Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 8 College Football Game

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Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Fields.

Welcome back Big Ten and Mountain West! While The Action Network adds all teams back to the Power Ratings, a Week 7 review is needed.

Our first top-five head-to-head matchup of the season came in the form of Alabama beating Georgia by 17 in Tuscaloosa. All three Stetson Bennett interceptions turned into immediate Crimson Tide touchdowns to seal the game.

In other top-25 scores, Tennessee can expect an exit from the poll after Kentucky dominated the Volunteers, 34-7. Jarrett Guarantano threw consecutive pick-sixes, while backup J.T. Shrout immediately entered the game and tossed another interception. The Vols scored on just one drive past the Kentucky 40-yard line.

Elsewhere in the SEC, Arkansas had a breakout performance in a victory over Ole Miss. The Razorbacks posted 11 tackles for loss and two sacks. The Rebels put up a negative mark in expected points passing in every quarter.

Auburn suffered a loss at South Carolina, as Chad Morris looked to separate conflicts between Bo Nix and his wide receivers.

Fifth-ranked North Carolina lost on the road to Florida State. Without star wide receiver Tamorrion Terry, the Seminoles relied on punt blocks and a pick-six to upset the Heels.

Clemson provided a platform for its quarterback to take the lead in the Heisman race. The Tigers scored 73 points as Lawrence threw for 404 yards and five touchdowns.

Some box scores have a clearer image of what happened in the game. Virginia Tech still had starters out with COVID-19 but benefited from five Boston College turnovers that resulted in 20 additional points. Mississippi State recorded another dreadful day on offense, crossing the Texas A&M 40 just three times and received a boost from a defensive touchdown.

Every Sunday, The Action Network publishes updated Power Ratingsnow including the Big Ten, Pac-12, Mountain West and MAC — to project point spreads for every game of the following week in anticipation of Sunday’s opening lines.

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 8:


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 8

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 8 Notes

  • The Big Ten and Mountain West join FBS competition. Here’s a look at the returning production rankings along with 2019 Success Rate from earlier this summer:
  • Cincinnati, Tulsa, LSU, Florida, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Missouri, Southern Miss, UTEP and Charlotte return from COVID-19 disruptions.
  • Alabama and BYU are now top-three teams in Offensive Success Rate.
  • Arkansas State and Louisville jumped into the top five explosive offenses per expected points.

  • Notre Dame jumped into the top five with Clemson in Defensive Success Rate.
  • Kentucky is now the top defensive unit in the nation against explosiveness with respect to expected points.
  • Coastal Carolina and Georgia State sit in the top three for Offensive Finishing Drives.

Week 8 Situational Spots to Play

  • In possible hangover spots, Georgia will be on back-to-back travel at Kentucky, while Alabama heads to Tennessee.
  • Florida State will look to avoid a letdown while traveling to Louisville.
  • Ohio State and Penn State may go vanilla with possible big leads against Nebraska and Indiana, respectively. Both the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions face off in Week 9.

Week 8 Injury News

  • Alabama tight end Miller Forristall left the Georgia game with an ankle injury and did not return.
  • BYU leading rusher in 2019, Sione Finau, may be available to return against Texas State. The Cougars also have wide receiver Gunner Romney questionable with a hamstring injury from the Houston victory.
  • Florida State wide receiver Tamorrion Terry had left knee surgery and is expected to be back in November.
  • Memphis wide receiver Damonte Coxie sat out of the Central Florida game with an unspecified injury.
  • Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett sat out Week 7, and his return for Notre Dame in Week 8 is unknown.
  • UTSA quarterback Lowell Narcisse is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a leg injury.
  • Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong sat out Week 7 with concussion-like symptoms.

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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