Early Analysis of the 2015 College Football Games of the Year

Videos by OutKick

On Friday afternoon, the Golden Nugget race and sports book released their annual “College Football Games of the Year” for 2015 in an event which generates a pilgrimage to the Vegas book the weekend they get released each year.  Earlier, Todd Fuhrman gave a good background on how the Nugget came up with these lines along with some other insight here.

Below are team summaries and lines organized by team.  Unlike most of these lists that will pop up on the news cycles, organizing by team (instead of date) is a far easier way to view the results.  The summary will show you which teams are favored the most and which the least.  Obviously, being “Games of the Year,” not all games are lined for each team.  As such, this isn’t the truest portrait of the 2014 games, but it certainly is the most accurate as of late June.

Your defending National Champions, the Ohio State Buckeyes, sit at the top of this list, being favored by an average of over 16 points in their 4 lined games.  But not far behind is TCU as the only other program favored by an average of over 2 TDs in multiple lined games.  Unsurprisingly, along with Alabama, these teams are favorites to win it all this year.

Alabama finds themselves favored in 8 of their 9 lined games, with their game in October vs Georgia being a pick-em.  On average, they were favored by just over 1 TD in these 9 games.  Fellow SEC rivals LSU and Georgia were also well regarded by the linemakers.

On the other end of the spectrum, the UNLV Rebels were lined in 6 games, but large underdogs in all of them.  Their “best” line was +12 but they were as high as +33 vs Michigan in Ann Arbor, the largest underdog lined in this release.  On average, UNLV was a +22 point underdog.

SEC teams who struggled in this release include South Carolina, who were dogs in 5 of their 6 lined games, by an average of almost 1 full TD, and Mississippi State, who were lined in 7 games and made underdogs in all of them.

In an interesting nugget on the team with the largest line swing, the Michigan Wolverines, now coached by Jim Harbaugh, are underdogs of 16 points at home to Ohio State, but are made favorites of 33 points at home vs UNLV.  That 49 point swing is the largest of any of the 2015 teams.

Some other interesting trends, tidbits and nuggets from a review of the lines:

Michigan is a +16 point underdog at home to Ohio State on 11/28.  Michigan has been home dogs of a TD or more to the Buckeyes only 3 times in the past 25 years and has never lost ATS.

Only once in 25 yrs have the Michigan Wolverines been home dogs of over 2 TDs to any opponent, but on 11/28 they catch +16 at home vs. Ohio State.

With Alabama being lined a pick-em in Georgia on 10/3, it marks the first time since 2008 that Alabama is not favored in a regular season game.  In 2008 they were not favored in 2 games and won both of them, but never since.

In more linemaker respect for Georgia, the Bulldogs play in Auburn 11/14 as a pick-em.  Its just the 3rd time since 2012 where Auburn was not favored at home.  They won both prior games.  Since 2009, Auburn is 7-3 ATS and 5-5 SU when not favored at home.

For just the 2nd time since 1998, the Florida State Seminoles are favored by over 2 TDs vs the Miami Hurricanes in Tallahassee.  The only other time was in 2013, where Florida State won 41-14.

The last time Mississippi visited the Florida Gators was 2008 as 22.5 point underdogs.  The Ole Miss Rebels won 31-30.  They are 6 point favorites IN Florida in 2015, where they are 4-0 ATS since 1985.

The past 4 trips to Stanford, Oregon has been an average -8 point favorite.  They are lined at a pick-em for their trip in 2015.

South Carolina have been lined as double digit road dogs only 3 times since 2008.  In their only 3 road games which have been lined for 2015, they are double digit dogs in all of them.

Not since 2007 has Tennessee been favored on the road vs the SEC – apart from games vs Vanderbilt or Kentucky- until 9/26 in the Swamp.  The Volunteers are 16-2 SU and 13-5 ATS as SEC road favorites since 2002.  It’s the best ATS win rate for any SEC school in that span.

Only once since 2009 has Wisconsin been made a double digit dog – vs Nebraska in 2012 (they covered).  On 9/5 to open the season they are +10 point dogs vs Alabama.

Up next, we will discuss the line swings between the 2015 meetings and the last time teams met, to see which teams are getting the most respect as compared to their prior meeting.

But for now, here’s how your team looks from a Vegas linemaker’s perspective in late June:

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.