Week Eight of College Football is here, and it sure is hard to believe that we are already making our way through the back half of the regular season. It’s unfortunate that it took our Power Ratings Plays this long to produce consecutive positive weeks but hats off to Adam for making the right adjustments and finding some hidden value in teams unaccounted for in the market.
With that 2-1 showing, our season long record now moves to 7-14 on the year and though positive regression was certainly expected, considering how the year started, we still have to keep in mind that Power Ratings gradually lose a little bit of luster as the season progresses. Situational handicaps should increasingly take precedence, but Power Ratings will always be a good starting point in helping to narrow down a dauntingly expansive slate, and when combined with market analysis, can continue to provide value indefinitely.
But before we take our weekly dive into the off-shore market with Power Ratings as our guide, let’s review last weeks’ plays and see what we can take away from our 2-1 record.
Our first play of last weekend started on Friday with San Diego State, as an eventual 11-point favorite hosting Air Force. And though sharp money appeared to support our position, with this number opening south of 10, the Aztecs pulled out a close 21-17 and were never able to get any sizable margin. Only outgaining the Falcons by 21 yards, the Aztecs were actually “out first-downed” and lost the time of possession battle. Wrong side here, and San Diego State was downgraded two points in the updated Power Ratings, while Air Force was upgraded three.
The second play and first W of the weekend came with Charlotte, who a 7.5-point underdog, not only covered but took Western Kentucky to the woodshed with a 40-14 win. The score was hardly misleading either as the 49ers outgained WKU by nearly 200 yards, got nine more first downs, and came close to doubling their yards per play. Can’t argue that Charlotte wasn’t the right side here and this result invoked a one-point upgrade for the 49ers, in spite of our already bullish position relative to the market.
And finally, the Mean Green of North Texas came through as a 7.5-point favorite, who despite taking some late money against them, driving this number down away from our position, went on to win 30-7 over Southern Miss. This final was a bit misleading, with UNT only outgaining USM by 90 yards, and coming up with 4 more first downs, and almost dead even time of possession; but UNT did put up 5.0 to 1.8 yards per rush. This turned out to be one of those situations in which a team lost pretty handily but was still upgraded substantially (3.5 points), because the line closed so far off from our number and the final was a little misleading.
Now 5-1 in the last two weeks, our numbers are getting better, positions are getting stronger, and some things are finally starting to go our way. Therefore, with Uncle Mo now by our side, and a few more Power Ratings positions to ponder, l present our Week 8 Power Ratings Plays of the Week.
Virginia @ Duke
Off shore Consensus Open: UVA 8 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: UVA 7 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: UVA 5
Opening off-shore just above the 2nd most significant of all key numbers, Virginia, in receiving 58% of the spread bets, has took on enough influential action to drive this number down onto 7. With our number positioned on the other side of 7, we loved those 8’s and 7.5’s when they were for the taking, but 7 still offers a few points of value on a key.
The market is currently posting a blend of soft 7’s, 7 -110’s, and juiced 7 -115’s, with BetOnline the only of the major off-shores to still have the hook on 7, but charging an expensive -125 on that number. The books on the sharpest end of the spectrum, such as Pinnacle, The Greek and Matchbook, are those that are offering the reduced juice, while the Bovada and the MyBookies of the world are posting 7 -110’s; evidence of a sharp lean to Duke at 7, but a minor one.
All things considered, getting a reduced price on the 7 with Virginia looks to be the optimum condition for a play currently, but chances are you won’t find one. I’d still be comfortable taking 7 at -110, considering the strength of this move, and with a slight consensus in favor on the dog, this may be the best price you’ll find on this game from here on out.
Michigan @ Michigan State
Off shore Consensus Opener: Michigan – 6.5 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: Michigan – 7 -115
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Michigan – 11
With Michigan opening as a 6.5-point favorite across the board off-shore, a slight 55% consensus, mixed with a little sharp involvement perhaps, has resulted in Big Blue now being a 7-point favorite with a little extra tax at nearly every major off-shore. Only 5Dimes has gone to 7.5, and this is their patented teaser protection line, while Pinnacle and Matchbook are the only two featuring prices below -115, but are still juicing the Michigan side relative to the Sparty one.
Obviously, you’d love to get a -110 or better here, but you’ll be hard pressed to find it. And with the late recreational action likely to favor Michigan slightly, this number is going up to 7.5, if anywhere. But paying that extra 5% tax on a key number might be worth the cost here, however, when you have 4 points of Power Ratings value through 10, on a side that has already shown professional investment.
Nevada @ Hawaii
Off shore Consensus Open: Nevada 3.5 -110
Off-shore Consensus Line: Nevada 3 -110
Bang the Book’s Power Rating line: Nevada – 4
The wrong team is favored according to our numbers, and the market has been in support of our position thus far, as Nevada opened with a hook on the most significant of all keys and lost it; which as minor of a move as that may seem, is actually very telling. Early action has overwhelmingly been in support of Nevada (71%), but if this were all simply recreational I can assure you it would not be enough for the market to move from 3.5 to 3.
Currently in the off-shore market, 3 -110 is the consensus, but there are 3’s juiced to the Nevada side, such as the 3 -113 at BetOnline, and some juiced to the Hawaii side, such as those at Pinnacle (-111) and Matchbook (-115). You don’t love seeing sharper books juicing the Hawaii side at 3, but the fact of the matter is that this number opened 3.5, and the sharpest books are most careful to make a move all the way through three. Therefore, this isn’t a situation where I’d be scared away from taking the points at -110, especially with Power Ratings overlay through a primary key, seven points of line value, and a consensus move off 3.5.