BYU needs a road win in SEC country to avoid a rough start, while Tennessee wants redemption after getting handled by Georgia State.
Welcome to Week 2 of college football.
The game kicks off at 5 p.m. MST Saturday on ESPN.
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
Tennessee is favored by 4.5 points after opening at 3.5, and the over/under is 52.5.
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 Tennessee winning about 28-24.
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.
Bill Connelly, now at ESPN and creator of SP+ — “a tempo- and opponent-adjusted measure of college football efficiency” by his own definition — uses his formula to tabulate predictive probabilities.
Connelly has Tennessee winning 42-33 at 70% probability.
BYU is ranked #76 (-5) with a rating of 68.02
Tennessee is ranked #77 with a rating of 67.99
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 Tennessee by 2.2.
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 #55 (-2). Tennessee is ranked #88.
New to his site, Billingsley gives a direct spread prediction. This week: BYU by 3.6.
DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
This rating has Tennessee winning 23-22 at a 52.6% probability (the exact same score and probability as BYU-Utah).
RANKING BY POSITION
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.
It draws on only the current season’s results, so early on it will be a bit funky.
For now, BYU is ranked 71st with a rating of 0.00 and Tennessee is ranked 101st with a rating of 0.00.
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 51 computer ratings across the internet.
BYU is ranked #70 (-13) while Tennessee is ranked #84.