We’ll find out this week how rest and a new QB will combine for BYU as it comes off a bye.
The Cougars (4-3) host Northern Illinois (4-3) in a game that kicks off at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, on ESPNU.
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
BYU is favored by 7 points and the over/under is 42.
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.
Combining the line and the over/under, the betting combo has BYU winning about 24-17.
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.
Bill Connelly’s S&P+ is 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.
Connelly’s S&P+ has BYU ranked #79 (+7). Northern Illinois is #78.
Bill’s prediction using his S&P+ as posted on SB Nation has BYU winning 24-21 (winning the game but not covering the spread).
BYU is ranked #71 (+1) with a rating of 68.68
Northern Illinois is ranked #79 with a rating of 67.56
Sagarin’s formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.47 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding home-field points, Sagarin has BYU by 3.5.
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 #62 (+2) with a rating of 93.436
NIU is ranked #72 with a rating of 91.967
Using the ratings and a standard three points for home field advantage, Billingsley has BYU by 4.5.
DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
This rating has BYU winning 28-24 at a 66% probability.
Sports-Reference doesn’t have a predictive component. But 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.
BYU is ranked #67 (+13) with a rating of 1.79. NIU is #84 with a rating of -1.18.
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 105 computer ratings across the internet.
In that composite, BYU ranks #66 (+2). NIU ranks #72.
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What do you think of the predictions? Can BYU score against NIU’s tough defense?