College Football: What We Learned Week 8

College Football: What We Learned Week 8
© USA Today

A sensational Week 8 of the college football season is in the books and the Ohio State Buckeyes remain the top team in the nation based on my predictive power ratings. 

So, we learned that Ohio State is the best team in the country based on these rankings.

Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and USC round out the Top 5. After the Top 3, there is a significant drop off in the power ratings. 

Why Ohio State Is My Top Team

Ohio State would be a 12.5-point favorite on a neutral field facing Tennessee and a 17-point favorite over USC in my rankings. 

Alabama would be favored by -13.5 points on a neutral field over USC. Among the Top 3 teams, Ohio State would be favored by three over Alabama and by 4.5 points over Georgia.

As my power rankings show, three SEC teams are in the Top 5, and there are seven in the AP poll.

The ACC has five teams, the Big Ten has four, the Pac-12 has four, the Big 12 has three and the American Conference has two. 

Tennessee is dressed as Cinderella this Halloween season, not being ranked in the preseason polls, but now ranked third and challenging for a playoff berth and a possible national championship. I also do not see any reason to expect Tennessee to fall flat in any of their remaining games, given the high stakes involved.

The Big Favorites Continue to Win

In Week 6, favorites of 17.5 or more points went 6-0 straight up (SU), but just 2-4 against the spread (ATS) and 2-4 Over-Under. 

So, these big favorites have gone 167-10, hitting 94.4% wins, but the market has them priced correctly with an 88-86-3 ATS record and an 86-87-4 Over-Under record.

Did the Ranked Teams Dominate in Week 8?

Ranked teams playing at home in Week 8 had a terrific week, going 9-0 SU, 8-1 ATS and 6-3 Over-Under

Over the past two weeks, ranked teams playing at home went 19-0 SU and 14-5 ATS (74%) and had a 12-7 Over-Under result.

Ranked teams on the road went 1-8 SU, 4-5 ATS and 7-2 Over-Under. Over the past two weeks, ranked road teams went just 2-14 SU and 5-11 ATS (31%) and 11-5 Over-Under (69%).

Food for the Betting Souls

I am looking at some strong betting opportunities in Week 8, with conference matchups involving a ranked favorite on the road and facing a conference foe.  

The following betting algorithm has produced a 247-63 SU record (80%), a 186-120-4 ATS mark (61%) and a 148-152-10 Over-Under record (49%) over the past 10 seasons.

  • Bet on road favorites that are averaging at least 31 points per game.
  • These teams are facing a host in which their two previous games had a combined 60 or more points scored in each game.

This set of parameters targets USC as a 15-point favorite against Arizona on Saturday. Drilling down a bit further, double-digit road favorites of -13 to -17.5 points have gone 52-6 SU (90%), 39-19 ATS (67%) and 29-27-2 Over-Under over the past 10 years. 

The decisive factor is that these road warriors have gone 31-3 SU (91%) and 23-11 ATS (68%) winning bets if the game occurs between Week 8 and Week 13 of the regular season.

Best Bet for Week 8 to Jump on Now

In a big SEC matchup, Tennessee hosts Kentucky and is favored by 13 points with a posted total of 63.5 points. 

I like Tennessee. The current line and total reflect a 38-25 Tennessee win and my predictive model shows an 85% probability that Tennessee will score at least 31 points and have fewer turnovers than Kentucky.

  • The Volunteers are 16-0 SU and 15-1 ATS (94%) in home games when they have scored 31 or more points and had fewer turnovers than their opponent over the past 10 seasons.
  • Kentucky is 0-9 SU and 2-7 ATS (18%) when allowing 31 or more points and having more turnovers than their opponents in games played over the past 10 seasons.

Go to the window if you agree with the research, and bet Tennessee now, as the price will not get any cheaper.

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