Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE
Using Las Vegas odds to get a hopefully-accurate prediction for the Poinsettia Bowl.
BYU (7-5) faces the San Diego State Aztecs (9-3) in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 20. A win would put a positive cap on an otherwise meh/frustrating season. A loss would leave BYU fans wanting to strike the season from memory altogether. Let's check in on what Las Vegas is saying about the matchup.
This is, of course, for entertainment purposes only. While we don't encourage gambling, referencing predictions from the people who make money on predictions is far more useful than reading what sports journalists predict.
When the first sports book opened a line, BYU was a 2.5-point favorite and the over/under was set at 52.
It is important to note that for college odds, home-field advantage is generally considered to be worth 3 points. Normally a bowl would not include such considerations, but since San Diego State is playing in its own stadium, I will include that here. Jeff Sagarin, ratings master whose poll is part of the BCS computer rankings, calculates home-field advantage on a season-by-season basis. This season, Sagarin calculated home-field advantage to be worth 2.88 points.
After significant movement, here are where the lines sit now:
O/U is the over/under betting line -- it is a point total for both teams.
LVH: BYU by 2.5 | O/U 49
MGM: BYU by 3 | O/U 49
Hill: BYU by 3 | O/U 49
Wynn: BYU by 2.5 | O/U 48.5
Caesars: BYU by 2.5 | O/U 49
Stations: BYU by 2.5 | O/U 49
The books are in agreement, and the lines are looking very similar to BYU's game against San Jose State. According to the combination of the odds and the over/under, BYU wins by the score of 26-23.
In Sagarin's ratings, BYU is rated at 78.62 points and SDSU is rated at 73.86 -- a difference of 4.76. Factor in the 2.88 points for the Aztecs' home field advantage, and Sagarin's formula has BYU as a 1.88-point favorite. Using Sagarin's spread, BYU wins 25-23.
Does the spread and over/under make sense? Will San Diego State score 23 points on BYU's defense? Can we even formulate an educated response if we don't know which quarterback plays for the Cougars?