Just like with Points Per Possesion (PPP) on offense, defensive PPP also translates into profitable trends at the window, with Memphis and Kansas leading the way.
Last week, we gave you the best and worst teams in the country in terms of offensive points per possession (PPP), and showed that there was a direct correlation between that statistic and a team’s success (or lack of) against the spread.
We showed that at the top 10 teams in offensive PPP had a lucrative collective ATS record of 117-79-6, 59.7 percent at the time, while the bottom 10 teams were 80-110-3 ATS for an also very solid fade percentage of 57.9 percent. This week, we turn our attention to defensive PPP.
Again, we are happy to report that there does appear to be a direct correlation between defensive PPP and ATS. The top 10 defensive PPP teams are currently 127-92-6, 58.0 percent ATS. While that is not quite as strong as the 59.7 percent mark for the top 10 offensive teams, it is still an outstanding figure that professional gamblers would be envious of. Also, just like offensive PPP, fading the bottom 10 defensive PPP teams has been an equally viable approach, as those clubs are 86-119-4 ATS for a fade percentage of 58.0 percent that is identical to playing on the top 10 clubs.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 and bottom 10 defensive PPP teams in the land through Wednesday, February 20:
TOP 10 DEFENSIVE PPP
1 – MEMPHIS (0.840): The Tigers have done an outstanding job of shutting down the opposition this season, and the fact that they are allowing only 60.8 points per game becomes even more impressive when you consider that this team plays at a relatively fast pace, averaging 71.7 possessions per game. As a result, their 25-0 record becomes less surprising, and they are outscoring their opponents be a whopping 19.4 points per game. The only surprise is that their ATS record of 13-10-1 is not as good as one would expect, although that is still 56.5 percent.
2 – KANSAS (0.874): Kansas is one of just two teams to rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, in fact ranking in the top two in each category, as they are now number one in offensive PPP! It is this kind of overall efficiency that makes the Jayhawks the choice of many experts to win the national championship, especially since they play in a much stronger conference than undefeated Memphis. Kansas is allowing 61.2 points per game while winning by an average of +20.8 points, yet their popularity has made them overvalued from a betting standpoint, resulting in just an 11-10-2 ATS mark.
3 – WISCONSIN (0.878): Any success by the Badgers this season has been keyed by this stifling defense. In fact, Wisconsin is allowing just 55.4 points per contest, which is considerably less than the top two defensive PPP teams. The reason that they rank behind Memphis and Kansas in efficiency, however, as that Wisconsin games have averaged far few possessions at 63.2. The Badgers are a disappointing 10-12 ATS however, but that has more to do with the fact that they have been double-digit favorites 12 times this season, and their style of play is not conducive to laying big spots like that.
4 – LOUISVILLE (0.890): The Cardinals have turned their season around after a bad start, thanks to this great defensive unit. They are allowing an even 60.0 points over 67.2 possessions per game, and they are an impressive 11-3 straight up inside the tough Big East Conference with two of those losses being by one and two point respectively. They are a sparkling 15-10, 60.0 percent ATS overall, and they are currently on a six-game winning streak both straight up and ATS.
5 – BYU (0.894): The 20-5 Cougars may be a surprise to casual followers, but BYU is one of the hottest teams in the country, currently riding a nine-game winning streak while allowing just 59.4 points per game during the streak. They are also playing at a much faster pace this season than the BYU teams of recent seasons, averaging 71.2 possessions per game. They have also improved their play on the road, going 7-4 both SU and ATS away from home.
6 – STANFORD (0.897): The Cardinal have surprised quite a few experts this season with their 21-4 record, and they have taken their cue from UCLA and Washington State, helping make the Pac 10 more defensively dominated. That said, Stanford plays at a slower pace than any other team in the defensive PPP top 10 except Wisconsin, averaging just 63.8 touches per game. Thus, the 57.8 points per game they are allowing is a bit deceptive. They are a decent 13-11, 54.2 percent ATS.
7 – VA. COMMONWEALTH (0.900): The 19-6 Rams are the biggest surprise on this list, although they are allowing just 59.5 points per game. A couple of words of caution are in order here though. VCU plays a deliberate offense similar to Wisconsin and Stanford, averaging 65.8 possessions per game. The major difference however is that they have done this vs. some soft competition, ranking 211th in the country in Strength of Schedule (SOS). They have done a fine job vs. the teams that they have played, winning by an average of +9.2 points while going 13-8-1, 61.9 percent ATS, and they do have a nice non-conference win over Maryland. Still, they are probably the least worthy team on this list.
8 – KANSAS STATE (0.903): Until recently, we considered the Wildcats a scary team that none of the national powers will wanted to face come March. After all, this team beat Kansas and their 18-7 record looks much better when you consider their conference and schedule. They play at a fast pace, averaging 73.5 possessions, yet they have allowed fewer points per game inside the Big 12 than they did out of conference. What made us sour on Kansas State greatly though has been their recent performances on the road, where they have now lost three consecutive games to fall to 3-5 away from home on the year. They are still a nice 11-7, 61.1 percent ATS overall.
9 – DUKE (0.904): Besides Kansas, Duke is the only other school ranked in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive PPP, but just barely as they have now dropped to 10th offensively. The Blue Devils are allowing 67.8 points per game, but that figure looks a lot better when you consider that they rank 12th in the country in possessions per game at 74.8. Because they rank so high in both categories, Duke is still winning by an average of +17.3 points per game despite their uncharacteristic two-game losing streak, and their 14-7-2, 66.7 percent ATS record is impressive considering they are probably the most public team in college basketball.
10 – UCLA (0.905): With all due respect to Stanford, we feel that he Bruins are unquestionably the biggest threat from the Pac 10 to go deep in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA is allowing 58.7 points on 65.1 possessions per game, and they have been one of the best road teams in the country at 9-1 straight up, which will served them well on neutral courts during March Madness. They are have also been one of the best bets in the nation all year, at 16-7, 69.6 percent ATS.
BOTTOM 10 DEFENSIVE PPP
These are ATS records and defensive PPP only
332 – EASTERN ILLINOIS (11-11-2, 1.101)
333 – LOUISIANA MONROE (8-11-1, 1.102)
334 – LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (5-17, 1.104)
335 – NORTHWESTERN (8-11, 1.105)
336 – IDAHO STATE (8-15, 1.107)
337 – UC DAVIS (8-11, 1.108)
338 – SACRAMENTO STATE (10-10, 1.117)
339 – COLORADO STATE (9-11, 1.120)
340 – ARKANSAS STATE (8-14, 1.123)
341 – THE CITADEL (11-8-1, 1.157)