There were some awful NFL week 1 performances. Which of these two quarterbacks did a better Josh Rosen impression?
- Joe Burrow and his 82 passing yards.
- Daniel Jones and his 104 passing yards and 2 interceptions.
I’ll go with Jones, since he also lost 47 yards on sacks.
With the attention on NFL Week 1, you might have missed a few lackluster college football performances.
For example, Tennessee beat FCS Austin Peay by 17 points as a 48.5 point favorite. QB Joe Milton got Heisman hype this preseason, but his passing success rate numbers against inferior competitions have been poor compared to the 40.3% college football average this season.
- 44.1% vs Virginia.
- 41.2% vs Austin Peay.
As another example, TCU rebounded from an unexpected opening loss to Colorado with a comfortable 41-6 win over FCS Nicholls State. TCU might not have covered 42 points, but they came closer than Tennessee.
However, TCU struggled in the underlying metrics. They only had a 44.3% success rate compared to 29.3% for Nicholls State. While TCU was the better team, these success rates do not justify such a large point spread.
On The Football Analytics Show podcast, I asked professional bettor Mike Craig whether to consider these FCS games in handicapping.
He said that he puts almost no emphasis in FBS vs FCS games with huge point spreads. Tennessee had nothing to play for with a road trip to Florida coming up on Saturday.
Based on this advice, I looked at what my member numbers would have made the spread in these games before week 2.
Without the Austin Peay game, my member predictions would favor Tennessee by a touchdown at Florida, close to the -6.5 in the markets. In addition, experts like ESPN’s Bill Connelly were high on Tennessee this preseason, which makes me lean towards ignoring a small sample size of two games.
Before week 2, my member metrics would have made TCU a 4.3 point favorite at Houston. This prediction uses 3.5 points for home advantage. While my model usually uses 2.4 points for a conference game, I decided to use the out of conference number in Houston’s first year in the Big 12.
In addition, I had TCU overrated this preseason because of an almost miraculous streak of good fortune in 2022. Their performance in 2023 has done nothing to change my mind.
Houston lost to Rice last week, never a good sign. However, they have a win over a solid UTSA team, and my metrics have not adjusted them much from the preseason.
There is value in Houston +7.5 at home against TCU.
Smarter sports betting in less than 5 minutes
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