College football point spreads for select 2019 encounters went up on the board last week in Las Vegas. Even if you haven’t yet lifted a finger in preparation for the coming season, you can use those spreads to get a sense of how teams and conferences stack up against each other.
There are many blockbusters within the loaded Southeastern Conference once again this season. You can find the list here. It won’t be hard for any observer to build a relative “neutral field” scale showing how teams in that super-conference rate against each other. Factor in a standard three points for home field advantage and go from there.
Once you’ve finished the SEC, you can use posted spreads from early-season inter-conference matchups to create a national scale. Here’s a quick listing of SEC matchups against opponents from a few other “power five” conferences…
Florida (SEC) -7.5 vs. Miami (ACC) in Orlando; Auburn (SEC) -3 vs. Oregon (Pac 12) in Arlington, TX.; Texas A&M (SEC) plus 17.5 at Clemson (ACC); LSU (SEC) -2 at Texas (Big 12).
Once you have your SEC ratings set, you can make Miami from the Atlantic Coast Conference about 7.5 points worse than Florida. Then line up the rest of the ACC on the same scale based on early spreads in conference games. (It’s great when inter-conference games are played on neutral fields because you don’t have to worry about home-field advantage.) You can use that Texas A&M/Clemson game to make sure you’re on the right track. The Aggies are currently rated about 14 points worse than Clemson on a neutral field.
Then move to the Pac 12. Oregon looks to be a field goal worse than Auburn on a neutral field. Put Oregon on that scale, then fit the rest of the Pac 12 around the Ducks based on early point spreads for conference games out west.
Now, the Big 12. LSU is -2 at Texas in Austin, which would equate to about five points better on a neutral field. Put Texas five rungs lower than LSU on the big ladder, and fill in the rest of the Big 12 around the Horns.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any SEC/Big 10 games to study. Not a problem. Save the Big Ten for last. You can bring them in at the end knowing that Northwestern (Big Ten) is plus 6 at Stanford (Pac 12), and that Iowa (Big Ten) is pick-em on the road at Iowa State (Big 12).
Or you can go through Notre Dame. The Irish are an independent that plays an ACC heavy schedule. But they are also plus 9.5 at Georgia (SEC), plus 6 at Michigan (Big Ten), and -12.5 vs. USC (Pac 12) and -5.5 at Stanford (Pac 12). Once you’ve determined where Notre Dame goes, stick Michigan 3 points higher and stack the rest of the Big Ten around the Wolverines.
In sports betting, football is king. It’s never too early to prepare!