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In a typical college basketball season, and to a lesser degree this season, February typically means rematch games in most conferences. For 2021, several leagues are playing back-to-back games, so rematches are immediate. But for the others, including most power conferences, we will see the usual second meetings between teams for the rest of the regular season.
Having the evidence of an earlier matchup just a short while ago benefits bettors, of course. However, expecting the same result the second time around is too easy — and usually not a sound strategy. A lot of things can affect the way the teams compete in the rematch, including momentum changes, personnel differences and, perhaps most importantly, adjustments made by the coaching staffs.
So which coaches have proven best and worst in rematches with their current teams? Who is best and worst in revenge games when having won the initial matchup? Let’s see if we can uncover any betting systems to keep in mind as we roll into the second halves of most conference schedules.
Here is a chart indicating the current coaches who have performed best in same-season rematch games. This includes all games with their current programs or since 2010 if they’ve been at a school longer than that. These results include second, third and even occasionally fourth matchups between teams in a given season. Games through Jan. 13 are included.
Jeff Boals of Ohio U. has a perfect ATS record in rematch games in his season-plus with the program. The Bobcats’ win Jan. 12 over Miami (Ohio) made them 8-for-8 in point-spread victories. Of course, while 8-0 ATS is an impressive record, perhaps Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft’s mark is even better. At 30-8 ATS, Craft has done a phenomenal job adjusting to his opponents the second time around. If you’re wondering why the straight-up record and ATS mark don’t coincide, recall that most of the smaller conferences’ games weren’t board games until a few years ago. The other notable coach on this list is Dana Altman of Oregon, who has gone 74-28 SU and 65-33-4 ATS with the Ducks in same-season rematches. There will be chances to take advantage of this amazing trend throughout February and early March.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, here are the coaches who have fared worst in rematch games with their current teams.
You’ll find John Brannen at the top of this list, as he has lost all seven rematch games with Cincinnati against the spread in his short year-plus stay. The first turnaround game for the Bearcats in 2021 will be Jan. 27 against Wichita State. The host Shockers won the initial meeting 82-76 on Jan. 10. This list of struggling coaches in rematch games offers very few large sample sizes. In fact, the 58-game sample of Ball State is the only one over 37. That is easy to explain because most coaches who struggle in these types of games aren’t making winning adjustments and tend not to hold jobs for a long time.
How does the outcome of the first meeting affect teams’ performances in rematches? Check these top trends in revenge games and in rematches after a win.
Top Same-Season Revenge Coaching Trends
— Rod Barnes of Cal State Bakersfield is on an 11-3 ATS (79%) revenge run.
— Mike Davis of Detroit Mercy is 1-11 SU and 3-9 ATS (25%) in the last 12 same-season revenge games, including 0-5 ATS in the last five.
— Joe Dooley of East Carolina has won just once in the last 11 same-season revenge games while going 3-8 ATS (27%).
— Robert McCullum of Florida A&M has won and covered the point spread in five straight revenge contests.
— Tim Craft of Gardner-Webb is on a phenomenal 11-2 SU and 12-1 ATS (92%) surge in revenge mode.
— Zac Claus of Idaho is just 2-10 SU and 3-9 ATS (25%) in the last 12 revenge games.
— Ray Harper of Jacksonville State has lost 10 straight revenge games ATS.
— Amir Abdur-Rahim of Kennesaw State is 0-10 and 2-8 ATS (20%) in revenge games in his stay with the Owls.
— Ashley Howard of La Salle has struggled to six straight outright and ATS losses in potential revenge opportunities.
— Lennie Acuff of Lipscomb has adjusted well in going 7-1 SU and 7-1 ATS (88%) in revenge spots.
— Steve Wojciechowski of Marquette is just 12-21 and 11-22 ATS (33%) with the Golden Eagles in revenge tries.
— Some Big Ten matchups have just been bad for Richard Pitino of Minnesota, who is 11-23 SU and ATS (32%) in revenge mode.
— Ben Howland of Mississippi State, a veteran coach, is 12-9 SU and 14-5 ATS (74%) in same-season revenge games with the Bulldogs.
— Part of Fred Hoiberg’s early struggles at Nebraska has been revenge games, going 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS (14%).
— Brian Dutcher of San Diego State is on a 10-3 SU and ATS (77%) revenge surge after Saturday’s loss to Utah State.
Top Same-Season Rematches After Wins Coaching Trends
— Darrell Walker of Arkansas-Little Rock is 8-2 SU and ATS (80%) against opponents after winning the previous same-season matchups.
— James Whitford of Ball State is just 3-9 SU and 2-10 ATS (29%) in the last 12 games when the opponent is in revenge mode.
— Dennis Gates of Cleveland State is 7-1 SU and ATS (88%) when having beaten an opponent in a previous matchup that season.
— Tad Boyle of Colorado has struggled following up earlier-season wins against an opponent, going 25-25 SU but 17-32 ATS (35%).
— Rod Barnes of Cal State Bakersfield is on a brutal 1-10 ATS (9%) slide when having beaten an opponent in an earlier season game.
— Patrick Ewing of Georgetown is 2-9 SU and ATS (18%) in the last 11 games when his Hoyas have beaten an opponent earlier in the season.
— Dan D’Antoni of Marshall is 12-4 SU and ATS (75%) following up an earlier season victory over an opponent.
— Cuonzo Martin of Missouri is 1-6 SU and ATS (14%) when his opponent is in same-season revenge mindset.
— Mark Slessinger of New Orleans is overlooked when it comes to completing same-season sweeps, as evidenced by 13-3 SU and 8-1 ATS (89%) mark in his last 16 tries.
— Dana Altman of Oregon has been great in shutting down same-season revenge attempts by opponents, going 11-2 SU and ATS (85%) in the last 13.
— Ed Cooley of Providence has a rich history of following up earlier season wins at 25-18 SU and 28-15 ATS (65%) with the Friars.
— Matt Painter of Purdue is 14-5 SU but just 4-15 ATS (21%) in the last 19 games trying to stave off revenge-minded foes.
— Jason Hooten of Sam Houston State has gone just 1-10 ATS (9%) in the last 11 games when trying to sweep a conference foe.
— Duggar Baucom of the Citadel is 1-9 and 2-8 ATS (20%) following up an earlier season win over an opponent.
— Joe Pasternack of UC Santa Barbara is 5-15 ATS (25%) in the last 20 rematch games after having beaten opponent in a previous matchup.
Looking at the entire database of rematch games since 2010, here are three interesting betting systems:
— No favorite of more than 15 points has lost in same-season revenge mode since before the 2010 season, going 38-0 SU and 22-14-2 ATS (61%).
— In general, betting road teams that lost a close game by three or fewer points at home is a sound strategy, as they are 456-389-19 ATS (53.9%) since the start of the 2010-11 season. If that recent loss was within a month, the win rate bumps up to 55% at 274-224-11 ATS.
— Revenge loses its value as a motivator for a team that lost a road game to an opponent more than two months earlier, particularly in the bigger underdog role. These teams are typically lesser programs playing out the string late in the season. As underdogs of four points or more in revenge games from road losses more than two months earlier, teams are just 27-58-2 ATS since the start of the 2010-11 season. These plays often come in conference tournaments.