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Stanford vs. Colorado: Odds, betting lines, and computer predictions

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A look at the data from Las Vegas and several computer predictors to preview Saturday's contest between the Cardinal and Buffaloes.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Stanford's last road game of the season comes at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado. The last time Stanford played Colorado was in 2012 when the Cardinal traveled to Folsom Field and recorded a victory by the score of 48-0. Stanford leads the all-time series with Colorado with 5 victories and 3 losses.

What will happen this time around? Well, lets take a look at what the bookies and computers think.

LINES AND ODDS

The sports books opened Stanford at Colorado with the Cardinal favored by 16 points and has not moved.

Vegas lines and odds aren't meant to be predictive. They are made to entice betting in equal portions on each side of the spread. However, combining the line and the over/under usually ends up close to some computer models. After all, Vegas is very good at this and it is a lot of fun.

Combining the line and the over/under, the Vegas combo has Stanford winning 36-20.

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. I've included a couple others from around the web as well.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS F/+

F/+ is a combination of Bill Connelly's S&P+ and Brian Fremeau's FEI ratings. The ratings are 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 his SB Nation site Football Study Hall.

The F/+ ratings list Stanford #12 and Colorado #93.

Bill's S&P+ picks predicted Stanford by 10 over Washington State. This week, S&P+ picks have Stanford by a massive 19 points (winning 40-21) and give Stanford a win probablity of 86.3%. Connelly picks Stanford to cover the -16 Vegas spread.

SAGARIN

Stanford is ranked #10 with a rating of 88.46.

Colorado is ranked #87 with a rating of 64.5.

Sagarin’s formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.78 points. So subtracting the difference between the ratings and then adding 2.78 in favor of Colorado, Sagarin has Stanford favored by 21 points (21.18).

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 margin of victory.

Stanford is ranked #8 with a rating of 111.864.

Colorado is ranked #65 with a rating of 98.498.

The difference is 13.5 (rounded up from 13.366) points on a neutral field. Billingsley does not provide a home-field advantage factor, but lets apply the standard 3 points and say Billingsley has Stanford by 10.5 points.

DONCHESS INFERENCE RATING

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

Donchess predicts a Stanford win 40-19 and gives Stanford a win probability of 89.6%.

ASHBY'S ACCURATING

Ashby's Accurating provides a point spread value for each team, which is subtracted from each other after adding 3 points to the home team. Accurating also provides an over/under value for each team, which are added together for the game's over/under.

Stanford is ranked #9 with a point spread value of 68 and over/under value of 27.

Colorado is ranked #80 with a point spread value of 48 and over/under value of 29.

On a neutral field, Stanford is favored by 20. Adding 3 points for home field advantage, Stanford is favored by 17 with an expected score of Stanford 37 Colorado 20.

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 106 computer ratings across the internet.

In that composite, Stanford ranks #11 and Colorado ranks #88.

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The gap between these two programs this season is vast. As such, so too are the point spread predictions. While Colorado has shown that they can be troublesome at times against UCLA on the road and home to Arizona (games that they still ended up losing), this is still a team that lost to lowly Hawaii in their season opener. There isn't much reason to expect that the predictive formulas are off as they calculate Saturday's matchup between Colorado and Stanford.