Week 0 college football power ratings and game spreads

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

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Our long wait is over! The 2022 college football season has arrived and brings with it seven FBS vs. FBS matchups in “Week 0”. In total, we get 11 games this week, as four teams will play those “paycheck” games against FCS schools that need to fill the athletic department coffers. Early-season games can certainly be sloppy and a bit crazy, but we have football back and that’s what matters.

For the last several seasons, I’ve put together my own set of college football power ratings. I outlined my process last month in the College Football Betting Guide (subscribe if you haven’t gotten it) and followed that up with how I came up with my home-field advantage values for this season. I’d recommend referring to those two free articles before reading on.

Power ratings have the most value early in the week. Handicapping techniques have more value late in the week - weather, spots, matchup advantages, etc. Power ratings are designed to help you try and beat the market by making good bets with closing line value (CLV). The best indicator of future success in any market is to get the best number you can relative to the closing number. If you can get -6, but wait and then take -7.5 later in the week, that’s not the way to approach this. While -7.5 may still win, there will be times when the game lands 7 and you turned a winner into a loser by not betting early in anticipation of a line move.

As a result, the mark of a good set of power ratings is to have more market lines move towards your spread than away from it. If that doesn’t happen, that’s when bigger adjustments to the teams need to be made.

My goal is for this exercise to provide an educational and informational tool. This is to show those who want to create their own spreads one way to do it and also a way of helping bettors to not overreact as the season goes along. Power ratings serve as a system of checks and balances if updated properly and will keep you grounded with your opinions. I certainly hope we can get some good numbers and winning bets as well.

For now, here is my 1 through 131 list of Week 0 Power Ratings:

Rank

Team

Conference

PR

HFA

1

Alabama

SEC

98.5

3.5

2

Ohio State

Big Ten

97.5

3.5

3

Georgia

SEC

95.5

3.5

4

Michigan

Big Ten

88

3

5

Clemson

ACC

87.5

3.5

6

Texas A&M

SEC

86

3.5

7

Utah

Pac-12

85

3.5

8

Oklahoma

Big 12

85

3.5

9

Notre Dame

Independent

84

3.5

10

Miami (FL)

ACC

83.5

2.5

11

Wisconsin

Big Ten

82.5

2

12

Tennessee

SEC

82.5

2.5

13

NC State

ACC

82

3

14

Penn State

Big Ten

82

2.5

15

Texas

Big 12

81.5

2

16

Michigan State

Big Ten

81.5

2

17

Oklahoma State

Big 12

81

2

18

Oregon

Pac-12

81

3

19

Ole Miss

SEC

81

3

20

Arkansas

SEC

81

3.5

21

BYU

Independent

80

2

22

Pitt

ACC

80

2

23

Baylor

Big 12

80

2

24

Mississippi State

SEC

80

2.5

25

Cincinnati

AAC

79.5

3.5

26

USC

Pac-12

79.5

2

27

Kentucky

SEC

78.5

2

28

Iowa

Big Ten

78

3

29

Florida

SEC

78

3

30

Auburn

SEC

78

3

31

LSU

SEC

78

2.5

32

UCLA

Pac-12

77

2

33

Kansas State

Big 12

76.5

2

34

Minnesota

Big Ten

76

2

35

Nebraska

Big Ten

76

1.5

36

UCF

AAC

75.5

3.5

37

Louisville

ACC

75.5

2

38

Houston

AAC

74.5

2

39

Florida State

ACC

74.5

2

40

Fresno State

Mountain West

74

2.5

41

Oregon State

Pac-12

74

2

42

Purdue

Big Ten

74

2

43

South Carolina

SEC

74

2

44

Air Force

Mountain West

73.5

2.5

45

Boise State

Mountain West

73.5

2.5

46

TCU

Big 12

73.5

2

47

Iowa State

Big 12

73

2.5

48

Maryland

Big Ten

73

2

49

North Carolina

ACC

72.5

2

50

Washington

Pac-12

72

2

51

Appalachian State

Sun Belt

71.5

3.5

52

Wake Forest

ACC

71

2.5

53

Boston College

ACC

71

2

54

SMU

AAC

70.5

3.5

55

Virginia

ACC

70

3

56

Illinois

Big Ten

69

1.5

57

Missouri

SEC

69

2.5

58

Texas Tech

Big 12

69

2

59

Arizona State

Pac-12

68.5

2.5

60

West Virginia

Big 12

68.5

2.5

61

Coastal Carolina

Sun Belt

68

2

62

UTSA

Conference USA

68

2

63

San Diego State

Mountain West

68

2

64

UAB

Conference USA

68

3.5

65

Liberty

Independent

68

3.5

66

California

Pac-12

68

2

67

Stanford

Pac-12

68

2

68

Army

Independent

67.5

3

69

East Carolina

AAC

67.5

1.5

70

Virginia Tech

ACC

67.5

2

71

Memphis

AAC

67

3.5

72

Marshall

Sun Belt

67

2

73

Indiana

Big Ten

67

2

74

Utah State

Mountain West

67

2

75

Georgia State

Sun Belt

66.5

2

76

Syracuse

ACC

66.5

2

77

Toledo

MAC

66

2.5

78

Washington State

Pac-12

66

3

79

Western Kentucky

Conference USA

65.5

2

80

Tulsa

AAC

65.5

2

81

Louisiana

Sun Belt

65

3

82

Northwestern

Big Ten

65

2

83

Arizona

Pac-12

64.5

2

84

Rutgers

Big Ten

64

1.5

85

Central Michigan

MAC

63.5

2.5

86

Tulane

AAC

63.5

3

87

Troy

Sun Belt

62

2

88

South Florida

AAC

62

2

89

Georgia Tech

ACC

61

2

90

Northern Illinois

MAC

61

2

91

San Jose State

Mountain West

61

2

92

Miami (OH)

MAC

60.5

3

93

Florida Atlantic

Conference USA

60

3

94

Western Michigan

MAC

60

2

95

Colorado State

Mountain West

60

1.5

96

Old Dominion

Sun Belt

60

2

97

Colorado

Pac-12

60

2

98

UTEP

Conference USA

58.5

1

99

Middle Tennessee

Conference USA

58.5

2.5

100

South Alabama

Sun Belt

58

2

101

North Texas

Conference USA

58

2

102

Kansas

Big 12

58

1

103

Navy

AAC

57.5

2

104

Wyoming

Mountain West

57

2.5

105

James Madison

Sun Belt

57

2

106

Eastern Michigan

MAC

56.5

2

107

Louisiana Tech

Conference USA

56.5

2

108

Southern Miss

Sun Belt

56

2

109

Kent State

MAC

55.5

2.5

110

Buffalo

MAC

55

3.5

111

Charlotte

Conference USA

55

2

112

Vanderbilt

SEC

55

1

113

Bowling Green

MAC

54.5

1

114

Ohio

MAC

54

2

115

Nevada

Mountain West

53.5

3

116

UNLV

Mountain West

52.5

1

117

Duke

ACC

52.5

2

118

Ball State

MAC

52

2

119

Georgia Southern

Sun Belt

52

2.5

120

Texas State

Sun Belt

51

1.5

121

New Mexico

Mountain West

50

1

122

Rice

Conference USA

50

1

123

Arkansas State

Sun Belt

49.5

2

124

Temple

AAC

49.5

2

125

Hawaii

Mountain West

49

2

126

Louisiana-Monroe

Sun Belt

49

2

127

Akron

MAC

46.5

1

128

UConn

Independent

44.5

1

129

UMass

Independent

44

1.5

130

New Mexico State

Independent

43.5

2

131

FIU

Conference USA

43

2

Here are my Week 0 spreads and the consensus spreads for the FBS vs. FBS games (I don’t power-rate FCS teams; listed by Rotation Number):

Northwestern vs. Nebraska (-11) (Dublin, Ireland) (consensus -13)

Charlotte at FAU (-8) (consensus -7.5)

Nevada (-8) at New Mexico State (consensus -9)

UConn at Utah State (-24.5) (consensus -28)

North Texas at UTEP (-1.5) (consensus UNT -1)

Wyoming at Illinois (-13.5) (consensus -10)

Vanderbilt (-4) at Hawaii (consensus -6.5)

Week 0 and Week 1 lines have been up for a long time, so they’ve largely been molded into shape, though big bets will come in as limits are increased and we’ll see where a lot of bettors and groups stand. I won’t list the consensus lines every week, but will with the limited number of games so that you can see how my lines compare with the market lines.

How do I get these numbers? I take the higher power rating, subtract the lower power rating and apply home-field advantage. So, in the case of Charlotte vs. FAU, my power rating for Charlotte is 55 and my power rating for FAU is 60. My home-field advantage for FAU is 3 points. 60-55 is 5 and then add 3 to get 8.

For Northwestern vs. Nebraska, because it is a neutral-site game, I just use my power rating for each team, which is 76 for Nebraska and 65 for Northwestern.

This is a raw number. This does not factor things like situational spots or weather into account. Also, you’d want to think about a game with a low total a bit differently. For example, my Wyoming vs. Illinois line is -13.5, but the total in that game is just 44. It’s generally harder to win by margin in a low-scoring environment. Therefore, a line like -10 may simply make more sense. I’d be less inclined to wager on a big spread when there’s a difference between my number and the market number because of a low total. That being said, Illinois is one of the teams I’m purposely a little high on in the market because I think they’ll be improved this season.

Just because my lines are close to the market lines doesn’t mean I won’t bet those games. It just means I won’t bet them based on my power ratings. I’ll do my due diligence with other handicapping methods throughout the week to see if I like a side, while still keeping my personal spread in mind.

Power ratings are a living organism. They are always in a state of flux and will be adjusted based on several factors. Next week, I’ll write about the process I use to update my power ratings because we need games - a.k.a data points - to be able to adjust teams up and down based on the results, injuries and the closing lines in the market.

Throughout the season, you can email me aburke@vsin dot com or hit me up on Twitter, @SkatingTripods, to ask any questions you may have about this process (or anything else CFB-related) and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.

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