College Football Power Ratings Week 1

Date | AuthorAdam Burke

Last Updated: 2019-08-19

Well, here we go, boys and girls. The 2019 college football season kicks off on Saturday August 24 with two games and then things really get going the following Thursday. Some of these numbers have been beaten around with lines up since early June, but limits have been lower than the standard bet amounts and we’ve been waiting for position battles to be decided.

First, a refresher on how I set up my power ratings.

We still are waiting for a few position battles, but let’s be honest. If things aren’t decided yet, it’s hard to see any tangible power ratings impact from those final determinations. If the players are neck-and-neck this deep into camp, then we don’t need to make substantial adjustments to our valuations of the 130 FBS teams.

I’ve made a few changes from last month’s numbers. Fortunately, we’ve had a pretty light August for suspensions and injuries. I can’t remember a lead-up to the college football season with such a low number of impact injuries, which is a good thing in so many ways. Selfishly, it’s good for us because we don’t have to scramble to make changes, but it’s also good for these student-athletes that just want to be out there performing.

Hopefully I didn’t jinx it.

Here is a spreadsheet with an additional copy of my power ratings and all of my season win total numbers for 2019 based on projected spreads according to my PRs. I will be posting a win total best bets article this week.

Anyway, I’ll be posting my power ratings every Monday at BangTheBook.com for the college football season. Along with my power ratings, I will post my spreads for the upcoming week’s games. I’ll list the adjustments that I made (there will be a ton of them early in the season). Those adjustments are based on a number of factors, such as injury, box score study, and, most importantly, the closing line.

Even with 130 teams, the college football betting market is pretty efficient. Late in the season, something is probably wrong with your numbers if you are multiple points off of a spread. Early in the season, as bettors try to dig in a little bit and stand behind their positions, being off from the number isn’t as bad. Also, keep perception and recency biases in mind when making adjustments. If Oregon looks phenomenal against Auburn, Oregon prices will be high most, if not all, of the season. If Duke hangs within 10-14 points of Alabama, they’ll get a lot of respect for that and they may not deserve it long-term.

I’ll talk more about some of those specific scenarios after the Week 1 games are in the books.

Keep in mind that power ratings are not gospel. They are a guide. The hope would be that you can use your power ratings to get in front of the line movement and get a better number than you would later in the week or at close. You want the majority of games to move towards your number. If a game opens -6 and you have it -2, you are hoping to see underdog money early in the week. If a game opens -3 and you have -7, you are hoping to see favorite money.

Why? Because it will help to validate your views on the teams. It will also show the efficiency and accuracy of your power ratings. That doesn’t mean that you are wrong if the line moves against you, though you surely don’t want a lot of four-point differences moving against you. It means that there is a difference of opinion in the marketplace. At that point, you want to evaluate your numbers and decide if the problem is you, if the problem is somebody else, or if you want to just wait it out and see what happens.

Using power ratings to take initial positions can be a tremendous help to your bottom line, but you don’t have to restrict yourself to playing your power ratings overlays. Once you get your power ratings positions, let the handicap begin. Handicap scenarios. Situations. Matchups. Schematic advantages. Perceived coaching advantages. Against perception. With perception. Early in the week, your power ratings matter a lot. Later in the week, they matter less. Sure, if a line moves too far away from your personal spreads and you are getting value with key numbers, take it.

Finally, market entry is really important. And I’m going to leave this up for all of Week 1, so you can read back through these points again. If you are confident in a line moving towards your numbers, take it on Sunday night or Monday morning. If you aren’t confident, waiting is okay. Keep in mind that syndicates and market-movers will release their bets throughout the week. Some notable ones hit the market on Tuesday. Others hit the market on Thursday when limits increase. Others still will hit the market with their biggest bets of the week on Saturdays before the games, especially if they are waiting on injury intel.

You want to get in there when you can get the best possible number you can get. Everybody strokes themselves about getting the best number, but there will be times when only a handful of people get the absolute best number. Get the best number that you can. Don’t get stuck with the closing line. Don’t get stuck with a -7 when you could have had -6.5. Don’t take +6.5 if the line could go to +7. Have multiple sportsbooks at your disposal. Shop around for the best lines. If you have -11 and the line opened -6 but is now -7, take it. Don’t be upset that you missed the best of it. Trust your power ratings. It’s not 7.5 or 8. But it could be by closing, especially if the lines move towards your power ratings.

Alright, that’s a lot to handle, but you’ve got essentially two weeks to let it digest because I’m posting all of my Week 1 numbers.

One final quick note, once I post the power ratings article, I don’t change the numbers. That’s unfair to those that have already read and may not circle back. So it is your responsibility to check for injuries/suspensions that could affect a team’s power rating. We’ll usually talk about them on BangTheBook Radio. You can find me on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, or email me adam(at)bangthebook(dot)com.

Here is my 1 through 130 (a quick reminder of how I got my HFA values):

Rank Team Conference PR HFA
1 Clemson ACC 96.5 4
2 Alabama SEC 95.5 4.5
3 Georgia SEC 91 4
4 Ohio State Big Ten 89 4
5 Michigan Big Ten 89 4
6 Oklahoma Big 12 88 4
7 LSU SEC 87.5 3.5
8 Florida SEC 85.5 3.5
9 Michigan State Big Ten 85
10 Texas A&M SEC 84.5 3.5
11 Auburn SEC 84
12 Oregon Pac-12 83.5
13 Washington Pac-12 83 4
14 Penn State Big Ten 83 4
15 Notre Dame Independent 82.5 3.5
16 Wisconsin Big Ten 82.5 3.5
17 Utah Pac-12 81.5 3.5
18 Texas Big 12 81.5
19 Nebraska Big Ten 81 2.5
20 Iowa Big Ten 80 3.5
21 Missouri SEC 79.5 3.5
22 Mississippi State SEC 79.5 3.5
23 Iowa State Big 12 78.5
24 Washington State Pac-12 78 4
25 Florida State ACC 78
26 Miami FL ACC 78
27 Stanford Pac-12 77 3.5
28 USC Pac-12 77 3.5
29 UCF AAC 77 4
30 Virginia ACC 77
31 South Carolina SEC 76.5
32 Boise State Mountain West 76.5
33 Cincinnati AAC 76.5 2.5
34 Arizona Pac-12 76.5
35 Syracuse ACC 76.5
36 Virginia Tech ACC 76 3.5
37 Memphis AAC 76 4
38 TCU Big 12 76 2.5
39 Minnesota Big Ten 76
40 Baylor Big 12 75.5
41 Northwestern Big Ten 75
42 Tennessee SEC 74.5 2.5
43 Arizona State Pac-12 74.5 4
44 Purdue Big Ten 74 2.5
45 UCLA Pac-12 74 2.5
46 Oklahoma State Big 12 74 3.5
47 Appalachian State Sun Belt 73.5 3.5
48 Indiana Big Ten 73.5 2.5
49 BYU Independent 72.5 2.5
50 Texas Tech Big 12 72
51 Ole Miss SEC 72 2.5
52 Kentucky SEC 71.5
53 NC State ACC 71
54 Boston College ACC 71
55 Wake Forest ACC 71 2.5
56 Pitt ACC 70.5 3.5
57 Arkansas SEC 70
58 Utah State Mountain West 70 3.5
59 West Virginia Big 12 70 3.5
60 California Pac-12 70
61 Kansas State Big 12 69.5
62 Southern Miss Conference USA 69.5
63 Houston AAC 69 3.5
64 Fresno State Mountain West 69 4
65 San Diego State Mountain West 69
66 Maryland Big Ten 69
67 Vanderbilt SEC 68.5
68 Army Independent 68.5 4
69 FIU Conference USA 68
70 Duke ACC 67.5
71 UNC ACC 67 2.5
72 Colorado Pac-12 67
73 Marshall Conference USA 66.5 2.5
74 Troy Sun Belt 66.5 3.5
75 Temple AAC 65.5 3.5
76 Ohio MAC 65 3.5
77 Western Michigan MAC 65 3.5
78 Air Force Mountain West 65
79 North Texas Conference USA 64 3.5
80 Toledo MAC 64 3.5
81 FAU Conference USA 63.5
82 SMU AAC 63.5
83 USF AAC 63.5
84 Georgia Tech ACC 63 3.5
85 Louisiana Tech Conference USA 63
86 Tulane AAC 63
87 Illinois Big Ten 62.5 2
88 Hawaii Mountain West 62.5 2.5
89 Georgia Southern Sun Belt 62.5
90 Northern Illinois MAC 62
91 Louisville ACC 61.5
92 Nevada Mountain West 61.5
93 Arkansas State Sun Belt 60.5 3.5
94 Louisiana Sun Belt 60.5
95 Oregon State Pac-12 59.5 2
96 Wyoming Mountain West 59.5 4
97 Rutgers Big Ten 59 2.5
98 UAB Conference USA 59 3.5
99 Buffalo MAC 58.5 3.5
100 Tulsa AAC 58.5
101 Miami OH MAC 58
102 Middle Tenn Conference USA 58 3.5
103 Eastern Michigan MAC 57
104 Kansas Big 12 56.5 2.5
105 East Carolina AAC 56 2.5
106 UNLV Mountain West 56 2.5
107 Western Kentucky Conference USA 55.5
108 Navy AAC 55 3.5
109 Ball State MAC 54.5 2
110 Louisiana Monroe Sun Belt 54 2.5
111 Colorado State Mountain West 53
112 Liberty Independent 53
113 Kent State MAC 52.5 2
114 Charlotte Conference USA 52.5 2.5
115 Texas State Sun Belt 51 2
116 Coastal Carolina Sun Belt 50.5 2.5
117 San Jose State Mountain West 49.5 2.5
118 New Mexico Mountain West 49 2
119 Old Dominion Conference USA 48.5 3.5
120 Georgia State Sun Belt 48.5 2
121 Central Michigan MAC 48 2.5
122 UTSA Conference USA 48 2.5
123 Rice Conference USA 47.5 2
124 New Mexico State Independent 47
125 Bowling Green MAC 47 2
126 Akron MAC 47 2
127 South Alabama Sun Belt 45.5
128 UMass Independent 44.5 2.5
129 UConn AAC 43.5 2
130 UTEP Conference USA 43 2

Here are the adjustments from July:

Up: Missouri +2.5, Kentucky +1.5, Ball State +1.5, Rice +2, UTSA +1, South Alabama +1, UMass +2, NM State +1, Akron +1, Bowling Green +0.5

Down: Army -2, Toledo -1.5, Iowa -1.5, Fresno State -1.5

For the most part, I liked where my power ratings were. I did some comparisons to Week 1 and some numbers for later in the season and felt comfortable with a lot of my team numbers. Missouri was the biggest adjustment up and Army was the biggest adjustment down. I also made some adjustments to the bottom of the barrel teams, as it was clear that my numbers were a bit too low on those teams relative to the market.

Here are my Week 1 spreads:

Date Away Home My Line
8/24 Florida Miami (N – Orlando; 0) +7.5
Arizona Hawaii +11
8/29 UCLA Cincinnati -5
Georgia Tech Clemson -37.5
FIU Tulane +2
Texas State Texas A&M -37
Kent State Arizona State -26
Utah BYU +6.5
8/30 Rice Army -25
Utah State Wake Forest -3.5
Wisconsin South Florida +16
Tulsa Michigan State -29.5
UMass Rutgers -17
Colorado State Colorado (N – Denver; 0) -14
Purdue Nevada +9.5
Oklahoma State Oregon State +12.5
8/31 FAU Ohio State -29.5
South Alabama Nebraska -38
East Carolina NC State -18
Akron Illinois -18.5
Ball State Indiana (N – Indy; 1) -20
Toledo Kentucky -10.5
Miss State Louisiana (N Orleans; 0) +19
Ole Miss Memphis -8
Georgia State Tennessee -28.5
Eastern Michigan Coastal Carolina +4
South Carolina North Carolina (Char 0) +9.5
Duke Alabama (N – Atlanta; 3) -31
Northwestern Stanford -5.5
Virginia Tech Boston College +2
Syracuse Liberty +20.5
Boise State Florida State (J’ville; 2.5) -4
SMU Arkansas State -0.5
MTSU Michigan -35
Miami OH Iowa -25.5
Georgia Southern LSU -28.5
Georgia Vanderbilt +19.5
Virginia Pitt +3
Missouri Wyoming +16
Oregon Auburn (Arlington; 0) -0.5
Louisiana Tech Texas -21.5
New Mexico State Washington State -34.5
Fresno State USC -11.5
9/1 Houston Oklahoma -23
9/2 Notre Dame Louisville +18

You’ll notice that I did add some HFA to certain neutral-site games. This was a largely arbitrary process. Florida State playing in the heat and humidity of Jacksonville against Boise State was worth 2.5 points in my estimation. Alabama playing in Atlanta, a site they are very familiar with, was worth a field goal, as they’ll also have a big crowd edge. I gave Indiana one point in Indianapolis, where the Hoosiers should have more representation than Ball State.

It’s hard to consider anything a power ratings play in Week 1 because these lines have been up for so long, but we will still see a lot of movement with game week limits on the rise. I’m looking for a bigger overlay early in the season when there is less certainty in the markets.

So, here are some plays that are worth considering relative to the market lines:

Michigan State (-29.5) -22.5 vs. Tulsa

Iowa (-25.5) -21.5 vs. Miami OH

Oregon State (+12.5) +16.5 vs. Oklahoma State

That’s really about it as far as big overlays. This is a week about handicapping the unknowns. How new coaches will react. How new coordinators will do. First-time starting QBs. Spot plays. Teams in cooler-weather cities going to warm-weather ones. Long travel. Lots of nuts and bolts. We’ll have a lot more power ratings plays for Week 2 as adjustments get made in the market.

For example, late in the season, I’d probably play Memphis over Ole Miss, since I have -8, the number is -6, and there is a very key number in between. In Week 1, however, it is just a two-point overlay in an uncertain market. Even Oregon State is dicey against the Magic Mullet with a four-point gap and no real key numbers.

While I do anticipate (and hope) to have a good season, I also post these for educational purposes. That has always been the goal of our work at BangTheBook.com. I want to help readers and listeners get to a point where they can do things like this for themselves. If you ever have questions, contact methods are listed above.

Good luck this season!

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Power LinesView all

(145) RICE @ (146) ARMY | 6:00 pm 8/30/2019

Play Line: ARMY -23.5
BTB PowerLine: ARMY -34

Edge On: ARMY 10.5Bet Now
(165) E CAROLINA @ (166) NC STATE | 12:00 pm 8/31/2019

Play Line: NC STATE -16.5
BTB PowerLine: NC STATE -33

Edge On: NC STATE 16.5Bet Now
(167) AKRON @ (168) ILLINOIS | 12:00 pm 8/31/2019

Play Line: AKRON 16.5
BTB PowerLine: AKRON +6

Edge On: AKRON 10.5Bet Now