I mentioned yesterday that this is a four-part series of how I grade the home field edges. On the right-hand pages of the magazine for all 131 teams, I list the home field advantage. I think college football crowds are the best in sports and some teams have larger home field edges than others. In Las Vegas the standard is to give 3 points to the home team. I believe there is a large difference in home field edges in college football. Traveling to face Mississippi St and having to face the cowbell noise is a daunting task. Some stadiums that may not be 100,000 but are very loud like Oregon and Washington are a lot tougher venue than traveling to Akron or Connecticut. This year my home field edges in the magazine range from 2 to 5.5.
Yesterday I gave you the straight up records of all 131 teams for the last three and five years excluding 2020. I excluded 2020 as most games did not have any crowd at all. This year we bring in the great equalizer the Las Vegas Spread. In a perfect world Vegas gets 50% of its bets on one side and 50% on the other side and they college the juice (10%) with no risk. Yesterday I showed that home teams win roughly 64% of their games straight up and some teams had a perfect record over 3 years. I gave a 6.0 only for 100% but in the ATS world I had to grade on a curve as not team could accomplish 100% as Vegas would adjust the lines each week to balance the action until they were overpriced. You will notice the Graded on a curve column has been added.
Let’s look at the last three years ATS records for each team at home.
Remember the last three years does not consider 2020 when games were played in empty stadiums. Texas A&M knocked off Alabama at home last year and is a super 16-5 ATS (Against The Spread) at home. If that was a straight up record, I would have given Texas A&M a 4.57 on the home field grade but I wanted each category graded from 0-6 so I had to put it on a curve which is the 2nd column. I think you would agree that 16-5 or UAB’s 12-4 ATS record the last three years are really good marks and both of those earn the 6-point grade. There are some Power 5 teams at the bottom of the chart like Georgia Tech (4-15 ATS), Northwestern (5-14 ATS), California (5-13 ATS) and Michigan St (7-13 ATS). Vegas factors in the fact that Wisconsin is a strong team and is #12 over the last 5 years at 29-5 Straight up but is just 8-13 ATS at home the last 3 years. Interestingly Oklahoma is 20-0 SU the last 3 years at home, but Vegas compensates for that in the Vegas line, and they are just 10-10 ATS.
Now let us look at the last five years ATS records for each team at home.
Unlike the Straight up records chart from yesterday, the blue bloods that were at the top of that are more towards the middle here. I think the best value against the spread is playing the teams that not everyone follows. That is why my magazine is such a huge plus as I give the same amount of coverage to a team like Buffalo or Middle Tennessee St that I do to Alabama. The general public knows about the Top 15 or Top 25 teams but knows very little about the rest of the 131. That value is reflected here as the top 12 home field records feature EIGHT Group of Five teams. At the very top is UAB at 17-4 ATS at home and Buffalo is #2 at 19-9 68% with SMU in the #3 spot at 20-11 65%. TCU had built up quite a reputation as a solid home team, but Vegas started to compensate for that and they are just 7-23 ATS the last 5 years at home (excluding 2020). Tennessee has a great home crowd in Rocky Top but is just 13-24 ATS in Neyland Stadium.
Vegas in an ideal world would like a 50-50 split of the action so they have no risk and just take their commission. Over the last 3 years the home teams are 1228-1243 or 49.7% vs the spread which is exactly where you would think the number would be.
This is part two of the series and I will finish up the next two parts by early next week and then you will know all the factors that I put into the home field edge for the magazine each year.
Where to find a 2022 Phil Steele College football Preview.
Remember if you are out and about this weekend the magazine is still at all Barnes and Nobles but if your local Barnes and Noble is sold out, it should start hitting other stores like Books-A-Million, CVS, Food Lion, Kroger, HEB, Harris Teeter, Ingles, HyVee, Meijer’s, Publix. Food Lion, Safeway, Walgreens and Walmart this weekend as well.