The only group more weary from losing than the fans is the team. BYU needs a win in a bad way against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders this week.
Let's look at how BYU is expected to fare against Middle Tennessee from sportsbooks and predictors.
(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 interesting.)
LINES AND ODDS
When sports books opened lines on the game, BYU was favored by 9. The line has plummeted as bettors rightly have shown skepticism about BYU. BYU is favored by 4. The over/under opened at 65 and is now down to 63.
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 BYU winning 33-29.
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. It's notable that most of these are based on games played and have no way to compensate for injuries or suspensions, they simply calculate success rates and points per play, etc, on actual game play.
FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS F/+
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.
F/+ ratings place BYU at #41 (-7) and Middle Tennessee at #81.
For comparison, current F/+ for opponents BYU has already played:
UConn - 101 (+3)
Texas - 67 (-4)
Houston - 78 (-1)
Virginia - 36 (-6)
Utah State - 58 (-5)
UCF - 57 (-6)
Nevada - 61 (-9)
Boise State - 31 (+14)
F/+ picks were changed a month ago to adjust more for pace of play, resulting in some higher score predictions in an attempt to more accurately peg the margin of victory. What's important in the F/+ picks are the MOV and the win probability.
F/+ picks has BYU favored by 21 with a BYU win probability of 80%.
BYU is ranked #50 (-6 from last week) with a rating of 72.71
Middle Tennessee is ranked #91 with a rating of 63.64
Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as being worth 3.28 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and then adding 3.28 in favor of MT, Sagarin favors BYU by 6 points (5.79).
Billingsley's ranking was also previously used by the BCS. With the BCS restriction to remove margin of victory out of consideration, Billingsley has created a version of his formula that accounts for MOV.
BYU is ranked #62 (-6) with a rating of 97.785
MT is ranked #83 with a rating of 92.453
The difference is 5.332 on a neutral field. Billingsley does not provide a home-field advantage factor, but I'll apply the standard 3 points and say Billingsley favors BYU by 2 (2.332).
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
Donchess predicts a BYU win 34-23 and gives BYU a win probability of 78%.
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.
BYU is ranked #50 with a spread value of 56, over-under value of 31
MT is ranked #78 with a spread value of 44, over-under value of 30
On a neutral field, BYU is favored by 12. Applying the standard 3 points for home field advantage, BYU is favored by 9, winning by the score of 35-26.
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 117 computer ratings across the internet.
In that composite, BYU ranks #59 (-8) and Middle Tennessee ranks #67.
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BYU is favored across the board, but I'd venture a guess that those methods showing a comfortable BYU win still use too much data from the first four games when Taysom Hill was playing.