With the release of the college football playoff rankings, Circa Sports wants to show how our oddsmakers’ top 25 stacks up to the college football selection committee’s rankings. Every Sunday at 11 am during the college football season, Circa Sports releases the first college football lines in the world followed by our in-house rankings. Here are our oddsmakers’ Power Rankings heading into the bowl games:
To formulate these power rankings we look at many factors, the most influential of these being each of our oddsmaker’s personal set of power ratings that they adjust weekly after the games have been completed. The basic premise of a power rating is to convey what a point spread would be between any given two teams on the list on a neutral field. For example, if Clemson played LSU at Cowboys Stadium, we would have the line Clemson -1 according to our numbers.
We take a lot of pride in opening our college football numbers first and taking bets before anyone else does, and we wanted to give each of our college football oddsmakers a chance to talk a little about their process. Each week we take an average of Oddsmaker Matt Lindeman’s and Sportsbook Director Matthew Metcalf’s power ratings to help shape the opening line. As you can see below their approaches may vary somewhat, but it’s these differences that help contribute to a better opening number. While you may not agree with all of their ratings, we believe these numbers represent a truer look at determining who the best college football team in the country really is.
“Every Saturday night after the games end I start going thru box scores. When I look through each game, the key thing I’m looking to understand is if you replayed this same game tomorrow what would the line be. To fully understand that I’m trying to understand the story of the game. I’ll read through the recap, look through score progression, and look at various yards per play stats to try to figure out if the final score of the game was truly indicative of this result. I really want to understand if any of the more random factors in a game contributed to the final score in a meaningful way. Examples of this could be turnovers, penalties, or 3rd down conversion stats. A lot of times you can look through a box score and see that one team moved the ball with ease, had plenty of scoring chances but continued to turn the ball over in the redzone. The key thing to understand is that to some degree, a team’s record does not always have to line up with their power rating. Just because Team A wins the game 50-0 does not mean that they are 50 points better than Team B.”
“There are a number of factors that go into adjusting my ratings each week. I use the closing number as a starting point, as that number is ultimately what the market agrees upon. While the result certainly has an effect on my adjustments, the market disagreeing with my assessment on certain teams prior to the game might actually hold more weight. I’ve moved away from digging through box scores because misleading finals tend to be overvalued by the market the following week; a lot of my statistical analysis is studying yards per play and tempo, which is very helpful for making totals. The nuance in making adjustments is understanding *why* a game played out like it did. Computer models might hate a team off of a 30-point blowout loss, but if they were in a bad spot, ran into a bad matchup, or had something I perceive as fluky take place, I may not be as harsh in adjusting them downward. It’s a delicate balance trying to determine just how much you should react to what you’re seeing on the field.”
To see our weekly college football lines and additional insights from the Circa Sports team, follow us on Twitter @CircaSports.