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College Football Power Ratings vs. Current Pointspreads

08.18.2010     07:52 AM     Rob Veno     Printer Friendly

One of the most important components in the process of handicapping opening week college football games is staying “grounded”. The anxiety felt by everyone who can’t wait for the season to open has been compounded over the past few years by the incredibly early arrivals of major preseason annuals. Around Memorial Day we are flooded with magazine pages with opinions of teams and projections for the upcoming college football season. All of this early information creates what I feel are faster moving bandwagons than ever before. Whether positive or negative, it seems as if the masses either exuberantly jump on or strongly dislike teams far more than they did as recently as 10-15 years ago. In years past, these likes and dislikes were not reflected so strongly in the pointspreads so early in the summer. In essence, the clamoring for football and in this case the college variety can now create lines that show too much variance from the conclusion of the prior season to the beginning of the next one. It’s very, very easy to get swept away in the gale force of preseason hype.  

In order to try and help recognize what might be real and what might be blown out of proportion, I always go through a process with my Power Ratings in order to remain firmly planted and keep a solid handicapping foundation. Basically what I am looking for are situations where perhaps the betting marketplace overreacted. Using last season’s closing power rating numbers I can see what the lines would have been just seven months ago in January. Then I place them up against their respective current game pointspreads and look at the differences in the numbers. This particular exercise allows you to sit back and see exactly how much the perceptions of teams have changed in a short time span. Obviously at this point, personal determinations have to be made. Do you believe that the extra separation in the line towards the favorite is justified? Has the underdog really closed the gap that much? Going through this process and seeing the lines up against one another is one way to keep you grounded when handicapping the opening week college football card.

Below is a spreadsheet in rotation order showing the current lines of opening week games, what the line would’ve been at the conclusion of last season based on my Power Ratings, and the differential between the numbers posted in the row of the team which the early money seems to favor. 

CUR = Current line as of August 18
LYC = Last year’s closing line based on my Power Ratings
DIFF = Difference between lines
     

CFB Opening Week Line Comparison
Date
TEAM
S
CUR
LYC
DIFF
9/2
Southern Miss.
A
 
 
 
9/2
South Carolina
H
-14
-10.5
+3.5
9/2
Marshall
A
 
 
 
9/2
Ohio St.
H
-28
-27
+1
9/2
Northern Illinois
A
 
 
+4.5
9/2
Iowa St.
H
-3.5
-8
 
9/2
Pittsburgh
A
 
 
 
9/2
Utah
H
-3
-0.5
+2.5
9/2
U.S.C.
A
-21
-23.5
 
9/2
Hawaii
H
 
 
+2.5
9/2
Minnesota
A
 
 
 
9/2
Mid Tennessee St.
H
-4.5
-0.5
+4
9/2
Florida Atlantic
A
 
 
 
9/2
Ala-Birmingham
H
-13
-7
+6
9/3
Arizona
A
-14.5
-17.5
 
9/3
Toledo
H
 
 
+3
9/4
W. Michigan
A
 
 
 
9/4
Michigan St.
H
-21.5
-19
+2.5
9/4
Miami (Ohio)
A
 
 
+11
9/4
Florida
H
-35
-46
 
9/4
Illinois
N
 
 
 
9/4
Missouri
N
-13.5
-8.5
+5
9/4
Colorado
N
-12.5
-9.5
+3
9/4
Colorado St.
N
 
 
 
9/4
Northwestern
A
-3.5
-0.5
+3
9/4
Vanderbilt
H
 
 
 
9/4
Memphis
A
 
 
 
9/4
Mississippi St.
H
-21
-19
+2
9/4
Texas
A
-29
-40.5
 
9/4
Rice
N
 
 
+11.5
9/4
Purdue
A
 
 
 
9/4
Notre Dame
H
-11
-8
+3
9/4
Connecticut
A
 
-1.5
 
9/4
Michigan
H
-2.5
 
+4
9/4
Kentucky
A
-3
-7.5
 
9/4
Louisville
H
 
 
+4.5
9/4
New Mexico
A
 
 
+1.5
9/4
Oregon
H
-34
-35.5
 
9/4
U.C.L.A.
A
-2
 
+2.5
9/4
Kansas St.
H
 
-0.5
 
9/4
Syracuse
A
-8
-6
+2
9/4
Akron
H
 
 
 
9/4
Washington
A
 
 
+9
9/4
B.Y.U.
H
-3
-12
 
9/4
Washington St.
A
 
 
+22
9/4
Oklahoma St.
H
-14.5
-36.5
 
9/4
San Jose St.
A
 
 
+12.5
9/4
Alabama
H
-39
-51.5
 
9/4
Utah St.
A
 
 
+1.5
9/4
Oklahoma
H
-31.5
-33
 
9/4
Army
A
-9.5
-8.5
+1
9/4
E. Michigan
H
 
 
 
9/4
Oregon St.
A
 
 
 
9/4
T.C.U.
H
-12.5
-12
+0.5
9/4
North Carolina
N
 
 
+7
9/4
L.S.U.
N
PK
-7
 
9/4
Cincinnati
A
 
-9
 
9/4
Fresno St.
H
PK
 
+9
9/4
Wisconsin
A
-20
-17
+3
9/4
U.N.L.V.
H
 
 
 
9/4
UL-Lafayette
A
 
 
 
9/4
Georgia
H
-28
-28
0
9/4
W. Kentucky
A
 
 
+5.5
9/4
Nebraska
H
-35.5
-41
 
9/4
North Texas
A
 
 
+10.5
9/4
Clemson
H
-23
-33.5
 
9/4
Bowling Green
A
 
 
 
9/4
Troy St.
H
-14
-9
+5
9/4
Arkansas St.
A
 
 
 
9/4
Auburn
H
-30.5
-27.5
+3
9/5
Tulsa
A
-7
 
+17.5
9/5
East Carolina
H
 
-10.5
 
9/5
S.M.U.
A
 
 
+11
9/5
Texas Tech
H
-13
-24
 
9/6
Maryland
N
 
 
 
9/6
Navy
N
-7
-5.5
+1.5
9/6
Boise St.
N
-3
-1
+2
9/6
Virginia Tech
N
 
 
 
     








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