The longest week of the late summer is winding down. BYU fans have to wait one less day than most college football fans, but the visions of the Go Fast Go Hard Go Long offense sending the men, women, and children of East Hartford into hiding are starting to keep us up at night. Kickoff can't come soon enough.
Let's take a look at betting lines, odds, and computer predictions to see where things stand as we anticipate the kick of BYU at UConn.
(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 the first sports books opened lines this week, BYU was favored by 17 points and the over/under was set at 51 points. (The over/under is a point total for both teams combined.)
Not much has changed. Consensus across a variety of books has BYU still a 16.5-point favorite with the over/under still at 51 points.
When you combine the line with the over-under, Vegas consensus has BYU winning by the score of 34-17.
PREDICTIVE COMPUTER RANKINGS
These computer ratings and rankings will become much more valuable as games are played. For now, I'll take anything I can get because ... football.
Some computer rankings are designed to provide a built-in predictive element by comparing the ratings of two teams.
The most famous of these 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.
BYU is ranked #35 with a rating of 78.29.
UConn is ranked #101 with a rating of 62.30
Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as being worth 3.12 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and then adding 3.12 in favor of UConn, Sagarin favors BYU by 13 points (12.87).
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 #26 with a rating of 103.041
UConn is ranked #99 with a rating of 82.893
The difference is 20.148. Billingsley does not provide a home-field advantage factor but I'll apply the standard 3 points and say Billingsley favors BYU by 17 points.
Ashby gives a point spread value and an over/under value to each team, and awards 3 points to the home team for home-field advantage.
BYU is ranked #28 with a spread value of 60, over/under value of 27
UConn is ranked #98 with a spread value of 40, over/under value of 27
His rating favors BYU by 17 after accounting for home-field advantage. With the combined over/under values at 54, the combination would predict a BYU win by the score of about 35-19.
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
Donchess predicts a BYU victory 31-20 and gives BYU a win probability of 87%.
Quickly, I'll mention a couple ratings that do rank teams but do not provide values by which to predict a head-to-head matchup.
One is from Brian Fremeau, who ranks BYU #31 and UConn #70.
The other is from Kenneth Massey. Massey's ratings were also part of the old BCS computer formula, but on his site he hosts a composite ranking of 46 computer ratings across the internet. In that composite, BYU ranks #30, Uconn ranks #94.
At a certain point in the season, Football Outsiders will begin providing their amazing advanced analytics and I'll pull those in at that time.
For now, BYU is favored anywhere between 11-17 points and is very much expected to win this game.