Last Updated: 2017-12-01
Though it may be one of the more entertaining weeks of the College Football season, Championship Week is one in which numerical edges and marketplace mispricing are much more difficult to find. Not only have many of these teams already played each other, and thus provided the betting market with a previous data point to consider, but there are so few games that the efficiency within the market is on par with that of the NFL’s if you consider the number of games available to bet. That’s not to say that there aren’t still perceptions/misperceptions and reactions/over-reactions that may have created some value this week, and that’s why Power Ratings, with their ability to reveal potential over-reactions, continue to maintain their value throughout the season.
Last week was one of those weeks in which our numbers demonstrated their applicability, producing a 3-0 weekend, and bringing our record on the season to 20-17-1. Our first win of the weekend was with Texas Tech as an eventual 7.5-point underdog @ Texas. Opening at 10.5, we saw some significant movement toward our number, but with Texas Tech getting the out-right upset, any number would have fortunately sufficed. Cal came up big with the cover as our second win of the weekend as a 7-point underdog @ UCLA, losing by 3, 30-27, and performing perfectly in line with our Power Rating Prediction on the game of UCLA -3. Finally, our 3rd win of the weekend came by way of Arkansas State, in a shootout, with the Red Wolves getting the 67-50 win @ UL-Monroe, closing as a 9-point favorite, and comfortably covering the number. Overall, it was a great week for the plays and we’ll hope to continue that momentum on into Championship week.
As mentioned earlier, the lines are certainly tighter out there this week and you should definitely consider that before making Power Rating’s-based plays on a Championship week. Hopefully, some slight numerical edges can invoke a further handicap of the game and provide grounds for a situational exploration into the matchup. I’ll provide my own situational spin of each game this week, and hopefully provide a basis by which to consider each potential side. With all of that being said, let’s dive into the off-shore market and see where BangtheBook.com’s Power Ratings find those numerical edges for this Championship Week.
Akron vs. Toledo
Off shore opener: Akron 18.5 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: Akron 21.5 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Akron 15
The rarity with which you’ll ever see a conference championship game lined at 3 touchdowns is enough to warrant Akron consideration here, and with our Power Ratings having this number at 15, there is reason to believe this line may be inflated a bit. Yes, Toledo made easy work of Akron in their first meeting this year, winning 48-21 at home, but that was over a month ago, and Akron has since made a Quarterback change, and this game will be played on a neutral field as opposed to the Glass Bowl, where Toledo holds one of the better home field advantages in the MAC. Akron has gone 3-1 since that meeting, pulling off an upset as a double-digit dog over Ohio, who themselves made easy work of Toledo and are on-par talent-wise with Rockets. Toledo has won their last 2 in blowouts, since their 38-10 loss @ Ohio and that, as well as their easy win over Akron earlier in the year could both being playing into the inflation of the spread. With action split down the middle thus far in ticket count, the line has trended upward from the 18.5 opener to a consensus of 21.5, but this could be attributed to Akron’s quarterback situation, as this number may have been posted with anticipation of Tommy Woodson, Akron’s senior quarterback’s, return but the situation is unclear at this point. The market has currently settled at a mixture of 21’s and 21.5’s, with only one book, 5Dimes, showing increased juice on the Zips at +21.5 -109 with the Rockets at -101. Other than that, there is no reason to believe this number moves at all, so if you’re wanting to back Akron you’ll certainly want to get the hook on 21.5, and because there are 21’s and a 21.5 with extra juice, I’d take the 21.5 when you can get it.
Georgia vs. Auburn
Off shore opener: Georgia 3 -105
Off-shore Consensus Line: Georgia 2 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Georgia 1.5
With these two teams meeting just 3 short week ago and Auburn absolutely dominating the Bulldogs 40-17 at home, the average recreational bettor would think it a no-brainer to lay the soft 3 with Auburn in a rematch. Well, the public has done just that with the Tigers, coming in on Auburn at a 67% rate, but not only has this line not moved up off of 3 with all of this Auburn action, but it’s actually come down to a consensus of 2 with 1.5’s beginning to emerge, in-line with our number of 1.5 on the game. With Auburn now having to get back up for a huge game right after their game of the year vs. Alabama last week, and this time traveling to Georgia, – though not to Sanford Stadium but to Mercedes-Benz stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons – with a hobbled Kerryon Johnson to boot, all-of-a-sudden a repeat performance doesn’t seem like such a sure bet. With the market trending towards 1.5, Georgia has emerged as the sharp side here, and all things considered, an argument can certainly be made for taking the Bulldogs in this spot. Though the number is trending downward currently, I still think this is a game you’re going to want to wait out, because a late public onslaught on Auburn money is a possibility and they better number on Auburn may be yet to come.
Miami Hurricanes vs. Clemson
Off shore opener: Miami 7.5 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: Miami 9 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Miami 3
It’s easy to see why the market is in love with Clemson in this spot; Dabo Swinney’s record both straight-up and ATS has been impeccable in big games, but at what point has the love gone too far and the tax gotten too high on Clemson? I venture to predict that if this game were played two weeks ago, the number would be a lot closer to our predicted spread of 3, but now throw in the recency bias of Miami’s slip-up in a look-ahead spot @ Pitt, and Clemson’s easy cover in South Carolina last week, and all-of-sudden Clemson is laying over a touchdown in the ACC Championship game. Opening just north of 7 as a consensus off-shore, 67% of the bets have come in on the Tigers thus far, and the number has climbed even higher to a consensus of 9, with a few 10’s beginning to show up as the week has progressed. Bovada and BetDSI are 2 of those books who have made the move to 10, with Bovada charging -115 on Miami at 10, and BetDSI, interestingly showing -110 while still offering a 9.5 -110 on Clemson. BetOnline is in the middle of the market at 9.5, while charging -120 on Miami, while Pinnacle sits at the low end of the spectrum, as the only major book charging extra juice on Miami at 9 -110. Another situation where you’re going to want to wait things out, you’d love to get a 10 at a good price, and there’s no reason to believe that this isn’t a possibility by kickoff.