Wilson: My Projected Odds for College Football’s Conference Championship Weekend

Wilson: My Projected Odds for College Football’s Conference Championship Weekend article feature image
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Kent Gidley/Collegiate Images/Getty Images. Pictured: Alabama Crimson Tide star running back Najee Harris, center, carries the ball against Arkansas.

Conference Championship time represents the 17th consecutive week of the college football season.

What started out as a wild August game between Central Arkansas and Austin Peay will conclude with the SEC Championship. Alabama finished the SEC schedule with the first-ever 10-0 record after a dismantling Arkansas. The Crimson Tide will face Florida, which allowed a shoe to determine the outcome  in its showdown against LSU.

The Gators lost to the Tigers after an unsportsmanlike penalty for throwing a shoe and a Cade York 57-yard field goal bomb. Florida could still make its way into the playoff with a victory over Alabama and some help, but it’s worth noting the committee has never taken a two-loss team.

Ohio State won the Big Ten as a 2-loss team and still lost a bid for the playoff to a one-loss, at-large Crimson Tide in 2018.

In other action, Coastal Carolina dodged Troy to stay undefeated. USC stayed unbeaten despite UCLA dominating in the box score. Conference championships are set, although locations for the Mountain West and Pac-12 finales are yet to be determined.

Conference USA will pit UAB and Marshall, which have not played each other since 2014.

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The College Football Playoff rankings may see jockeying that includes Iowa State sliding into the sixth spot. Florida should remain above Georgia, but the placement of undefeated Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina will have plenty of implications on the New Years Six bowls.

Expect the new College Football Playoff rankings to shed more light on Florida’s drop and the Pac-12’s chances with USC still undefeated.

Every Sunday, The Action Network publishes updated Power Ratings — now including all 127 teams playing FBS football this fall. Our current College Football Playoff rankings would include Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame and Ohio State.

Look here to identify early betting value when opening lines are released, and follow me in The Action Network App to see when I bet those lines on Sunday afternoon.

Here are the projections for Week 16:

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Check out our new NCAAF PRO Report, where we highlight factors that provide betting edges — like large wagers, historically profitable betting systems, model projections and expert picks — that when combined with sharp money can powerfully detail the smartest bets on a given slate.


Projected College Football Odds, Week 16

A negative number indicates the home team is favored by that many points; a positive number means the home team is an underdog.


Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.


Week 16 Injury Report

  • Alabama linebacker Christian Harris is questionable with a shoulder injury. His status for the SEC Championship is unknown.
  • Florida tight end Kyle Pitts missed the LSU game for unannounced reasons. His status for the SEC Championship game is unknown.
  • UAB running back Spencer Brown sat out the last game due to an undefined ailment. His status for the Conference USA championship game against Marshall is unknown.

Terms to Know

Postgame Win Expectancy is a calculation of all variables in a box score that dictate who would win the game if it was played a high number of times. Turnover luck, success rate and yards per play are notable components of this calculation and can influence a single game. But over a large sample, the team that moved the ball better would win more often than not.

There have been plenty of box scores in which a team wins as an underdog, but a negative value is applied to that team’s power rating because the result was fluky rather than systematic.

Coach scheme changes can adjust a power rating quickly. For example, Oregon will undergo a change from Marcus Arroyo’s conservative play-calling to new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s system. Moorhead’s offense features a heavy dose of 11 personnel, west coast spread concepts and modern RPOs.

That offensive philosophy has led to more explosiveness and higher rates of success on standard downs at each of Moorhead’s previous stops at Penn State and Mississippi State. In a situation like this, a power rating can be useful to quickly adjust a team’s forecast for future games. In the case of Mike Leach, an adjustment of totals is coming with an increase in plays per game.

Success Rate, Finishing Drives and Explosiveness were first defined in Bill Connelly’s Five Factors and are strong indicators for future box scores. While EPA (Expected Points Added) and IsoPPP (Isolated Points Per Play) can be highly variable from season to season, Success Rate is a stable data point for handicappers to use for projections.

Simply put, if a team consistently achieves the desired amount of yards — determined by down and distance — then this is a “play-on” team with your bankroll. Texas A&M ranked 17th in offensive success rate last season and returns 80% of its offensive production for 2020; that combination makes the Aggies a play-on team.