BYU is reeling. And, nobody’s quite sure who will start at quarterback for the Cougars, either.
With Boise State coming to town, 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
Boise State is favored by 8 points at most Vegas sportsbooks after opening as a 7-point favorite. The over/under sits at 47 after opening at 44.
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 Boise State winning 28-20.
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 Boise State ranked #37 and BYU at #98.
Bill’s prediction using his S&P+ as posted on SB Nation has Boise State by 10.5 at 73% probability. His F/+ formula has Boise State by even more: Boise by 17 at 84%.
BYU is ranked #92 with a rating of 63.36.
Boise State is ranked #49 with a rating of 73.71
Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as worth 1.94 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding home-field points, Sagarin has Boise State by 8.5.
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 #72 with a rating of 93.492
Boise State is ranked #68 with a rating of 95.504
Billingsley’s numbers don’t typically factor in home-field advantage, so accounting for a standard three points at home, he has BYU by 1.
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
It has Boise State winning 30-25 at 68% probability.
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.
Boise State is currently ranked #47 with a rating of 6.43
BYU is currently ranked #111 with a rating of -9.81. Super duper below average :-(
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, Boise State ranks #54 and BYU ranks #104.
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Things are looking really bleak for the Cougars. It would be a pretty big upset to beat Boise State, but it’s what BYU needs to get off the mat.