With a last-minute field goal, BYU had a nice entry into a list of backdoor beats to cover the spread against UConn last week -- depending on the book and when your bet was placed. You know, if you do that.
Let's look at how BYU is expected to fair hosting East Carolina.
(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
BYU is favored by 8 points at most Vegas sportsbooks, staying about where the line opened. The over/under sits at 56.5, up from 44-ish in BYU's last two games.
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 32-24.
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.
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.
The F/+ ratings list BYU #33 (+1) and East Carolina #62.
Bill's S&P+ picks more accurately predicted a Michigan blowout over BYU than any other formula. Against ECU, S&P+ picks have BYU by 13 points (winning 35-22) and give BYU a win probability of 78%. Connelly picks BYU to cover the spread.
BYU is ranked #38 (-1) with a rating of 77.90
East Carolina is ranked #63 with a rating of 70.60
Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.71 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and then adding 2.71 in favor of BYU, Sagarin has BYU favored by 10 (10.01).
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 #32 (-3) with a rating of 103.135
East Carolina is ranked #62 with a rating of 97.455
The difference is 5.68 on a neutral field. Billingsley does not provide a home-field advantage factor, but I'll apply the standard 3 points and say Billingsley has BYU favored by 8.5.
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
Donchess predicts a BYU win 35-25 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 #29 (no change from last week) with a point spread value of 58 and over/under value of 29.
East Carolina is ranked #59 (+11) with a point spread value of 51 and over/under value of 32.
On a neutral field, BYU is favored by 7. Adding 3 points for home field advantage, BYU is favored by 10 with an expected score of 35-25.
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 92 computer ratings across the internet. That number of rankings compiled into this composite can balloon over 100 as the season progresses.
In that composite, BYU ranks #36 (no change) and East Carolina ranks #56.
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BYU is expected to win somewhat comfortably, but will ECU's shake up at quarterback toss odds and predictions out the window? Kick is Saturday, 5:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU.