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Who Is Overachieving & Underachieving In The Big 12 So Far This Season?

Performance against the spread can show us how teams are faring versus expectations.

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Getty Images - David K Purdy

As we enter the second half of the season we will start to pay more attention to the stats. Early in the season it’s hard to get much from the data since the sample size is so small, but with each week we get more data and the numbers become more reliable.

One stat that is rather interesting is how teams are doing against the spread. If you don’t know, the spread is the betting line set by various sportsbooks. For example, TCU is currently a 39-point favorite over Kansas this week, Oklahoma State is a 7-point favorite over Texas, and so on. We aren’t here to talk about this week’s spreads, though. We’ll do that a bit later in the week.

Another way to think of the spread is expectation, and who has been performing the best against expectation, and who’s near the bottom, may surprise you.

Team ATS Record Cover % ATS +/-
Iowa State 5-1-0 83.3% +13.5
Texas Tech 5-1-0 83.3% +12.3
West Virginia 4-2-0 66.7% +10.2
TCU 3-3-0 50.0% +7.5
Oklahoma State 4-2-0 66.7% +7.2
Texas 5-1-0 83.3% +4.3
Kansas State 2-4-0 33.3% -0.2
Oklahoma 3-3-0 50.0% -4.0
Baylor 2-4-0 33.3% -9.2
Kansas 1-5-0 16.7% -14.2

Nobody in the Big 12 is outperforming their expectations more than the Cyclones. Iowa State pulled off the upset of Oklahoma two weeks ago in a game where they were a 30-point underdog. That obviously had a big impact on the average amount they have covered the spread by, but their performance is more than just one game skewing the number. They followed up the upset with a drubbing of Kansas last Saturday, and are 5-1 against the spread, overall.

Speaking of Oklahoma, the conference contender is surprisingly among the bottom when comparing how they’ve played to expectation. In fact, they are sandwiched between Kansas State and Baylor, who finished eight and 9th in our week 8 Big 12 rankings.  Part of that is the Iowa State upset, but the Sooners pulled off an upset of their own again Ohio State in week two and are just 3-3 against the spread.

Sooner fans can relax a little bit though, because of course this is not a hard and fast gauge for how well or poorly a team is performing. Take West Virginia for example. The Mountaineers are 4-2 against the spread and third in ATS scoring margin. Hidden in the above average performance numbers is that West Virginia has developed a habit of beating up who they should handily beat, but have struggled against equal competition. Even in their win over Texas Tech, the first half was one for the Blue and Gold faithful to forget. Pulling out the win behind an impressive second half performance was a step in the right direction, but there are plenty of frustrations around Morgantown, despite their performance against the spread.

That said, it’s a little surprise that Iowa State and Texas Tech, two teams that have surprised the most, are the two teams that have overachieved the most so far.

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