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

Let’s look at data from Las Vegas and several computer predictors to get a hopefully accurate preview for BYU’s road game against Mississippi State.

Mississippi State v BYU Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

The Cougars nose-dive continued last week and doesn’t look to get any easier this week on the road in an SEC environment. We already know that Tanner Mangum is going to start at QB on Saturday, but real question is if we will see a new QB on the field by the time we are eating lunch.

With Mississippi hosting the Cougars, let’s take a look at what oddsmakers and computer predictions have to say about the matchup.

(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!)

LINES AND ODDS

Mississippi State is favored by 24 points at most Vegas sportsbooks after opening as a 21-point favorite. The over/under sits at 48.5 after opening at 46.5.

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 Mississippi State winning 36-12.

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.

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 predictions on SB Nation.

F/+ ratings have Mississippi State ranked #36 and BYU at #103.

Bill’s prediction using his S&P+ as posted on SB Nation has Mississippi State by 20.1 at 87.7% probability. His F/+ formula has Mississippi State by even more: Mississippi by 25 at 92.6%.

SAGARIN

BYU is ranked #94 with a rating of 62.25.

Mississippi State is ranked #38 with a rating of 76.08

Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as worth 1.97 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding home-field points, Sagarin has Mississippi State by 16.

BILLINGSLEY

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 #82 with a rating of 90.594

Mississippi State is ranked #23 with a rating of 102.818

Billingsley’s numbers don’t typically factor in home-field advantage, so accounting for a standard three points at home, he has Mississippi State by 15.

DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING

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

It has Mississippi State winning 37-21 at 88% probability.

SPORTS-REFERENCE

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.

Mississippi State is currently ranked #29 with a rating of 10.18

BYU is currently ranked #108 with a rating of -9.32. Super duper below average :-(

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 what is currently 87 computer ratings across the internet.

In that composite, Mississippi State ranks #28 and BYU ranks #110.

* * *

Once again the number are throwing the Cougars to the wolves, however, an upset is only a touchdown away. In this case we may need to change that to multiple touchdowns away. If the Cougars can somehow pull off the victory in SEC country, that could be the turning point of the season that Sitake has been talking about.