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College Football: Team Power Ratings for Bowl Games

Power Ratings and NCAAF Philosophy

There are at least a half-dozen factors that separate college football handicapping from NFL handicapping. For starters, action on college football is much more likely to come from sophisticated bettors, known as "sharps" or "wiseguys," who often possess some insight or kernel of information that may provide them with an edge against the house. Experienced handicappers know not to treat heavy activity on an obscure game, as casually as they might deal with increased wagering interest on a marquee NFL game. For that reason, bookmakers usually move college football lines quickly, often one full point at a time. In general, it takes more money to move an NFL betting line, and when it is moved, usually it is by only half a point.

While number crunching via power ratings are a must, detailed analysis is always an essential tool for college football handicapping. There is a certain degree of "art" which compliments the "science". The successful handicapper understands that subjective analysis of a number of other factors which follows should also be considered before making a play.

Key Numbers: Largely because of a lack of proficiency in the kicking game, key numbers such as 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 13 and 14 are not nearly as sacrosanct in college football betting as they are in the NFL. College football games just do not fall on those numbers as often as they do in NFL games.

Blowouts: We may never again see a three-touchdown favorite in the NFL but lines of -30, -40, or even -50 are not that uncommon in the college gridiron game. Oddsmakers and bookmakers also find college totals more difficult to gauge because some coaches try to impress those who have a vote in the polls by running up the score. Other coaches feel that a third-string player's reward for practicing all week is to get to play in a blowout. It's just these types of unique uncertainties that compel bookmakers to shift college "O/U" numbers more quickly than they move NFL totals.

Personnel: It's also the nature of college football that personnel change every year. This makes early season evaluation more difficult and leads bet takers to move lines and totals more quickly, especially in September and early October when the season is still young. There is personnel movement in the NFL too, of course, but mostly it involves players of established ability moving from team to team. In college football, you're always dealing with fresh faces.

Injuries: By collective bargaining agreement, each week, the NFL publishes a comprehensive list of injured players and their status. Sure, there are mistakes and abuses and players who have been listed as "doubtful" have played while those regarded as "probable" have not but overall, the list is accurate. On the other hand, colleges are under no obligation to announce the status of injured or disciplined football players. This vagueness over availability sometimes can create opportunities in college football handicapping.

The key element is that bookmakers can more accurately predict the public inclination for an NFL game than they can for a college football game. Clearly, understanding the differences between college football handicapping and NFL handicapping is essential to winning.

Power Ratings: True Power Ratings are purely objective and a deadly weapon in any handicapper's arsenal. They are the key to every aspect of statistical analysis. No emotion or bias is involved. PR calculations must be very responsive or they become old news before you get a chance to use them. Our PR method allows us to judge, with pin point accuracy the relative strengths of teams in any given sports event. PR's are an exceptional handicapping tool and should be utilized with many other handicapping tools such as trend, statistical and fundamental analysis. Our first step is to obtain a total Offensive/Defensive index along with each teams strength of opposition (SOS). We then logarithmically increment or front-load our PR's to reflect each teams recent performance. We use linear regression analysis to calculate and integrate all this information into an overall power rating. Our aim is to obtain winners via Power Ratings and using other tools contained in our Prophet Zone software package to confirm, rather than just rely on teams via an RPI or BCS rating system. If you like our approach but don't have the time or energy, you can always purchase our sports handicapping software or you can subscribe to our premium sports advisory service and get that winning edge over the uninformed handicapper.

To make predictions for scheduled upcoming games, simply compare the Home Team's Power Rating to that of the Away Team's Power Rating and add 3 points for the home team advantage. Thus, for example, a HOME team with a rating of 110.7 would be favored by 17.2 points, 110.7 + 3 = 113.7 over a VISITING team having a rating of 96.5. Or a VISITING team with a rating of 91.0 would be favored by 5 points over a HOME team having a rating of 83.0, 83.0 + 3 = 86.0. Our preference is the Overall Power Rating + 3 for HFA. Use the Home/Away Power Ratings to confirm the Overall PR. Make sure there is at least a 2 point overlay.

Team Name

Final H PR

Final A PR

Final Overall PR

AIR FORCE

107.5

103.5

105.5

AKRON

85.5

92.5

89.0

ALABAMA

130.0

128.0

129.0

ARIZONA

91.5

77.5

84.5

ARIZONA STATE

95.5

88.5

92.0

ARKANSAS

99.5

98.5

98.5

ARKANSAS STATE

91.5

97.0

94.5

ARMY

83.5

105.0

94.5

AUBURN

113.5

111.5

112.5

BALL STATE

87.5

99.5

93.5

BAYLOR

100.5

103.5

102.5

BOISE STATE

101.5

117.5

109.5

BOSTON COLLEGE

87.5

89.0

88.5

BOWLING GREEN

91.5

81.5

86.5

BUFFALO

92.0

76.5

84.5

BYU

100.5

104.5

102.5

CALIFORNIA

100.5

100.5

100.5

CENTRAL FLORIDA

102.5

105.5

104.0

CENTRAL MICHIGAN

97.5

96.5

96.5

CINCINNATI

87.5

94.5

91.0

CLEMSON

115.5

125.5

120.5

COLORADO

115.5

108.5

112.0

COLORADO STATE

97.5

108.5

103.0

CONNECTICUT

87.0

79.5

83.5

DUKE

95.5

96.5

96.0

EAST CAROLINA

89.5

88.5

89.0

EASTERN MICHIGAN

92.5

96.0

94.0

FLORIDA

107.5

100.0

103.5

FLORIDA ATLANTIC

88.5

86.5

87.5

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL

80.5

106.5

93.5

FLORIDA STATE

109.5

108.5

109.0

FRESNO STATE

89.0

80.0

84.5

GEORGIA

100.0

100.0

100.0

GEORGIA TECH

100.5

102.0

101.0

HAWAII

88.0

87.5

87.5

HOUSTON

113.5

93.5

103.5

IDAHO

88.5

87.5

88.0

ILLINOIS

87.0

90.0

88.5

INDIANA

92.0

104.5

98.5

IOWA

113.5

98.5

106.0

IOWA STATE

104.5

85.5

95.0

KANSAS

90.5

76.5

83.5

KANSAS STATE

103.5

109.0

106.5

KENT STATE

95.5

95.5

95.5

KENTUCKY

93.5

104.5

99.0

LOUISIANA TECH

110.5

102.0

106.5

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE

85.5

96.5

91.0

LOUISIANA-MONROE

77.5

72.0

74.5

LOUISVILLE

117.0

113.5

115.0

LSU

108.5

119.5

114.0

MARSHALL

91.5

84.0

87.5

MARYLAND

91.5

97.5

94.5

MEMPHIS

106.5

101.0

103.5

MIAMI

108.5

109.5

109.0

MIAMI (OHIO)

100.5

93.5

97.0

MICHIGAN

128.0

126.5

127.5

MICHIGAN STATE

101.5

92.5

97.0

MIDDLE TENNESSEE

107.5

98.5

103.0

MINNESOTA

97.5

110.5

104.0

MISSISSIPPI

105.5

97.5

101.5

MISSISSIPPI STATE

94.5

106.5

100.5

MISSOURI

99.0

85.5

92.0

NAVY

99.5

108.5

103.5

NEBRASKA

106.5

98.0

102.5

NEVADA

86.5

89.5

88.0

NEW MEXICO

100.0

92.5

96.5

NEW MEXICO STATE

102.5

75.5

89.0

NORTH CAROLINA

93.5

109.5

101.5

NORTH CAROLINA STATE

95.5

97.5

96.5

NORTH TEXAS

91.5

88.5

90.0

NORTHERN ILLINOIS

99.0

97.5

98.5

NORTHWESTERN

99.5

112.5

106.0

NOTRE DAME

105.5

99.0

102.5

OHIO

95.5

103.5

99.5

OHIO STATE

129.0

127.5

128.0

OKLAHOMA

113.0

112.5

112.5

OKLAHOMA STATE

101.5

110.5

106.5

OREGON

91.5

101.5

96.5

OREGON STATE

99.0

93.5

96.5

PENN STATE

117.5

110.5

113.5

PITTSBURGH

106.5

102.5

104.5

PURDUE

83.5

87.5

85.5

RICE

80.5

83.5

81.5

RUTGERS

78.5

80.5

79.5

SAN DIEGO STATE

104.5

116.5

110.5

SAN JOSE STATE

89.5

87.5

88.5

SOUTH CAROLINA

88.5

93.5

91.0

SOUTH FLORIDA

105.5

105.5

105.5

SOUTHERN CAL

110.5

111.0

111.0

SOUTHERN METHODIST

88.0

99.5

94.0

SOUTHERN MISS

94.5

99.0

96.5

STANFORD

98.5

110.0

104.5

SYRACUSE

85.5

89.0

87.0

TCU

90.0

110.5

100.5

TEMPLE

111.5

113.5

112.5

TENNESSEE

104.0

100.5

102.5

TEXAS

103.0

96.5

100.0

TEXAS A&M

102.0

112.5

107.5

TEXAS EL PASO

86.0

87.5

86.5

TEXAS TECH

100.5

90.5

95.5

TOLEDO

101.5

113.5

107.5

TROY

89.5

101.5

95.5

TULANE

96.5

97.0

96.5

TULSA

105.0

110.5

107.5

UAB

97.0

103.5

100.0

UCLA

94.5

101.5

98.5

UNLV

83.5

88.5

86.0

UTAH

100.5

110.5

105.5

UTAH STATE

95.5

92.0

93.5

VANDERBILT

101.5

96.5

99.0

VIRGINIA

94.5

89.0

91.5

VIRGINIA TECH

116.5

101.0

108.5

WAKE FOREST

94.0

97.5

95.5

WASHINGTON

114.5

127.5

121.0

WASHINGTON STATE

116.0

111.5

113.5

WEST VIRGINIA

102.0

117.5

110.0

WESTERN MICHIGAN

114.0

115.5

114.5

WISCONSIN

115.5

117.0

116.5

WYOMING

111.5

98.5

105.0

 

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