College Football Power Ratings Bowls

Last Updated: 2018-12-12

Bowl season is here! Well, almost. Army/Navy has its rightful place as a standalone Week 15 game, but after that, it’s all about the bowl games.

I did a pretty deep dive into my power ratings last week in hopes of getting some good numbers for the bowls. Of course, when it comes to bowl games, so much more goes into the equation when placing a bet. Getting out in front of some numbers is never a bad idea, but you may find yourself grabbing numbers early and then buying off of those positions somewhere in the middle. Hell, you may even be attempting to middle the game.

This is a dangerous time of year for college football bettors because these teams have so much going on. Players are skipping games to avoid injury for the NFL Draft. Head coaches and coordinators are on the move. There are a few teams with interim coaches. I have a running article about that and will update it here this week.

As I went up and down through my power ratings, I definitely found some spots where I appear to have a lot of line value on the numbers that are out there. It can be a bit of a challenge to set bowl game odds because we’re crossing conference lines. The last several weeks have been all about how teams stack up relative to their conference peers. Now, we’re trying to ascertain what a team looks like relative to a comparable foe in another conference. I’m actually not surprised that I have some differences in my numbers from the early lines out in the market.

One other thing you will notice this week is that I’ve factored in some home field advantages. These are almost all neutral-site games, except for USF, who sucked for the last seven weeks of the season and got a home bowl game. These are arbitrary calculations. There really is no way to quantify what the actual HFA might be without some really gory math and I’m just not about that with these games.

If you play the BangTheBook Radio drinking game, and you should, unless you are driving, of course, you should take a shot every time we say motivation during the bowl season. Your liver will thank you.

Jokes aside, motivation is huge in the bowl games. Once the two teams get between the lines, we usually see good efforts, but the lead-up to the bowl games can be very different for the two teams. It takes focus to prepare for an opponent and some players have NFL considerations and most of them are taking finals. We joke about school for student-athletes, but maintaining eligibility is pretty important. It takes focus to have good practices. Some teams aren’t where they wanted to be. Others have a shot at 10 wins or finishing above .500 or whatever else. Those things often matter more than the handicap or the power ratings.

But, we’ve been doing power ratings all year and we won’t stop now.

This will be the final large-scale Power Ratings update. I will simply remove the bowl games that have already been played from my chart of numbers. If there is something big like a draft announcement or something like that, I will adjust the lines accordingly and update the power ratings chart, but that will be it. I won’t have a new update on a weekly basis. These will also be the foundation from which I start my 2019 power ratings.

Here is my 1 through 130 as we look ahead to bowl games:

Rank Team Conference PR HFA
1 Alabama SEC 103.5 4
2 Clemson ACC 99.5 4
3 Georgia SEC 91.5  
4 Ohio State Big Ten 90 3.5
5 Oklahoma Big 12 89.5 4.5
6 Notre Dame Independent 89 3.5
7 Michigan Big Ten 89 3.5
8 Washington Pac-12 87 3.5
9 LSU SEC 83 3.5
10 Washington State Pac-12 82.5 4
11 Mississippi State SEC 82  
12 Boise State Mountain West 82  
13 Fresno State Mountain West 81.5  
14 Auburn SEC 80  
15 Missouri SEC 80  
16 Texas A&M SEC 79.5  
17 Texas Big 12 79  
18 Syracuse ACC 79  
19 UCF AAC 79  
20 Miami (FL) ACC 79  
21 Stanford Pac-12 79 3.5
22 Penn State Big Ten 78.5 4
23 Utah State Mountain West 78.5  
24 Florida SEC 78.5 3.5
25 Oregon Pac-12 78.5  
26 Iowa State Big 12 78.5 2.5
27 Utah Pac-12 77.5 3.5
28 NC State ACC 77.5  
29 Pittsburgh ACC 77.5  
30 West Virginia Big 12 77 3.5
31 Arizona State Pac-12 77 3.5
32 Iowa Big Ten 77 3.5
33 Temple AAC 77 3.5
34 Georgia Tech ACC 77  
35 Cincinnati AAC 76.5 2.5
36 South Carolina SEC 76.5  
37 Purdue Big Ten 76 2.5
38 Kentucky SEC 76 2.5
39 Appalachian State Sun Belt 75.5 3.5
40 Texas Tech Big 12 75  
41 Duke ACC 75  
42 Boston College ACC 75  
43 Michigan State Big Ten 74.5  
44 Memphis AAC 74.5 3.5
45 Oklahoma State Big 12 74.5 3.5
46 Wisconsin Big Ten 74 3.5
47 Nebraska Big Ten 73.5 2.5
48 Virginia ACC 73.5  
49 Northwestern Big Ten 73 3.5
50 California Pac-12 73 3.5
51 USC Pac-12 73 4
52 Ohio MAC 72.5 3.5
53 Florida State ACC 72  
54 Virginia Tech ACC 71.5  
55 Arizona Pac-12 71  
56 TCU Big 12 71  
57 San Diego State Mountain West 71  
58 Maryland Big Ten 70.5 2.5
59 Baylor Big 12 70.5 2.5
60 Army Independent 70.5  
61 Nevada Mountain West 70.5  
62 Ole Miss SEC 70 3.5
63 Indiana Big Ten 70  
64 North Carolina ACC 70  
65 Buffalo MAC 70  
66 Vanderbilt SEC 70  
67 Northern Illinois MAC 70 3.5
68 BYU Independent 69.5 3.5
69 Wake Forest ACC 69.5  
70 Florida Atlantic Conference USA 69.5  
71 Middle Tennessee State Conference USA 69 3.5
72 UCLA Pac-12 69  
73 North Texas Conference USA 69  
74 UAB Conference USA 68.5  
75 Colorado Pac-12 68  
76 Marshall Conference USA 68  
77 Houston AAC 67.5 3.5
78 Eastern Michigan MAC 67.5  
79 Troy Sun Belt 67  
80 Tennessee SEC 67  
81 Toledo MAC 67 3.5
82 Tulane AAC 66.5  
83 Air Force Mountain West 66 3.5
84 Kansas State Big 12 65.5  
85 Miami (OH) MAC 65 2.5
86 Minnesota Big Ten 65  
87 USF AAC 65 4
88 Arkansas State Sun Belt 64.5 3.5
89 Florida International Conference USA 64.5  
90 Louisiana Tech Conference USA 64  
91 Wyoming Mountain West 64 3.5
92 SMU AAC 63  
93 Western Michigan MAC 63 3.5
94 Arkansas SEC 63  
95 Georgia Southern Sun Belt 63  
96 Southern Miss Conference USA 62.5  
97 Navy AAC 62.5 3.5
98 Louisiana Sun Belt 62 2.5
99 Hawaii Mountain West 61 2
100 Illinois Big Ten 60 2
101 Tulsa AAC 59.5  
102 Kansas Big 12 59 2
103 Oregon State Pac-12 58.5 2
104 Charlotte Conference USA 58 2
105 Western Kentucky Conference USA 58  
106 Louisiana-Monroe Sun Belt 57.5 2.5
107 Louisville ACC 57  
108 Liberty Independent 57  
109 East Carolina AAC 57 2
110 New Mexico Mountain West 56  
111 Colorado State Mountain West 55  
112 UMass Independent 53.5 2
113 UNLV Mountain West 53 2
114 Old Dominion Conference USA 53  
115 Ball State MAC 52 2
116 San Jose State Mountain West 51.5  
117 Coastal Carolina Sun Belt 51.5  
118 Akron MAC 51.5 2.5
119 Bowling Green MAC 51 2
120 Georgia State Sun Belt 51 2.5
121 Central Michigan MAC 51  
122 UTEP Conference USA 51 2.5
123 Kent State MAC 50.5 2
124 Rutgers Big Ten 50 2
125 Texas State Sun Belt 49 2
126 Rice Conference USA 49 2
127 South Alabama Sun Belt 48 2.5
128 New Mexico State Independent 48 2.5
129 UTSA Conference USA 45 2.5
130 UConn AAC 45 2.5

Here are my PR adjustments for the bowls:

PR Adjustments Bowls:

Up: Oklahoma +2.5, Ohio State +4, Ohio +1.5, Missouri +1.5, UCF +4, Memphis +2, Washington +2, Temple +1, Kentucky +2, South Carolina +2, Clemson +1, Georgia Southern +1.5, Marshall +1.5, Wake Forest +1.5, Rice +2, Boise State +1, MTSU +2, Stanford +1, Vanderbilt +1.5, Purdue +1.5, Louisiana +2.5, Hawaii +4, Northern Illinois +2, Virginia Tech +2,

Down: Alabama -1, Michigan -4, West Virginia -3, Arkansas -4, Central Michigan -2, Virginia -2.5, Washington State -1, Louisville -3.5, Michigan State -2.5, FIU -2.5, Duke -1, NC State -1.5, Louisiana Tech -2, Old Dominion -3.5, UTEP -2, Utah State -2.5, Utah -4, UAB -1.5, Cal -1, Tennessee -3, TCU -3.5, Florida State -2, LSU -2, Texas State -1, San Diego State -2, Texas -1, Iowa State -1.5, East Carolina -3.5

Some of these are based on injuries or losses and some are based on perception differences. Also, I compared my numbers back to Weeks 13 and 14 to make some adjustments. As you can see, not all of the teams are bowl bound. Once again, this will be my starting point for my 2019 PRs.

We’ve had some NFL Draft announcements. Here are my adjustments for those:

West Virginia -5.5 (Grier), Arizona State -1 (Harry), Oklahoma State -1.5 (Hill, Brailford), Houston -1 (Oliver), Minnesota -2 (Cashman & six suspensions)

Here are my bowl game lines, with notes on HFA adjustments:

Date Away Home My Line
12/8 Navy Army (N – Philadelphia) -8
12/15 North Texas (New Mexico) Utah State (N – Albuquerque) -11*
Tulane (Cure) Louisiana (N – Orlando) +4.5
Arizona State (Las Vegas) Fresno State (N – Las Vegas) -4.5
EMU (Camellia) Georgia Southern (N – Montgomery, AL) +3.5*
MTSU (New Orleans) Appalachian State (N – New Orleans) -6.5
12/18 NIU (Boca Raton) UAB (N – Boca Raton) +1.5
12/19 Ohio (Frisco) San Diego State (N – Frisco, TX) +1.5
12/20 Marshall (Gasparilla) South Florida (Tampa) +1*
12/21 FIU (Bahamas) Toledo (N – Nassau, Bahamas) -2.5
BYU (Potato) Western Michigan (N – Boise) +10.5
12/22 Wake Forest (Birmingham) Memphis (N – Birmingham, AL) -5
Houston (Armed Forces) Army (N – Fort Worth, TX) -3
Buffalo (Dollar General) Troy (Mobile, AL) +1.5*
Louisiana Tech (Hawaii) Hawaii (Honolulu) PK*
12/26 Boston College (First Responders) Boise State (N – Dallas) -7
Minnesota (Quick Lane) Georgia Tech (N – Detroit) -12
TCU (Cheez-It) Cal (N – Phoenix) -2
12/27 Duke (Independence) Temple (N – Shreveport) -2
Miami (Pinstripe) Wisconsin (N – Bronx) +5
Vanderbilt (Texas) Baylor (N – Houston) -3
12/28 Auburn (Music City) Purdue (N – Nashville) +4
Syracuse (Camping World) West Virginia (N – Orlando) +2
Iowa State (Alamo) Washington State (N – San Antonio) -4
12/29 Arkansas State (Arizona) Nevada (N – Tucson) -7*
Florida (Peach) Michigan (N – Atlanta) -9.5*
South Carolina (Belk) Virginia (Charlotte) +4*
Oklahoma (Orange) Alabama (N – Miami) -14
Notre Dame (Cotton) Clemson (N – Arlington) -10.5
12/31 Virginia Tech (Military) Cincinnati (N – Annapolis) -5
Pitt (Sun) Stanford (N – El Paso, TX) -1.5
Michigan State (San Fran) Oregon (N – Santa Clara) -5*
Missouri (Liberty) Oklahoma State (N – Memphis) +5.5
Northwestern (Holiday) Utah (N – San Diego) -4.5
NC State (Gator) Texas A&M (N – Jacksonville) -2
1/1 Iowa (Outback) Mississippi State (N – Tampa) -5
Kentucky (Citrus) Penn State (N – Orlando) -2.5
LSU (Fiesta) UCF (N – Glendale) +4
Washington (Rose) Ohio State (N – Pasadena) -3
Texas (Sugar) Georgia (N – New Orleans) -12.5
1/7 National Championship Look-Aheads
Clemson Alabama -4
Notre Dame Alabama -14.5
Oklahoma Clemson -10
Notre Dame Oklahoma -0.5

(asterisk notes in order of game)

Utah State +1.5 HFA (play in Albuquerque, used to altitude)

Georgia Southern +1 HFA (proximity)

USF +2 HFA (no travel)

BYU +4 HFA (familiarity; altitude)

Troy +1.5 HFA (minimal travel)

Hawaii +3 HFA (no travel)

Baylor +2.5 HFA (minimal travel)

Nevada +1 HFA (altitude)

Florida +1 HFA (proximity)

South Carolina +1 HFA (proximity)

Oregon +1 HFA (familiarity, proximity)

Offshores were a tad slow to these numbers. Caesars Palace in Las Vegas had bowl numbers up last night shortly after the matchups were announced. Credit to Matt Lindeman (@lindetrain) and the staff at Caesars for opening up the market. They’ve been doing great work.

We’ll have to see what the rest of the market posts throughout the day, but for now, here are some games to consider:

Eastern Michigan PK (-3.5) vs. Georgia Southern

Boise State -3.5 (-7) vs. Boston College

Georgia Tech -3.5 (-12) vs. Minnesota – Paul Johnson’s last game as HC

Baylor +5.5 (-3) vs. Vanderbilt

Syracuse +6.5 (-2) vs. West Virginia

Nevada +2.5 (-7) vs. Arkansas State

Pitt +6.5 (+1.5) vs. Stanford

Oregon -1.5 (-5) vs. Michigan State

Oklahoma State +10 (+5.5) vs. Missouri

UCF +7.5 (+4) vs. LSU

Again, I’m not overly surprised to see some big gaps in my numbers. My power ratings have been pretty efficient over the last few weeks with just some small edges, but when we start crossing over conferences and whatnot, the picture can get a little bit skewed. I like to trust my edges a lot come bowl season, but I definitely have to cross-check all of these games with coaching situations and any NFL Draft considerations. These are just the raw PR numbers with HFA where applicable.

On a personal note, thank you to all of the weekly readers of these power ratings. I hope you’ve gotten a better idea of how the process works and will take the chance to try your hand at making your own numbers for the 2019 season. Keep in mind that we’re only about six months away from Games of the Year lines and season win total odds.

Happy holidays and happy bowl season!

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Play Line: UTAH ST -7
BTB PowerLine: UTAH ST -19

Edge On: UTAH ST 12Bet Now
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(231) MINNESOTA @ (232) GEORGIA TECH | 5:15 pm 12/26/2018

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BTB PowerLine: GEORGIA TECH -12

Edge On: GEORGIA TECH 6Bet Now