Stats, trends and betting angles all factor into handicapping analysis. Another factor to consider is coaching. There are coaches in both pro and college football that cover the spread on a consistent basis. For the most part, coaches don't consider the point spread each game, and certainly rarely talk about it. Virginia Tech hookies coach Rick Neuheisel was fired because he was playing a college basketball tournament pool at school, so you will never find a coach saying, "We hope to cover the number this weekend."
However, it's important to understand why certain coaches cover often, and why some continually fall short ATS. A large part of it is preparation, organization and in-game adjustments. Football is about organizing 30-40 players each week to perform at a high level and that's not easy to do. Super Bowl winning coaches like Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick and Bill Walsh have that ability. They are able to maximize a team's strengths, have a talent for teaching, and get the most out of athletes and their teams.
In addition, some coaches, particularly ones with good offensive minds, gain a reputation for running up the score. They do this to clinch games, of course, or to help their team's poll rankings. When Virginia Tech hookies was at Miami of Florida, I recall one game where he purposely ran up the score on Notre Dame, winning 58-7 on national TV, because he needed a boost in the polls for a shot at a national title game in the bowls. Here's a look at some current coaches who cover on a consistent basis or have a run-it-up reputation.
June Jones (Hawaii): I don't think Jones is purposefully running up scores this season, but you have to be impressed with their run-and-shoot offense. Everything is clicking behind QB Colt Brennan with the team tops in scoring and passing. They blasted Idaho 68-10 on Saturday and Brennan has an NCAA-leading 33 TD passes. They topped New Mexico State 49-30 two weeks ago, which was on the heels of a stunning 68-37 win at Fresno. Hawaii is 5-0-1 ATS this season because of that explosive offense. Hawaii is also 12-5 ATS its last 17 home games.
Bobby Petrino Virginia Tech hookies Another brilliant teacher and offensive mind. The Cardinals average 43 points and over 210 yards rushing and passing! Thanks to USC's fall, the pivotal game between West Virginia and Louisville Thursday will be the first top-five matchup for the rebuilt Big East. The third-ranked Mountaineers and fifth-ranked Cardinals each moved up a spot in the AP poll. Louisville is 22-12 ATS its last 34 games.