Sunday, December 5, 2010

Auburn-Oregon BCS Championship Line Prediction (Updated)

Update: Not too far off. Auburn opened as -2.5 and with two weeks to go is listed at -3. Total set at 74.  Game Prediction is here

The BCS Selection Show tonight will officially reveal Auburn and Oregon as the top 2 in the BCS standings and the Tigers and Ducks will meet for the BCS Championship on January 10.

With over a month until the national championship game, we will have a lot of time to dissect the matchup. But one of the best numbers that will come out very early to give an indication of who the masses thinks will win is the opening line.

To give some background for the Auburn or Oregon (or College Football fan) that is new to this, the line for a game is NOT an indication of who Las Vegas thinks will win. It is simply a number to draw even betting on both sides so public perception plays a lot into it.

Lets tackle that public perception first. Auburn comes from the SEC which most people consider the best conference in the nation year in and year out. So the natural perception is that Auburn has played a much tougher schedule.

But in reality, Oregon and Auburn have very similar strength of schedules according to Jeff Sagarin's ratings. What helps the Ducks is that they play 9 conference games and the Pac 10 was better than usual this year (Sagarin rated them the 2nd toughest conference). But again public perception is that Auburn played a much more difficult schedule so points for the Tigers. Give Auburn -3 for this.

Trends are another thing bettors will look at. Auburn is 9-4 ATS this season. Oregon is 7-4-1 so the Tigers have done a little better against the mark this season so that is another boost in the line for Auburn. Give Auburn -1 for this.

Finally, when a close game is expected, and I think even the most optimistic War Eagle followers don't expect their team to blow out Chip Kelly's squad, many times the game comes down to what team has the biggest difference makers. This matchup will likely feature the top two Heisman vote tallies in Cam Newton and LaMichael James. But Newton touches the ball on every play whereas James does not. Give Auburn -3 for this.

Now one caveat is the Newton "pay for play" investigation that has been going on for about a month now. The Auburn QB is eligible as of now, but information seems to change on a weekly basis. I highly doubt the NCAA would make Newton ineligible for this game. Anything that comes out showing he knew of the illegal scheme won't come out until he has declared for the NFL Draft in my opinion. But this could scare off some bettors from Gene Chizik's club because of how important of a player Newton is. Give Oregon a field goal for this.

Add it all up and I see Auburn as a -4 point favorite in Glendale.

I would expect the opening line to come out late tonight or early tomorrow. I always consider USA Today the most accurate source for these.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:19 AM

    The Jeff Sagarin formula doesn't make sense. In their system, Auburn is 3-0 vs. the top ten, and 6-0 vs. the top 30, and has a SoS of 16. Stanford is 0-1 vs. the top ten, and 4-1 vs. the top 30, but has a higher SoS (10) than Auburn. Auburn played three times as many top ten teams as Stanford, and more top thirty teams, but Stanford had a tougher schedule?

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