College Football Picks Using Power Ratings & Home Field Advantage

Doug Upstone

Thursday, August 27, 2015 5:39 PM GMT

Now is the perfect time to expand your College Football handicapping arsenal. In this article we focus on teams with strong home field advantage favored on the point spread by -4.5 range.

Highly respected sports handicapper Jeff Sagarin and others recommend a traditional three points for the home team, which is a good mean number as a statistical guru (his 2015 home field edge is actually -2.65) when comparing all teams.

However, to the best of my knowledge, Mr. Sagarin is not down in the trenches with the rest of us generating college football picks, thus we have to work to level the playing field as best we can.

The normal three points does work for a number of the 128 teams at the FBS level, but certainly not all. In this article you will learn how the sharps view the real home field edges and while there can be a variance from different football handicappers like myself, this is an accurate assessment.

 

Who Has the Biggest Home Field Advantages?
The answer to the best is not a surprise to anyone, with the Oregon Ducks at a whopping -6 in the college football odds point spread at always rowdy and intimidating Autzen Stadium. Besides the crowd noise and talent, the Ducks fast-pace can wear down teams and in the last decade they are 59-8 at home and an incredible 39-23-2 ATS, despite facing a number of -25 or more.

Next we head to the Big Ten, where it is no fun to play at Ohio State or Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are all the way back under the guidance of Urban Meyer. Since closing the end of 'The Horseshoe', Ohio Stadium has only gotten louder and with the talent that arrives, little wonder Ohio State is 65-7 and 43-28 ATS in recent years and is at -5.5 points.

We won't know for a couple years, but curious to see if the Badgers will maintain the -5.5 edge with three head coaching changes in four years and former coach and current athletic director Barry Alvarez being stubborn in having salaries lower for assistants than other Top 20 programs. For now, Bucky Badger is on a 62-7 roll with a 39-27 ATS mark.

 

Here are those Places and Teams Next in Line
Home field edges are by-product of having great coaching, terrific players and boisterous fans, without any of those three, the numbers do not add up. Here is the list of teams that hand out -5 points and are quite useful for sports picks.

Alabama

Boise State

Florida State

Oklahoma

South Carolina

TCU

In this group you might find a couple questionable choices, but an important aspect of all sports betting is avoiding knee-jerk reactions. For example, South Carolina was 4-3 SU and 2-5 ATS in 2014, but has been a very good home team for a number of years and deserves one more season at this status before being adjusted if it happens two years in a row and a different pattern starts to emerge.

Bronco Stadium remains one of the most difficult places to play, with Boise State having won 61 of 64 games. However, oddsmakers like those at Wagerweb have made the adjustments and the Broncos are just 30-30 ATS and have been downgraded from -6 to -5 and could lower.

 

Upper Echelon Home Favorites
Lastly, here are other respected home favorites that stand above the crowd at a -4.5 price range.

Baylor

Auburn

Clemson

Kansas State

Nebraska

Oklahoma State

Penn State

Stanford

ULCA

Virginia Tech

Honestly, very few surprises in this contingent, all with a high degree of street cred in college football. In fact, though the Cowboys of Okie State are up here, when they are a home favorite they move to -5, as it is very difficult to argue with a 28-14-1 ATS record the past 10 seasons as home faves.

Thus, if you are into power ratings and understand the value of figuring out the right number against the sportsbooks, this kind of information helps you understand where they create their numbers.