The Action Network College Football Power Ratings
Power ratings are vital for any oddsmaker or handicapper wanting to grasp the value of a team. Once a wager is treated as a stock, and not as an emotional decision, your odds of being successful will increase greatly.
Many people ask how I make my power ratings, and what variables compose the overall number. There are lots of metrics, and two different methods of adjusting power ratings — offseason and in-season.
Before we dive into what makes a team’s number and how we adjust it, here are The Action Network’s College Football Power Rating for all 130 FBS teams:
You may feel like your team is undervalued in these ratings, but to an oddsmaker, each entry is objective. A power rating can be based on things like coaching, recruiting and player development.
A mathematical approach can also be applied when taking net turnover differential, Pythagorean projection, returning production and explosiveness into account. A power rating will increase or decrease during the season from a results-based matchup.
When adjusting a power rating in the offseason, you must first look at the past three to five years to know if the team deviated from the mean. Notre Dame’s 4-8 record in 2016 was an anomaly, and I adjusted the Irish in a favorable way entering 2017.
Plenty of people use returning starters as a base for adjustment, but returning production is a better way to look at it. It accounts for everything from the offensive line starts to catches to number of tackles defensively.
Net turnovers are similar to the advanced stat turnover luck, as a team is expected to regress back to zero.
Finally, coaching plays a big part in power ratings in the offseason. A defensive coordinator who ranks highly in havoc each season will bump a team in the positive direction. Once these power rating adjustments are complete, I assign a win probability to each game, and that creates a projected win total for the season.
Once games kick off, in-season adjustments will come in the form of injuries, situational spots, box score results and the closing line. Yes, the closing line of the game is paramount when evaluating the opening line or any steam that happened during the week. As limits increase later in the week, the closing number is how you grade the game.
The goal of adjusting the power ratings of both teams is to meet the closing line, with a small adjustment for the result of the game. Following those rules will give you a good base at creating the point spreads before the books do on Sunday afternoons.