Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 15 College Football Game

Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 15 College Football Game article feature image
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Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Mac Jones.

Where the Week 14 slate lacked in star power, there was plenty of sizzle. Alabama easily covered the spread against LSU and furthered Mac Jones stake in the Heisman trophy race.

Nick Saban is on track to meet Dan Mullen and Florida in the SEC Championship game. The Gators failed to cover against Tennessee, but a victory over the Crimson Tide will get Mullen into the College Football Playoff.

Intensity was the setting at the Surf Turf, also known as Brooks Stadium as Coastal Carolina won as an outright underdog against BYU. The Cougars dreams of a New Years Six are gone after the Chanticleers put together three impressive touchdown drives. Those scoring drives totaled 41 plays, 230 yards and 21 minutes of game clock.

The ‘Black Swarm’ had an impressive day limiting BYU to just 10 points on 5 trips past the 40-yard line.

The end to the half for Zach Wilson didn't go too well đź‘€pic.twitter.com/0MNct0s6Co

— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) December 6, 2020

In other action, Wisconsin excused itself from the national picture and Oklahoma struggled against an improving Baylor defense. Texas A&M choked out Auburn in the fourth quarter to cement its playoff first out status.

Also submitting its status was Ohio State, as the Buckeyes gave Michigan State a clinic in East Lansing, Mich.

Justin Fields is the fastest man alive

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— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 5, 2020

Does the Pac-12 deserve a seat at the table with regards to the national picture? As of this writing, USC is 3-0 heading into Sunday’s home game with Washington State.

Sitting undefeated in the South division is Colorado under new head coach Karl Dorrell. After spotting Arizona a few points off turnovers, the Buffaloes dominated a conference road game. Colorado, which now ranks top five in defensive success rate, has a chance to beat Utah and have an argument for the Pac-12 Championship. Would an undefeated Colorado team get consideration for the Playoff?

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The College Football Playoff rankings should remain unchanged in the top six. Iowa State jumped into the top 10 and might overtake Georgia based off an annihilation of West Virginia. Coastal Carolina will be hard pressed to make a New Year’s Six bowl by finishing top 12 and having Cincinnati undefeated.

Expect the new College Football Playoff rankings to shed more light on the committee’s value in Coastal Carolina and undefeated Pac-12 teams.

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 15:

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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 15

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 15 Notes

  • Oklahoma State was gifted five turnovers from TCU, but could only convert them into seven points. In eight trips past the 40-yard line, the Cowboys managed just seven points.
  • Marshall’s undefeated season is over, as quarterback Grant Wells was picked off five times by Rice.
  • Alabama is the top team in overall offensive success rate. Ohio State and Florida are both in the top 10.
  • Cincinnati remains in the top five for overall offensive explosiveness. The next closest playoff contender is Alabama at 29th.

DEVONTA SMITH IS RIDICULOUS pic.twitter.com/NhCkPJAccB

— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) December 6, 2020

  • Clemson is third in overall defensive success rate. Cincinnati and Notre Dame also rank in the top 10.
  • Cincinnati is the highest ranking playoff contender in overall defensive explosiveness at 19th.
  • Alabama and Florida are top five in offensive finishing drives.
  • Cincinnati, Clemson and Alabama rank top 10 in finishing drives defense.
Week 15 Situational Spots to Play
  • With victories over Texas and Oklahoma State, Oklahoma will travel to West Virginia, with a spot already secured in the Big 12 Championship game.
  • Buffalo should receive confirmation that the MAC East division has wrapped. The Bulls game against Akron will have no bearing on the conference title game.
  • Both Alabama and Florida have wrapped the SEC divisions, making games against Arkansas and LSU meaningless.

Week 15 Injury Report

  • Ohio quarterback Kurtis Rourke exited the previous game with an undefined injury. His status is unknown for Kent State.
  • Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi exited the game with an unspecified injury. It is unclear of his availability for Penn State.
  • Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec missed the last game with a knee injury. His availability is unknown.
  • Virginia Tech quarterbacks Braxton Burmeister and Hendon Hooker could not finish the game against Clemson. Their status for Virginia 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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