spread: APP -7.5

Redbox Bowl

  • Michigan State: Mark Dantonio (6-4-0, +1.69u)
  • Oregon: Mario Cristobal (0-2-1, -2.00u)
  • Spread: ORE -1.5
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