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BYU vs. Washington: Odds, betting lines and computer predictions

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A road game as a huge underdog against a ranked team? Seems familiar. Data from Las Vegas and several computer predictors might give us an accurate preview for BYU’s game against Washington.

Fight Hunger Bowl - BYU v Washington Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

It’s another road game against a ranked opponent but this time, it’s a ranked-vs-ranked affair.

The #20 Cougars (3-1) hit the road to take on #11 Washington (3-1).

The game kicks at 6:30 p.m. MT Saturday, Sept. 29, on FOX.

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!)

HISTORY

A little extra historical tidbit for you, considering BYU’s win at Wisconsin as a 20+ point underdog:

LINES AND ODDS

Washington is favored by 17 points and the over/under is 45.5.

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.

Combining the line and the over/under, the betting combo has Washington winning about 31-14.

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 #59 (-18). Washington is #7.

Bill’s prediction using his S&P+ as posted on SB Nation has Washington winning 36-13.

SAGARIN

BYU is ranked #52 (+9) with a rating of 73.11

Washington is ranked #7 with a rating of 89.53

Sagarin’s formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.70 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding home-field points, Sagarin has Washington by 19 (19.12).

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 #47 (-3) with a rating of 94.036

Washington is ranked #9 with a rating of 102.458

Using the ratings and a standard three points for home field advantage, Billingsley has Washington by 11.5 (11.422).

DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING

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

This rating has Washington winning 38-18 at a 90% 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 has launched up to #37 with a rating of 26.68. Washington is only two spots higher at #35 with a rating of 27.16.

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 74 computer ratings across the internet.

In that composite, BYU ranks #40 (+14). Washington ranks #13.

* * *

Consensus has Washington a heavy favorite but some ratings seem to show it’s a closer margin. What do you think, Cougar fans?