Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 14 College Football Game

Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 14 College Football Game article feature image
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Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Michigan State’s Nick Samac, center, hoists teammate Jayden Reed in the air after a touchdown during Saturday’s game.

The first set of College Football Playoff rankings were released this past week, highlighted by the top four of Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Clemson.

Plenty of teams are looking to slip into the semifinal round, but if there is a betting deliverable from Week 13, it’s that a case for Cincinnati has dramatically improved.

As for the Big Ten, Thanksgiving weekend did not go well in terms of playoff projections.

If either of Ohio State’s remaining two games – Dec. 5 at Michigan State & Dec. 12 vs. Michigan – are canceled, Buckeyes would be ineligible for Big Ten title game, but ironically could still be chosen for @CFBPlayoff berth

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) November 28, 2020

Ohio State is presumed to face Northwestern from the West division, but a Wildcats loss to Michigan State put a damper on the conference’s chances of making the Rose Bowl or Sugar Bowl semifinals.

Northwestern allowed 15 points on four turnovers in the loss to the Spartans. The bigger question remains is if the committee will take the Buckeyes in the playoff if there is a total record of 5-0 on the season.

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Notre Dame had the most impressive game of any team in the national-championship hunt. Tied at halftime, the Irish shut down the Sam Howell-led explosive offense of North Carolina. The Tar Heels posted a 7% success rate in passing downs in the second half, with five punts and just four first downs.

Only Syracuse and Wake Forest are left on the Notre Dame schedule before a projected rematch with Clemson.

The Pac-12’s hopes of making the playoff might have ended with Oregon’s loss to in-state rival Oregon State. Running back Jermar Jefferson finished with 226 yards and two touchdowns against a Ducks defense that has ranked outside the top 100 versus opponent explosiveness.

82 yards, and just like that we are all tied up!

Watch live: https://t.co/CoJyCVACva#GoBeavs pic.twitter.com/k3AYdKwCiA

— Oregon State Football News (@BeaverFBNews) November 28, 2020

The Pac-12 still has three undefeated teams in USC, Washington and Colorado, but might not have the respect of the committee. With Oregon’s loss to Oregon State and the Trojans having a COVID-19 cancellation against the Buffaloes, there might not be a Pac-12 team ranked in the top 15 after Week 13 of the season.

Expect the new College Football Playoff rankings to move Georgia in Northwestern’s former position, putting four SEC teams in the top eight.

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 14:

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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 14

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 14 Notes

  • Despite a 95% postgame win expectancy, Navy lost to Memphis, 10-7. The Midshipmen outgained the Tigers, but an early fourth-quarter fumble resulted in a Memphis game winning field goal.
  • Four of Pitt’s five turnovers resulted in Clemson touchdowns on the next drive.
  • Oregon State has moved to second in the nation in standard downs success rate behind Ohio State.
  • Alabama now ranks first in passing downs success rate and fifth in passing downs explosiveness.

Sick pass and catch from Mac Jones to John Metchie… and the Tide may get Jaylen Waddle back for the @CFBPlayoff @AlabamaFTBL | #RollTidepic.twitter.com/HdVxv0LSBo

— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) November 28, 2020

  • Clemson and Colorado rank in the top five for defensive success rate.
  • Iowa ranks as the best team in the nation against explosiveness.
  • Buffalo has taken over as the top team in points per opportunity, also known as finishing drives.
  • Florida Atlantic, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Cincinnati and San Jose State are the best defenses in the nation in opponent scoring opportunities.

Week 14 Situational Spots to Play

  • Michigan State will look to avoid hangover after defeating Northwestern as a double-digit underdog. Ohio State will be off COVID-19 disruption from Week 13. Snow is forecasted for Saturday.
  • Dating back to 2014, Appalachian State is 8-0 straight up and 5-3 against the number versus Louisiana. Freezing rain is forecasted for Saturday.
  • Nick Saban will return to the sideline for Alabama, who is on revenge against LSU after a 2019 loss.
  • The pressure is on for Oklahoma and Iowa State to win out and compete for the Big 12 championship. Both teams host West Virginia and Baylor, respectively.
  • Snow or wintry Mix is in the forecasts for Clemson-Virginia Tech, Maryland-Michigan, Ohio State-Michigan State, Nebraska-Purdue, Bowling Green-Akron,  and Rice-Marshall.

Week 14 Injury Report

  • Central Michigan quarterback Daniel Richardson was forced from the game with a leg injury. His status for Ball State is unknown.
  • Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford left the game with a knee injury. His status for Rutgers is unknown.
  • Oklahoma State running back did not play against Texas Tech due to an ankle injury.
  • Oregon running back CJ Verde was forced from the Oregon State game with an unspecified injury. His status for California is unknown.
  • Oregon State quarterback Tristan Gebbia departed from the Oregon game with injury. His status for Utah 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.

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