Wilson: My Projected Odds for Every Week 3 College Football Game

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Grant Halverson/Getty Images. Pictured: Ian Book.

Sep 13, 2020, 09:14 AM EDT

The opening weekend of college football was a bit odd for everyone. Cardboard cutouts replaced fans, whistles were replaced with electronic noisemakers and even UTEP won a football game. That all changed in Week 2, as fans were treated to a San Marcos thriller while yet another Sun Belt team took charge.

COVID struck again, and like the rest of the world outside of sports, college football is going to learn to live alongside the pandemic. Tyler Vitt took over quarterback duties for Texas State in place of Brady McBride, while Arkansas State lost a plethora of starters and still won in Manhattan.

Kansas State went on to post just a 33% success rate for the game, allowing Arkansas State to move at will.

Speaking of the Big 12, Iowa State lost to a Louisiana team that had an 83-yard punt return and 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Meanwhile, the Campbell Camels and Houston Baptist Huskies have become two dangerous FCS teams to have on the docket.

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 3 slate has been modified due to COVID-19, as Oklahoma State-Tulsa was postponed a week. Here are the projections for Week 3:


Check out our new NFL 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 3

A negative number indicates the home team is favored by that many points; a positive number means the home team is an underdog.

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Week 3 Notes

  • Liberty plays its first game against Western Kentucky. The Flames had just a couple of Spring practices, while the Hilltoppers played Louisville in Week 2.
  • Boston College completed just five Spring practices for new head coach Jeff Hafley and travel to Duke in its first game.
  • Expect to see a much different Navy team against Tulane, as the Midshipmen have returned to full-contact practices.
  • Already delayed once, Tulsa has had just seven practices heading into an opener with Oklahoma State.
  • Houston had eight spring practices, while new Baylor head coach Dave Aranda was not able to conduct any in his transition from Baton Rouge to Waco. The Bears did have names missing on the depth chart for Louisiana Tech most likely due to COVID.
  • Central Florida continues to deal with a number of players opting out of the season leading up to an opener with Georgia Tech.

Week 3 Situational Spots to Play

  • Southern Miss will be coached by Interim Scotty Walden. His only head coaching experience came in 2016 with East Texas Baptist.
  • Week 2 underdog outrights may have hangover, including Coastal Carolina, Arkansas State and Georgia Tech.

Week 3 Weather to Watch

  • Tropical Storm Sally could impact games during Week 3, starting with Campbell at Coastal Carolina on Friday

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 3 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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