Sports Betting - How to Create Your Own Power Ratings

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Most handicappers had Alabama on top of the power ratings for the 2015 college football season. Chris Graythen/Getty Images Sport

There are generally two types of sports bettors. There are those who pick up the schedule and look at the point spreads for each game and say, "Eight points is too many, I'm betting the underdog," or there are those who will pick up the schedule and compare the point spreads to their own numbers and say, "This team is favored by eight points, yet I only have them winning by three, so I'll bet the underdog."

The fact most successful sports bettors fall into the second category tells you all you need to know whether it's worth your time to keep power ratings for football and basketball.

Simply stated, power ratings are numbers that show the projected disparity between two teams in points from a mathematical perspective. While the point spread has to factor in public opinion, power ratings do not, and for that reason alone should be slightly more accurate than the point spread.

The easiest method of creating your power ratings is to let others do as much of the work for you as possible by using three or more sets of other published power ratings. Power ratings can be found in a number of newsletters, such as the Gold Sheet, Sports Reporter, Playbook, Pointwise, and USA Today. Using three or more different sets of ratings and creating an average tends to work better than just using one set of power ratings, for the simple fact that two heads are better than one.

Creating Your Numbers

Once you have your three sets of ratings, the first step is to take the highest rated team from each set and give them a base figure of 90 and add or subtract the same number of points for every other team. For example, if you used a set of power ratings that had LSU as the top-ranked college football team with a power rating of 64, you would add 26 points to LSU's total to get to 90 points and you would add 26 points to every other team listed on that particular set of power ratings.

If LSU is the top-ranked team in a different set of power ratings with a power rating of 102, you would subtract 12 points from LSU's figure to reach the base figure of 90 and then do the same for every other team in that set of power ratings. This is done so that all sets of power ratings carry the same weight and are in the same range as each other.

Once all of your sets of power ratings have the same base figure of 90, it's a matter of adding up the total of a particular team's power ratings and divide by the number of power ratings used. For example, if Boston College is rated 82, 85, and 88 in your three sets of power ratings, you divide 255 (82+85+88) by three to come up with a power rating of 85.

Your power ratings won't lead you to untold riches, but they will give you an edge. As difficult as it is to show a long-term profit in sports gambling, any edge a bettor can gain is worth taking advantage of.

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Moody, Allen. "Sports Betting - How to Create Your Own Power Ratings." ThoughtCo, Feb. 22, 2016, thoughtco.com/how-to-create-your-power-ratings-3116426. Moody, Allen. (2016, February 22). Sports Betting - How to Create Your Own Power Ratings. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-create-your-power-ratings-3116426 Moody, Allen. "Sports Betting - How to Create Your Own Power Ratings." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-create-your-power-ratings-3116426 (accessed November 20, 2017).