When I worked for ESPN full time, I put out a weekly article entitled the Vegas Power Ratings. I still have all the sources that I used to produce that article as it featured my plus/minus ratings which closely resemble Vegas’s numbers as well as three different casinos including the fine folks over at the Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook @SuperBookSports. We are now eight full weeks into the season and I will continue to post these numbers weekly.
This is NOT the AP poll but gives you an idea of how much teams would be favored over another team if they met on a neutral field. I use these to get an idea of lines on upcoming games and it is very accurate in that respect.
Let me give you some clear examples of how these ratings differ from any poll you will see.
If I was an AP voter I would have Michigan St in my Top 10 right now as they are undefeated and passed every test. #6 Michigan is playing #8 Michigan St and Mich St is at home so why is Michigan favored by 4.5 points on the road? Look at the Vegas ratings as Michigan is #6 and rated 123.5 and Mich St is just #23 and rated 116.9. If you add the 3 point home edge than the Vegas ratings would have Michigan by 3.6 and that is where the line started this week and action has driven Michigan up to a 4.5 point favorite. Cincinnati is #2 in the AP poll but if they played Alabama at a neutral site this week the Tide would be favored by 11.5. Unranked Iowa St was favored by 7 at home over a top ten Oklahoma St last week and once again that is how the Vegas Power ratings had them ranked.
Now, Let’s take a look at some teams that beat other teams this year. You will notice this week that Ohio State is rated #3 and Oregon is #14. You will say, but Oregon beat Ohio State on the road by a TD and both teams have the same record so how can Ohio State be rated higher? This is not an AP ranking but if Ohio State played Oregon again this week at a neutral site the Buckeyes who were favored by 15 at home would be favored by 13 at a neutral site this week. Bowling Green beat Minnesota on the road but if they played this week at a neutral site Minnesota would be favored by 26.2. Kentucky upset Florida but if they met this week at a neutral site Florida would be a 2-point favorite. This is not who has played the toughest schedule, who passes the eye test or who deserves to be rated higher than another team based on play on the field. These power ratings are which teams would be favored over other teams and by how much and the folks in Vegas are pretty smart as they have some pretty impressive casinos out there and it is not from losing money.
Here is this year’s 7th edition of my Vegas Power Ranking for the 2021 season!