Data

This site is built from data on the closing lines available at https://www.covers.com/. I scraped their data using python/BeautifulSoup, processed it somewhat in python, then processed further and formatted using PHP/MySQL.

NOTE: The current default setting is for JUST regular season and conference tournament (i.e. NOT March Madness) data. The presence of Cinderella teams at the top of some of these rankings is much more interesting than it might otherwise be! I do have the March Madness data, and will include it eventually as an option.

The specific code I used for scraping and then the website code is availble at https://github.com/oreagan/respectindex .

Full-Season Stats

Is this data any good? Let's check how it looks overall, in terms of how often teams beat the spread:


This basically fits a normal distribution. For 2017-18, two standard deviations from the mean is a little under 10 (~9.8) wins or losses vs. the spread.

9 teams (~3%) had 10 or more beats, 10 (~3%) lost 10+ net times to the spread. 6% beyond two standard deviations is a bit high.
If we consider (+/-)11+ to be the mark, it's 12 teams (4%) truly beyond (not just at) two standard devs - almost exactly what we would expect.

So, does the overall metric tell us anything of statistical significance about a given team? Probably not, at least in a rigorous way. There are other caveats, too - not all teams had equal numbers of lines set, for example. But it's fun!

Stand-outs

Within this time range, the all-time worst team vs. the spread was the 2011-2012 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, who managed an astonishing 16 losses vs. the spread in the regular season. They went 16-16 in the season, 10-6 in conference, so they weren't awful - but they were consistently worse than expected.

The all-time best / most disrespected team in this data set are the 2013-14 Wichita State Shockers, who also set any number of records with their 31-0 season. They beat the spread an astonishing 18 times in the regular season. Say what you will about mid-major teams playing weaker competition, they still managed to exceed the collective college basketball gamblers' expectations over and over and over. The next closest are the Southern Methodist Mustangs with 16 games beating the spread, so Wichita State were true outliers.