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

Using data from Las Vegas and several computer predictors that might give us an accurate preview for BYU’s game against New Mexico State.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

BYU traveled across the country and steadily wore down Massachusetts.

The Cougars (5-5) now host New Mexico State (3-7) in a game that kicks off at 8:15 p.m. MST Saturday, Nov. 17, on ESPN2. BYU can lock up bowl eligibility this week before playing Utah.

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 24 points and the over/under is 56.

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 40-16.

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.

CONNELLY’S S&P+

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 #66 (+4). NMSU is #121.

Bill’s prediction using his S&P+ as posted on SB Nation has BYU winning 38-17 (winning the game comfortably but not covering the large spread).

SAGARIN

BYU is ranked #71 (+2) with a rating of 68.99

NMSU is ranked #163 with a rating of 46.86

Sagarin’s formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.41 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding home-field points, Sagarin has BYU by 24.5

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 #58 (+3) with a rating of 96.393

NMSU is ranked #128 with a rating of 78.126

Using the ratings and a standard three points for home field advantage, Billingsley has BYU by 21.

DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING

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

This rating has BYU winning 44-19 at a 96% probability.

SPORTS-REFERENCE

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 #66 (+5) with a rating of 1.62. NMSU is #127 with a rating of -17.35.

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 105 computer ratings across the internet.

Unfortunately this week, Massey’s website was not reachable at the time this article was completed. Oh no!

***

So BYU fans, what do you think? On paper, this is the easiest, most winnable game on the schedule.