LINES AND ODDS
The sports books opened Stanford vs. Rice with the Cardinal favored by 38 points and has since moved to Stanford by 30 1⁄2. The change in the line reflects that early betters have laid more of their money down on the Rice Owls to cover the spread. That’s a huge amount of movement on a betting line! 7 1⁄2 points!
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 (which is at 51 1⁄2), the Vegas combo has Stanford winning 41-11.
Some computer rankings are designed to provide a built-in predictive element by comparing the ratings of two teams.
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.
Stanford is ranked #14 with a rating of 85.40.
Rice is ranked #132 with a rating of 54.02.
Sagarin’s formula currently values home field advantage as worth 2.41 points. But since this is a neutral site game in Sydney, Australia, this is irrelevant. So subtracting the difference between the ratings, Sagarin has Stanford favored by 31 1⁄2 points (31.38).
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 #20 with a rating of 99.146.
Rice is ranked #127 with a rating of 72.450.
The difference is 27 (rounded up from 26.696) points. Billingsley has Stanford by 27 points.
Donchess boils down the ratings directly into digestible scores and probabilities, no math required.
Donchess predicts a Stanford win 42-17 and gives Stanford a win probability of 96.8%.
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 #13 and Rice ranks #124.
This week everyone likes Stanford to win big this week Down Under.