Thursday Night College Football Betting: Odds, Picks & Analysis for Buffalo-Kent State, UNC-Pitt

Thursday Night College Football Betting: Odds, Picks & Analysis for Buffalo-Kent State, UNC-Pitt article feature image

Rob Kinnan, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sam Howell

  • We break down both Thursday college football games from every betting angle, including updated odds, analysis and our picks.
  • Get everything you need to bet Pitt-UNC and Buffalo-Kent State here.

Buffalo at Kent State Odds

  • Spread: Buffalo -6
  • Over/Under: 56.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS Sports Network

Odds via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

Buffalo at Kent State Line Movement

Kent State has struggled to attract bettors this year (and pretty much every recent year for that matter). The only two games in which the Golden Flashes have generated a majority of bets have come against Akron and Kennesaw State, and Wednesday’s matchup looks to be another case of the norm. Seventy-five percent of bets accounting for 79% of money have hit Buffalo, sending the Bulls from -3.5 to -6.

The total has actually seen different sides attracting the majority of bets and majority of money. While 67% of bets are on the under, 61% of dollars have hit the over, and the number has risen from 55 to 56.5. — Danny Donahue

Collin Wilson: Kent State’s Offense Can Run with the Bulls

On the surface it may look like Buffalo, with its two conference losses, can contend for the MAC East Division crown. The reality is that the Bulls’ two losses came against Miami and Ohio, so they would lose head-to-head tiebreakers against both of those teams.

This is a must-win game for Kent State. The Golden Flashes come into this game with a 3-6 record, so they will need to win out to make a bowl game. Second-year head coach Sean Lewis has implemented plenty of changes at Dix Stadium, but the Flashes still have a long way to go if they want to win their first-ever bowl game.

Kent State will need to improve its rush defense to have a shot in this game. Toledo ran for almost 300 yards in the first half against the Flashes. Kent State did come back in the second half to cover the number, but avoiding a first-half slide against Buffalo’s rushing attack, which ranks 52nd in success rate, will go a long way in keeping this game close.

That will be easier said than done for a Kent State defense that ranks 123rd in opponent rushing success rate.

The Golden Flashes will rely on their capable offense to do the heavy lifting in this one. The Flashes have been explosive on the ground and have enjoyed moderate success through the air this season.

Last week, quarterback Dustin Crum led the Flashes back in the second half against Toledo, falling just short thanks to a missed two-point conversion. Crum should also have wide receiver Isaiah McKoy back in the huddle which would be a boost to an improving offense.

The Action Network’s projected spread for this game is Kent State -2, which is a stark contrast to the Buffalo steam that has moved this number to -6. As long as there are no injuries to Crum or suspensions looming for Kent State, I will look to back the Flashes in a must-win game.

The Bet: Kent State +6

[In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]

UNC at Pitt Betting Odds

  • Spread: Pitt -4
  • Over/Under: 50.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Odds via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150). No strings attached. No rollover required.

UNC at Pitt Line Movement

For the time being, bigger bettors have also been among the majority of bettors on this spread, as North Carolina has attracted 59% of bets making up 83% of actual money. The line has followed those bigger bettors, too, falling from Pitt -6 at some of the earliest books down to -4.

The total has similarly followed the bigger bets, as 47% of bets accounting for 71% of money on the over has helped drive the line from 49 to 50.5. — Danny Donahue

Collin Wilson: Will UNC Stick To the Script?

Pittsburgh has been a staple in my gambling portfolio for 2019. The Panthers covered the number against Central Florida and Penn State and have a perfect ATS record on the road. Pitt is the home team on Thursday night, so its away-from-home splits go out the window, but the Panthers will get a key contributor back against the Tar Heels.

Damar Hamlin, the team’s second-leading tackler, will return after missing Pitt’s last game against Georgia Tech. He will return to a defense that ranks first in the nation in passing success rate and fourth in sack rate.

North Carolina’s offensive line ranks 110th in sack rate, which suggests that Pitt will cause plenty of defensive havoc in this game. UNC head coach Mack Brown said his team will be committed to the run and keeping quarterback Sam Howell out of early passing downs will be key.

Our Action Network projections make this game Pitt -5.5 with a projected total of 54.5. Those numbers are relatively close to the market, which suggests passing on the side and total. However, I think Brown’s intention to run the ball, possibly even on second down in passing-down distance, directs me towards the Under.

North Carolina may need to abandon that strategy if Pitt gets a lead and considering the Heels have been a great second-half team this season, I’ll instead take a first-half under at the right price.

The Bet: First-Half Under 26 or better

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