Before every college football season, I like to put together a win total projection for the Oklahoma Sooners. The process is kind of a combination of art and science:
- Using my own set of power ratings, I set a point spread for every game on OU’s schedule.
- Based on the point spreads, I determine the likelihood the Sooners will win each game.
- I convert that likelihood to a fraction of a win.
- Lastly, I tally up the fractions of wins to estimate a projected total for the end of the season.
Let’s use OU’s home date with Baylor on Nov. 5 as an example. On a neutral field, I would make the Sooners a 5.5-point favorite over the Bears this year. Since the game is being played in Norman, I’m adding 2.5 points to the OU side. That puts the point spread at eight. (I might have been inclined to shave off a half point or so in the past to reflect Baylor coach Dave Aranda’s track record against the Sooners; with Brent Venables and company on the sidelines now instead of Lincoln Riley’s staff, we’ll wipe the slate clean.) Teams favored by eight points win 73% of the time, so I add 0.73 wins to OU’s final total.
Last year, my projection overshot OU’s actual win total by a full game. Here’s what I came up with for 2022:
A total of 9.67 suggests the Sooners will win between nine and 10 games this fall. If you were an oddsmaker trying to establish an over/under bet based on this projection, you would probably set it at 9.5 with the juice solidly to the over.
A few notes:
*FanDuel Sportsbook has already set lines on a handful of these games, and it looks like the linesmakers in that shop have a lower opinion of this OU team:
- OU (-4.5) at Nebraska
- OU (+1) vs. Texas
- OU (-4) at Iowa State
- OSU at OU (-5.5)
FanDuel put the OU season win total at 8.5, paying -155 to the over and +130 to the under. Even at that relatively steep price, my projection points to an over bet.
*I don’t think it would be absurd to make Texas a slight favorite over the Sooners at this point, especially in light of how the Red River Rivalry tends to get bet in the offseason.
*I feel confident that I’m either too low on the spread in the Texas Tech game or too high on the West Virginia line.
*I did shade the lines downward a touch in a few cases. I gave an extra two points to Nebraska, for instance, because of the setting and circumstances in Lincoln. Despite my skepticism about Iowa State this season, I shaved off two points for playing in Ames on a Thursday night. I also revised the Bedlam game down, given that is, in fact, Bedlam.