clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

BYU vs. Utah: Odds, betting lines and computer predictions

Using data from Las Vegas and several computer predictors to get a hopefully accurate preview for the BYU-Utah rivalry game.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl - Brigham Young v Utah Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Utah played it close to the vest in a ho-hum game against Southern Utah.

BYU was efficient and controlled the ball, but couldn’t score consistently and needed a baby-faced freshman to save the day with a kick.

Now, for the second time in three games for each team, it’s rivalry time once again.

Let's take a look at odds and predictions ahead of Holy War 2016.

(This is, of course, for entertainment purposes only. While we don't encourage gambling, referencing predictions from the people who make money on predictions can be fun!)


Utah is favored by 3.5 points at most Vegas sportsbooks after opening as a 4.5-point favorite. The over/under sits at 45 (it opened at 50.5).

Vegas lines and odds aren't necessarily meant to predict, but to entice betting. However, combining the line and the over/under usually ends up close to some computer models. At the very least, it's fun.

Combining the line and the over/under, the Vegas combo has Utah winning 24-21.


Some computer rankings are designed to provide a built-in predictive element by comparing the ratings of two teams.

Some of the best ratings out there come from Football Outsiders. The most famous is Jeff Sagarin's for USA Today, previously used in the BCS computer rankings, but I've gathered a couple others from around the web as well.


F/+ is a combination of Bill Connelly's S&P+ and Brian Fremeau's FEI ratings. The ratings are usually pretty solid in factoring all the many variables involved in ranking college football teams that have a relatively low level of common opponents.

Football Outsiders site only lists the ratings in order, but Connelly posts predictions on his SB Nation site Football Study Hall.

After Week 1, F/+ ranking puts BYU at #26 and Utah at #33.

In Bill’s predictions at Football Study Hall, he likes Utah to pick up a very close win.

In his S&P/+ prediction, he has Utah winning 21-19 with a 53.8% win probability, about as close as you’re going to find to a coin flip on the stats sheet. His F/+ also has Utah, by 1.6 points.


BYU is ranked #41 with a rating of 75.66

Utah is ranked #31 with a rating of 79.43

Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.61 points.

So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding the home field advantage, Sagarin has Utah favored by 6 (6.38).


Billingsley's ranking was also previously used by the BCS. With the BCS restriction to remove margin of victory no longer a consideration, Billingsley has created a version of his formula that accounts for MOV.

BYU is ranked #46 with a rating of 90.988

Utah is ranked #24 with a rating of 98.485

Billingsley doesn’t account for home field advantage, so adding a typical 3 points, he has has Utah favored by 10 (10.497).


Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.

Donchess predicts a Utah win 29-24 and gives the Utes a win probability of 67%.


Ashby's Accurating provides a point spread value for each team, which is subtracted from each other after adding 3 points to the home team. Accurating also provides an over/under value for each team, which are added together for the game's over/under.

Ashby’s rating is sometimes slow, and we’ll update it a post-week-one rating goes live. Otherwise, it’s not currently up to date.


There are a lot of computer ratings that aren't packaged with a predictive ability. There are also a ton of computer ratings, period. Kenneth Massey, whose ratings were also part of the old BCS computer formula, hosts on his site a composite ranking of what is currently 55 computer ratings across the internet.

In that composite, BYU ranks #32 and Utah ranks #22.

* * *

It looks like Utah is the runaway favorite everywhere except Las Vegas, but many of the advanced stats and metrics think it’s going to be a pretty close game. Recent history would agree.

What are your predictions?