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BYU vs. Savannah State: Odds, betting lines and computer predictions

Using data from Las Vegas and several computer predictors to get a hopefully-accurate preview for BYU's senior game against SSU.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

BYU got stuck with a hole in the schedule due to a broken contract, so this week we get to "enjoy" a football game against a not-so-formidable foe. Let's look at how BYU is expected to fare against the Savannah State Tigers 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

As happens in games against teams of SSU's profile, this game is off most books and is not available for betting.

PREDICTIVE RANKINGS

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.

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

F/+ ratings place BYU at #41 (-2). F/+ only rates FBS teams.

Current F/+ for opponents BYU has already played:
UConn - 95 (+3)
Texas - 53 (-)
Houston - 75 (-)
Virginia - 40 (-)
Utah State - 51 (-3)
UCF - 59 (+1)
Nevada - 56 (+3)
Boise State - 36 (-3)
Middle Tennessee - 83 (+4)
UNLV - 121 (+1)

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 favor BYU by 75 and give the Cougars a win probability of 98.6%, which I believe is the highest win probability available in F/+ picks.

SAGARIN

BYU is ranked #47 (-6) with a rating of 74.00
Savannah State is ranked #251 with a rating of 15.26

Sagarin ranks all of Division I, which is FBS (128 teams) and FCS (124 teams) -- a total of 252 teams. According to Sagarin, only the Football Steph Currys (Davidson) are worse than Savannah State.

Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as being worth 3.15 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and then adding 3.15 in favor of BYU, Sagarin favors BYU by 62 points (61.89).

BILLINGSLEY

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 #55 (-4) with a rating of 100.602
Savannah State is not rated, only FBS teams are rated by Billingsley.

DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING

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

Unfortunately, Donchess doesn't have a line on BYU this week.

ASHBY'S ACCURATING

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 does not have his rating updated this week, but no matter, Savannah State wouldn't be on it.

COMPOSITE RATING

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 114 computer ratings across the internet.

In that composite, BYU ranks #51, down slightly from 48 last week.

* * *
Well, at least you have an idea of where BYU stands among its FBS colleagues. Bill C and Sagarin give us the only possible beat on this game with BYU favored somewhere between 62 and 75. Earlier this season, the rushing attack of Georgia Southern piled up an 83-9 win on the Tigers. I feel bad for SSU's seniors. This is their last football game.