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Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 2 College Football Game

Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 2 College Football Game article feature image

John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Ehlinger.

BYU visiting Navy will conclude college football Week 1 in the COVID era. We saw UTEP roar back from a double-digit deficit against Stephen F. Austin, North Texas give up close to 600 yards against Houston Baptist and Army score 42 points with only five offensive possessions.

Some of the advanced box score numbers revealed a different story for some of the Week 1 participants. Memphis rang up no explosive drives, defined by any drive that averages 10+ yards per play. Jake Spavital had encouraging signs from his Texas State offense led by Brady McBride, with an offensive success rate of 50% and almost half of the Bobcats’ offensive drives having two or more first downs.

Every Sunday, The Action Network will have updated Power Ratings — including FCS teams — and we will project point spreads for every game of the following week in anticipation of Sunday 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.

Our Week 2 slate has been trimmed due to COVID-19, as TCU-SMU has been postponed. Here are the projections for Week 2:

Projected College Football Odds, Week 2

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 2 Scheduling Notes

  • UL Monroe will have the farthest distance traveled and will do so with a new defensive coordinator. The Warhawks last saw a triple option in a November 2019 loss to Georgia Southern
  • Texas will be a minimum six-touchdown favorite against UTEP. Tom Herman is 14-21 against the spread as a favorite of six points or more.

  • Eastern Kentucky, Arkansas State and Houston Baptist will be on back-to-back travel.

Week 2 Situational Spots to Play

  • Miami will look to put the Independence Bowl loss behind it against UAB. There may be overlook to the Week 3 ACC opener against Louisville.
  • Louisville will take on a Western Kentucky team that returns 89% of its defensive unit that ranked top 20 in success rate last season. The Cardinals may have overlook to Miami in Week 3.

Week 2 Weather to Watch

  • Notre Dame will host Duke with a 35% chance of precipitation and wind orientation that crosses Notre Dame Stadium at 10 mph
  • Mobile, Alabama has a 20% chance of rain at a cool 65 degrees with nine mph winds crossing sideline-to-sideline for South Alabama to host Tulane
  • Texas Tech‘s passing attack will have 10 mph crosswind orientation in Jones AT&T Stadium when hosting Houston Baptist

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 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.

As Week 2 approaches, we’ll be keeping track of all these variables in and out of the box score. Be sure to bookmark our power ratings for the latest update on all FBS and FCS teams playing this fall.

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