Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 9 College Football Game

Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 9 College Football Game article feature image
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Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Graham Mertz.

The Big Ten and Mountain West joined the college football party in Week 8, packing plenty of surprises along the way.

The blue bloods of the conference rolled their opponents, as Ohio State slammed Nebraska and Boise State ran Utah State out of Idaho. Wisconsin saw the birth of the Graham Mertz era, as the quarterback went 20-of-21 against Illinois.

Air Force may have been the best team upset in the Mountain West, but the Penn State loss in Bloomington was pure bonkers. Needing just three plays to take the lead from Indiana, the Nittany Lions’ Devyn Ford elected to run the ball in with the lead in lieu of going down and ending the game.

Without any timeouts, Indiana was dead to rights until a kickoff and subsequent touchdown drive to send it to overtime. After matching Penn State’s overtime opening touchdown, Tom Allen elected to go for the two-point conversion and produce what might be the most iconic picture of the year.

Penn State suffered the loss, taking a bit of the shine off the prime-time spotlight in Week 9 against Ohio State.

In other action, Clemson survived a brief scare from Syracuse, keeping a clean record for a potential undefeated showdown with Notre Dame.

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Here are the projections for Week 9:


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Projected College Football Odds, Week 9

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 9 Notes

  • Georgia, Kentucky, and Florida return from COVID-19 disruptions, while New Mexico State and Colorado State will play their first game of the season.
  • After one game, Ohio State took the lead from Alabama in terms of the top Offensive Success Rate unit.
  • Kansas State remains the top explosive team in the nation, although special teams stole the show in Week 8.

  • Boise State jumped into the top spot in Defensive Success Rate.
  • Illinois is now the top defensive unit in the nation against explosiveness with respect to expected points. Wisconsin had zero runs and just three passes over 20 yards.
  • Ohio State and Purdue both sit top-five for Offensive Finishing Drives after one week of play.

Week 9 Situational Spots to Play

  • Virginia Tech outgained Wake Forest, but Hendon Hooker’s three interceptions led to the Demon Deacons’ victory. The Hokies have Louisville on deck.
  • Tom Herman will be an underdog when Texas travels to Oklahoma State, as the Pokes survived Iowa State.
  • BYU will play host to Western Kentucky. The Cougars will have Friday night travel to Boise State in Week 10.
  • Clemson and Notre Dame go head-to-head in Week 10, but they first play Boston College and Georgia Tech, respectively.
  • Off a victory over the in-state rival Jayhawks, Kansas State will travel to West Virginia before a Week 10 bonanza to decide the top team in the Big 12 with Oklahoma State.

Week 9 Injury News

  • Alabama wide receiver and kick returner Jaylen Waddle will miss the remainder of the season after surgery to repair a fractured ankle.

  • BYU wide receiver Gunner Romney sat with a continuing hamstring issue.
  • Kansas running back Pooka Williams Jr has informed the program he will sit out the remainder of the 2020 season.
  • Southern Miss quarterback Jack Abraham was inactive due to an unspecified ailment. His status for Rice is unknown.
  • Clemson running back Travis Etienne left the game with an ankle injury but later returned.

  • Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall missed the Georgia Southern game with an unspecified injury and is unclear for Georgia State.
  • LSU quarterback Myles Brennan did not play with an oblique injury. His status is unknown for Auburn.
  • UTEP running back Quardraiz Wadley will miss the remainder of the season with a toe injury.
  • Penn State running back Noah Cain left the game against Indiana with a lower-body injury.
  • Wyoming quarterback Sean Chambers was carted off the field with a lower left leg injury, and his status for Hawaii is unknown.
  • Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore did not play for unspecified reasons. Running back King Doerue also missed the game.
  • Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave left with a head injury. His status for Penn State is unclear.
  • Georgia Southern quarterback Shai Werts left the game with a knee injury. His status is unknown for South Alabama.

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.