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College Football Schedule, Week 1: Watchability Ratings for August 30, 2018


Photo credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured above: McKenzie Milton

  • College football fans often have trouble deciding which games on the schedule to watch, even on Thursday of Week 1.
  • So we built watchability ratings based on Vegas data to help you navigate each slate.
  • The model includes the spread, over/under, quality of each team and public betting data.

We get it. You’re an avid college football fan, and you like spreading bets across a variety of games. But then you plop down on your couch with a beer at noon to start your all-day binge, and you have remote anxiety. Should you watch Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech or Washington vs. Auburn? Or will the best game be between lower-level teams like Eastern Illinois vs. Arkansas?

Thankfully, here at The Action Network we have a solution to your conundrum. We have a wealth of Vegas data on our site, as well as proprietary metrics to measure how good teams are, and thus we can put some data behind which games should capture your attention. Remote anxiety, be gone.

Using four factors, we’ll rank each game on a watchability scale each week:

  1. The spread: A closer spread is better. Who cares about that 40-point blowout?
  2. The total: Maybe you’re a maniac and like watching 3-0 SEC slugfests, but let’s assume that high-scoring games are preferred.
  3. How good the teams are: Using our proprietary metric, we’ll give more weight to, ya know, the good teams.
  4. Public betting data: We have a ton of data on which teams the public is backing, so we’ll factor that in, too.

And there you have it. The Action Network weekly Watchability Ratings.

After a less-than-stellar Week Zero last Saturday, at least we have some decent FBS squads facing off against each other on Thursday night. So without further ado, your Thursday night Watchability Rankings…

1. Northwestern at Purdue

  • Purdue -1
  • Over/under: 53
  • 8 p.m. ET | ESPN

This game doesn’t have the highest total, but it features just a one-point spread and boasts solid teams on both sides. Further, it’s easily the most-bet game of the Thursday slate so far: We’re currently tracking 6,190 total bets as of Wednesday afternoon.

Northwestern is currently getting 59% of the bets, but Purdue is receiving 52% of the money. To track all betting percentages, check out our live odds page.

>> All odds as of 7 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time college football odds and track your bets

2. UCF at Connecticut

  • UCF -23.5
  • Over/under: 71
  • 7 p.m. ET | ESPNU

This game features a high total of 71 and definitely the most exciting player on the slate in UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton. The dual-threat, dynamic QB, who accounted for 45 total touchdowns last season, is currently 40-1 to win the Heisman, and he’ll want to hit the ground running after being denied a College Football Playoff berth last season despite a perfect record.

It’s a national TV game against a poor defense in UConn — that’s what we call appointment viewing.

3. Wake Forest at Tulane

  • Wake Forest -7
  • Over/under: 56.5
  • 8 p.m. ET | CBSSN

The guys from The Action Network Colleges Podcast are in love with Wake Forest wide receiver Greg Dortch, and it’s easy to understand why. The dude averaged over 90 yards a game as a freshman last season and finished second in the ACC in receiving touchdowns despite missing five games. One of the most dynamic players in the country, tune in solely for him.

4. UC Davis at San Jose State

  • San Jose State -3
  • Over/under: 69
  • 10 p.m. ET | No National TV

You might be wondering why this game ranks ahead of other games with stud teams like Texas A&M and Oklahoma State. It’s because it has the second-lowest spread of the night at just three points and features a high total to boot. Assuming you’re winning all of your bets from the 7 and 8 p.m. games, turn over to this high-scoring nightcap and pour yourself a drink.

5. Southeastern Louisiana at UL Monroe

  • UL Monroe -15.5
  • Over/under: 74
  • 8 p.m. ET | ESPN+

This game features the highest total of the night and a manageable spread (at least compared to the five-plus touchdown ones in other games). Also, it’s on ESPN+, which is home to our betting show, “I’ll Take That Bet.” What more do you need?

The Rest

6. New Mexico State at Minnesota (-21.5) | O/U: 45

7 p.m. ET | BTN

7. Missouri State at Oklahoma State (-37) | O/U: 73

8 p.m. ET | FS1

8. Central Connecticut at Ball State (-14) | O/U: 61.5

7 p.m. ET | ESPN+

9. Kennesaw State (-1.5) at Georgia State | O/U: 43

7 p.m. ET | ESPN+

10. Weber State at Utah (-23) | O/U: 48.5

8 p.m. ET | PAC12

11. Northwestern State at Texas A&M (-43.5) | O/U: 63.5

8 p.m. ET | SEC Network/WatchESPN

12. Savannah State at UAB (-34) | O/U: 54.5

8 p.m. ET | ESPN+

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