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BYU vs. Utah: 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 rivalry game against Utah.

Utah v BYU Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Well, it’s that time.

Can BYU (6-5) finally break through or will it be eight in a row for Utah (8-3)?

The game kicks off at 8 p.m. MST Saturday on FS1.

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

Utah is favored by 11.5 points after opening at 13.5 and the over/under is 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.

Combining the line and the over/under, the betting combo has Utah winning about 28-16.

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 #53 (+13). Utah is #12.

Bill’s prediction using his S&P+ as posted on SB Nation has Utah winning 32-19.

SAGARIN

BYU is ranked #70 (+1) with a rating of 69.30

Utah is ranked #14 with a rating of 84.53

Sagarin’s formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.33 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding home-field points, Sagarin has Utah by 17.5

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 #56 (+2) with a rating of 97.740

Utah is ranked #15 with a rating of 106.983

Using the ratings and a standard three points for home field advantage, Billingsley has Utah by 12.

DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING

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

This rating has Utah winning 33-20 at a 82% 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 #64 (+2) with a rating of 1.98. Utah is #17 with a rating of 12.04.

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 113 computer ratings across the internet.

BYU is ranked #61 while Utah is ranked #15.