Using data from Las Vegas and several computer predictors to get a hopefully-accurate preview for BYU's trip to Austin to take on the Longhorns.
The betting lines and odds for BYU's rubber match with Texas will probably end up being the closest lines of BYU's season. Computer number crunchers aren't as convinced. Let's take a look at where all of these stand as kickoff approaches.
(This is, of course, for entertainment purposes only. While we don't encourage gambling, referencing predictions from the people who make money on predictions can be interesting.)
LINES AND ODDS
When sports books opened lines on the game, Texas was favored by 4.5 points and the over/under was 51 points. These lines opened around the same time it became known starting senior center Dom Espinosa (40 career starts) had a broken ankle and is out for the season.
Then the bottom started to fall out for Texas: Starting QB David Ash was announced to have concussion symptoms again. He won't play against BYU and may not play again. Most books pulled the BYU-Texas line off the board. When it came back, Texas was favored by 2 or 2.5.
After the line re-posted, Texas announced the suspensions of offensive tackles Kennedy Estelle and Desmond Harrison. Estelle was a starter, too, and the Longhorns now have a combined 4 offensive line starts along the O-line that will start against BYU.
Bettors took notice. BYU is now a one-point favorite on most books (Wynn still has Texas at -1 and the Mirage shows a pick 'em) and the over/under has plummeted to 46.
Combining the line and the over/under, the Vegas combo consensus has BYU winning 24-23 or 23-22.
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. It's notable that most of these are based on games played and have no way to compensate for injuries and suspension.
FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS F/+
F/+ is a combination of Bill Connelly's S&P+ and Brian Fremeau's FEI ratings. And it's usually pretty solid. Football Outsiders site only lists the ratings in order, but Connelly posts F/+ predictions on his SB Nation site Football Study Hall.
F/+ has BYU at #28 and Texas at #32. The prediction at Football Study Hall says Texas wins 23-21 with a 60.6% win probability.
Texas is ranked #24 with a rating of 82.48
BYU is ranked #32 with a rating of 78.79
Sagarin's formula currently values home field advantage as being worth 3.16 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and then adding 3.16 in favor of Texas, Sagarin favors Texas by 7 points (6.85).
Billingsley's ranking was also previously used by the BCS. With the BCS restriction to remove margin of victory out of consideration, Billingsley has created a version of his formula that accounts for MOV.
Texas is ranked #19 with a rating of 106.331
BYU is ranked #24 with a rating of 103.911
The difference is 2.42. Billingsley does not provide a home-field advantage factor but I'll apply the standard 3 points and say Billingsley favors Texas by 5.5 points (5.42).
Ashby has not updated his accurating after week one. Where you at?
DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
Donchess predicts a Texas victory 27-22 and gives the Longhorns a win probability of 68%.
There are a lot of computer ratings that don't package a predictive ability into them. Kenneth Massey, whose ratings were also part of the old BCS computer formula, hosts on his site a composite ranking of 56 computer ratings across the internet. In that composite, Texas ranks #20, BYU ranks #30.
So in the worlds where only numbers matter, Texas is a 5-7 point favorite, although the highly-respected F/+ only gives Texas two points. In the world where people are laying down money on games based on injury and suspension news, BYU is being given a slight edge.
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