With Kentucky handling its business against Toledo plus some heartbreak for others around the league, confidence in the Cats is on the rise moving into the second weekend of the season.
For example, the ESPN FPI’s projection for Kentucky’s season win total jumped from 7.0 to 7.6, as did its win probabilities for Kentucky in many of the remaining games.
One of the most dramatic swings in UK’s win probabilities came in the Nov. 9 game against Tennessee as UK’s chances jumped from 38.6% to 65.6% after only one weekend of games. (Thanks, Georgia State!) The projected spread on that game, using Jeff Sagarin’s ratings system, moved from -2.5 to -9.5, in favor of Kentucky.
Each week we will take a look at how the projections for the remainder of UK’s season change with how the games play out every weekend. We will begin this week with a comparison of numbers before and after the Week 1 games, in which Kentucky beat Toledo (and covered the spread) while three of its opponents — Tennessee, South Carolina and Missouri — were upset.
Here’s a glossary in case you’re lost:
Sagarin Predictor — Jeff Sagarin’s College Football Ratings provide predictions for upcoming games by comparing the two Sagarin ratings for each team, plus an additional amount of points for home field advantage. For example: In Sagarin’s Week 2 ratings, Kentucky has a 76.06 rating; Eastern Michigan is a 61.52; and he sets home field advantage at 2.25 points. So you add home field (2.25) to Kentucky’s rating (76.06) and subtract Eastern Michigan’s rating (61.52) to get a difference of 16.79 points. Round to the nearest half-point to find Sagarin’s predicted point spread is Kentucky favored by 17 over the visiting Eagles.
ESPN FPI — Kentucky’s win probability in each game, using ESPN’s Power Football Index.
Actual Score — The actual score of the game, obviously.
Opening Line — The opening betting line on the game, via VegasInsider.com.
Closing Line — The betting line on the game at kickoff after taking into account the number of bets and money on each side.
The main takeaways from this first comparison are that Kentucky’s odds climbed in every SEC game on the schedule. We’ll see how it looks again this time next week once the results are in from the second weekend of football.