Before each college football season, I like to do a winning prediction for the Oklahoma Sooners. The process is a kind of combination of art and science:
- Using my own power ratings, I set a point distribution for each game on OU’s schedule.
- Based on point spreads, I determine the probability that the Sooners will win each game.
- I convert that probability into a fraction of a win.
- Finally, I add up the win fractions to estimate a likely end-of-season total.
As an example, let’s take OU’s home date with Baylor on November 5th. On a neutral field, I’d make the Sooners a 5.5-point favorite over the Bears this year. Since the game is played in Norman, I add 2.5 points to the OU side. This puts the range of points at eight. (I might have been inclined to deduct about a half point in the past to reflect Baylor coach Dave Aranda’s track record against the Sooners; with Brent Venables and Co. on the sidelines now in place 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 bottom line.
Last year, my prediction exceeded OU’s actual win total by a full game. This is what I came up with for 2022:
A total of 9.67 suggests the Sooners will win between nine and ten games this fall. If you were an odds maker trying to place an over/under bet based on this prediction you would probably place it at 9.5 with the juice firmly on the over.
A few notes:
*FanDuel Sportsbook has already set lines for a handful of these games, and it looks like the linemakers at this shop have a lower opinion of this OU team:
- OU (-4.5) in Nebraska
- OU (+1) vs. Texas
- OU(-4) in the state of Iowa
- OSU at OU (-5.5)
FanDuel put the OU season’s overall win at 8.5, paying -155 for the over and +130 for the under. Even at this relatively high price, my prediction suggests an over bet.
* I don’t think it would be absurd to make Texas a slight favorite over the Sooners at this point, especially given that the Red River Rivalry tends to get bets in the off-season.
*I’m sure I’m either too low in the spread on the Texas Tech game or too high on the West Virginia line.
*I shaded the lines down a bit in some cases. For example, I gave Nebraska two extra points because of the Lincoln setting and circumstances. Despite my skepticism about Iowa State this season, I took two points off for playing at Ames on a Thursday night. I also reworked the game “Bedlam” since it is actually “Bedlam”.