Your weekly digest of sports betting tips and news, every Saturday at 10am Eastern.
Bowl season package – Early next week, The Power Rank bowl report will be available. Among other valuable items, this includes The Power Rank’s best predictions and write up on all games. Here is an example.
Louisiana will beat Marshall by 4.0 at a neutral site, 59.4 total points.
Predicted score: Louisiana 31.7, Marshall 27.7. (Louisiana has a 61.8% win probability).
After losing to Texas in the season opener, Louisiana has rattled off 12-straight wins, including in the Sun Belt championship game. The Ragin’ Cajuns will be without head coach Billy Napier, who is taking over at Florida.
Levi Lewis is a dual-threat quarterback, averaging 6.2 yards a carry on non-sack plays, and leading Louisiana to the 55th best offense by adjusted success rate. Perhaps more importantly, the defense comes in 15th-best.
Marshall may have a less impressive resume at 7-5, but its offensive rating is better than its opponent’s (23rd). Head coach Charles Huff said QB Grant Wells is expected to play despite an injury that sidelined him during the regular-season finale against Western Kentucky.
The Thundering Herd’s defense ranks 61st by adjusted success rate.
Is rest is overrated in the NFL? – Historically, teams coming off a bye perform better than those that played the previous week. Per @datawithbliss, teams with that kind of a rest advantage gain 0.8 points in the market.
However, this season may be unusual. So far, teams coming off a bye are 10-13-1 against the spread and 12-11-1 straight up. As always, trends can simply be noise, but with an additional game this season, the trend may be worth exploring.
Teams coming off byes this week are the Browns, Titans, Panthers and Packers. All of them are favored, but The Power Rank only sees two of these four favorites with betting value. 50% may be a further reflection that this trend is noisy, but we’ll keep an eye on it.
Injuries and bowl opt outs – This list is double checked with the ESPN NFL injuries page.
- Carolina QB Sam Darnold could come off of the injured reserve list this week after a shoulder injury.
- Chicago QB Justin Fields will start against Green Bay after missing the past two games with a rib injury.
- Cincinnati QB Joe Burrow was limited at practice Thursday due to finger and knee injuries.
- New York Giants QBs Daniel Jones (neck) will not play against the Los Angeles Chargers. Mike Glennon (concussion) was listed as questionable earlier this week, and the third string is Jake Fromm.
- Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett will head to New York City for the Heisman trophy ceremony but might not play in their bowl game against Michigan State. The markets only favor Pitt by 1 which suggests that Pickett will not play.
- North Carolina QB Sam Howell will play against South Carolina in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.
- Ole Miss QB Matt Corral will play against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.
The Power Rank bowl season report will provide updates on key opt outs in bowl games.
Army-Navy – There’s no more meaningful college football game than this one. Secondarily, this rivalry features one of the more reliable betting trends in the sport: the last 15 meetings have gone under the total.
There are several reasons for this trend:
- Both offenses almost always call run plays, which means fewer incomplete passes that stop the clock.
- Familiar foes often lead to slightly lower scoring games (points scored in division games in the NFL is lower than non-division games).
- The importance of practicing against the rival may usurp some preparations for other opponents.
Sportsbooks began with a total of 36.5, which is quite low to begin with, then the market moved it to 34 before betting it back up to 35 at last check. Weather at MetLife Stadium is expected to be windy with a decent chance for rain.
How to win your bowl pool – You want to win your bowl pool. The money is nice, but the bragging rights are even better.
If you want to win, you should consider these three things:
- Is there value in bowl pools?
- The type of bowl pool you should enter; this advice also holds for March Madness pools.
- Contrarian strategies and when to use them.
This article by The Power Rank founder Ed Feng on how to win your bowl pool answers these three questions.
NFL predictive analytics – Kevin Cole of PFF appeared on The Football Analytics Show podcast and talked about his recent work predicting NFL spreads.
In talking about games such as Atlanta at Carolina and Los Angeles Rams at Arizona, it became clear that his model looks a lot like The Power Rank’s member NFL numbers.
Georgia and Hope – Alabama stomped Georgia on the scoreboard by a 41-24 score. However, Georgia had a better success rate (50.0%) than Alabama (46.4%). The Crimson Tide won because of big plays and turnovers.
However, success rate is rarely solace for a football team, and Georgia got in an argument with Hope at the SEC Bowl Dance in another hilarious SEC Shorts video.
Data driven betting information
These nuggets were sent to The Power Rank’s email newsletter. This is a free service that strives to be:
Other emails offer analysis of college football and NFL games that founder Ed Feng has bet.
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