Hoo boy. Here we go.
9 in a row?
The game kicks off at 8:15 p.m. MST Thursday on ESPN (or, when UCLA-Cincinnati inevitably goes past its ESPN time slot, more like 8:25 p.m. on ESPNEWS until UCLA-Cincinnati is over).
Let’s take a look at what oddsmakers and computer predictions have to say about the matchup. It’s more varied than you might think.
(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 6.5 points after opening at 7 and the over/under is 47.
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 27-20.
Some computer rankings are designed to provide a built-in predictive element by comparing the ratings of two teams.
The most famous of computer ratings 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.
BYU is ranked #71 with a rating of 69.62
Utah is ranked #22 with a rating of 81.18
Sagarin’s formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.25 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and adding home-field points, Sagarin has Utah by 9.3.
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 #53. Utah is ranked #17.
New to his site, Billingsley gives a direct spread prediction. This week: Utah by 5.5.
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
This rating has Utah winning 23-22 at a 52.6% probability.
RANKING BY POSITION
Football Outsiders S&P rankings aren’t updated for 2019 until games are played. To end 2018, it had BYU is ranked #46 nationally and Utah ranked #17.
S-R is a fantastic library of data so make sure you support them by clicking through to the site and perusing.
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.
Since it only draws on the current season’s results, it does not begin until after Week 1. To end last season, SRS had BYU ranked #54 and Utah ranked #24.
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 46 computer ratings across the internet.
BYU is ranked #57 while Utah is ranked #19.