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

The November game against an FCS opponent has arrived. Using data from Las Vegas and several computer predictors to get a hopefully accurate preview for BYU’s game against Southern Utah.

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BYU v Cincinnati Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

A frustrating first half gave way to what ended up being a dominant road win last week as BYU dispatched of Cincinnati 20-3.

Now, BYU returns home for three games to end the season. Let’s take a look at what oddsmakers and computer predictions have to say about BYU against Southern Utah.

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


As happens with FBS vs. FCS games, BYU-SUU is not on as many sportsbooks. But at OddsShark, BYU is favored by 31 points. The over/under sits at 51.5.

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 BYU winning 41-10.


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.

BYU is ranked #27 (up 2) in the F/+ ratings. These ratings are FBS only and do not rate SUU.

In Bill’s predictions at Football Study Hall, his S&P+ gives BYU a 27-point edge with a 94% chance to win. In his F/+ prediction, the numbers also have BYU by 27. He does not make any ultimate picks for this game.


Sagarin does rate FBS and FCS teams together (for example, he has North Dakota State at #55 — there are 128 FBS teams.)

BYU is ranked #35 (up 4) with a rating of 77.96

Southern Utah is ranked #150 (just behind Fresno State) with a rating of 49.61.

Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.40 points.

So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding the home field advantage, Sagarin has BYU by 31 (30.75).


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 #36 (down 1) with a rating of 97.943

Southern Utah is not ranked.

Just for the exercise, if Billingsley hypothetically valued SUU the same as his worst FBS team, Rice, that rating would be 65.466. Using that value, and including that Billingsley doesn’t account for home field advantage, so adding a typical 3 points, he would have BYU by 35 (35.477).


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

Unfortunately, Donchess doesn’t predict FBS vs. FCS matchups.


Okay, so Sports-Reference doesn’t have a predictive component. But the previous one I had in this spot was never up to date, and S-R is a fantastic library of data and I want to give them some love.

Sports-Reference uses something it calls a Simple Ratings System (SRS). It describes SRS as “a rating that takes into account average point differential and strength of schedule.” The rating is expressed in points above/below average, with zero being average.

Right now, BYU currently ranks #39 (up 2) with an SRS of 24.97.


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 119 computer ratings across the internet.

In that composite, BYU ranks #39 (up 3).

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So, does BYU cover the spread at 27? Or at 31?