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Bettor ranks: College football’s top 25

Nov 20, 2018

  • Phil SteeleESPN Staff Writer
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    • ESPN Insider college football contributor
    • Has published his annual college football preview magazine for the past 18 years

Each week I get the power ratings from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, ESPN’s Will Harris and Bruce Marshall of the Gold Sheet, then combine them with my power ratings to give you the consensus Vegas power ratings.

These ratings are less about a team’s record and more about the overall talent each team possesses — reflecting which team would be favored if they met at a neutral site.

Here are the top 25 bettor power rankings.

Last updated: Nov. 20

Week 13 notes: Last week, several top teams had closer-than-expected games and dropped a little in the power ratings. Notre Dame and Washington State are both coming off dominant performances; the Irish moved up one spot to No. 5, while the Cougars moved up two spots to No. 8. There are four teams that Vegas ranks 11 places or higher than the AP poll — Mississippi State, Missouri, Texas A&M, and Iowa. Syracuse and Utah State fell out of the top 25, while Pitt and Oklahoma State moved in to take their place.

The AP Poll, which is based on a team’s record, has five SEC teams in the top 25 including Kentucky. The Vegas rankings, which look at overall strength of teams and not overall record, does not have Kentucky in the top 25 — but does have eight SEC teams among that number. The next closest conference has five (surprisingly, the Big 12). The Big Ten and Pac-12 each have four teams, and the ACC has just two. If you look at the rankings and factor in the home edge, the games involving ranked teams are almost right where the Vegas number is. The most significant difference is the Apple Cup, where the ratings say Washington State should be favored by 5.5 points, while in reality, they are a 3.5-point favorites. In this instance, Vegas is factoring in series history, as Washington has won the last four games in the series by 27 points per game.

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