Friday College Football Betting Odds & Picks for Penn St-Maryland, Duke-VaTech, Arizona St-Cal, More
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured Eno Benjamin and Jayden Daniels
- We've got a glorious four-game college football slate on tap for Friday night, and you can be sure we'll be betting them.
- Below are the updated odds, some betting picks and insights for Duke-Virginia Tech, Penn State-Maryland, San Jose State-Air Force and Arizona State-Cal.
Another Friday night, another nice slate of college football games to bet.
We’ve got 6.5+ hours of action tonight, starting with Duke at Virginia Tech (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), Penn State at Maryland (8 p.m. ET on FS1), San Jose State at Air Force (8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) and some #Pac12AfterDark shenanigans between Arizona State and Cal (10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).
Below we’ve compiled some of our favorite betting insights for all four games, plus our experts’ picks. Let’s get to it.
All odds as of Thursday evening and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Friday College Football Betting Odds & Picks
Duke at Virginia Tech Odds & Picks
- Spread: Virginia Tech -2.5
- Over/Under: 52
- Time: Friday, 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Buy Low on Virginia Tech?
By Collin Wilson
These two programs are very familiar with one another. David Cutcliffe has been in charge of Duke’s football program since 2008 and Bud Foster has been running Va Tech’s defense since 1987. But this series has been one-sided for a long time.
Duke hasn’t defeated the Hokies since 2015 and has just two victories in its last 15 tries against Virginia Tech.
Despite their slow start to the season, the Hokies still have a positive yards per play (YPP) differential at +0.75, while Duke has a negative differential at -0.11. Despite the loss to Boston College and a close win against Furman, Virginia Tech ranks inside the top 40 in total defense and inside the top 10 in sack rate.
Virginia Tech quarterback Ryan Willis had one of his best games of 2018 against the Blue Devils, throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns. He was buoyed by completing 7 of 9 third-down passes for over 100 yards. This season the Hokies rank 14th in 3rd Down Conversions at 52%.
I also think the Virginia Tech defense could have an advantage thanks to its performance against Furman. The Hokies fell behind Furman, 14-3, but both touchdown drives began in Virginia Tech territoy and the Hokies allowed just 163 yards on the ground against a triple-option offense.
That experience should help them against the Blue Devils, who have shown the triple option against both Alabama and Middle Tennessee State. The Hokies should be well prepared for any Blue Devil offensive formation.
We project a total of 50.5 points, so the Over/Under isn’t that appealing to me, but the spread is a different story. Our projected spread for this game is Virginia Tech -8 and SP+ has the Hokies as a 1.7-point favorite on a neutral field.
I’m believing in our projections and rolling with the short home favorite in a buy-low spot.
Pick: Virginia Tech -2.5 or better
A Hesitant Play on VaTech
Like Collin, I played Virginia Tech because of the value in the number, but I don’t feel great about it after watching the Hokies’ first three games.
That said, the bye week may have served them well in the injury department, as three key starters who went down in the opener against Boston College may be back. Starting defensive end TyJuan Garbutt could return, which would certainly help the defense. And more importantly, the offensive line, which has seen three different sets of starters in three games (never good for an O-line) may get two starters back in T.J. Jackson and Zachariah Hoyt.
As a result of the injuries and some other factors, the Hokies had been forced to play three freshmen along the offensive line the past two games and it has been a nightmare.
Pick: Virginia Tech -2.5 or better
Penn State at Maryland Odds
- Spread: Penn State -6.5
- Over/Under: 61.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: FS1
- Location: College Park, Maryland
This Price Is Flattering Penn State Too Much
Penn State is undefeated, ranked No. 12 in the nation and has owned Maryland in this series. The Nittany Lions are 39-2-1 against the Terrapins all-time and have won their two most recent meetings by a combined score of 104-6.
But what have the Nittany Lions really done in 2019?
They’ve played three home games.
- A blowout over Idaho. Meaningless.
- A 32-point win over Buffalo looks impressive but they trailed at the half, were out-gained 429-357 and lost the time of possession 42:32-17:28.
- And then last week in their only real test of the season, they held on to beat Pitt 17-10 in another game they were out-gained in.
Color me unimpressed.
The offense isn’t in rhythm with new quarterback Sean Clifford. He hasn’t been accurate, but even when he’s been hitting receivers, they have had issues holding onto the ball. The timing of the entire passing offense seems off, which is something that the Nittany Lions had to overcome last season, as well.
I think it’s a product of offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne, as this offense just hasn’t looked as potent since Joe Moorhead left Happy Valley to take over at Mississippi State.
This is a tough spot for a young offense to get the passing game right as Maryland’s defense has been terrific against the run. Both the Nittany Lions and Terps feature top-10 defenses against the run, but Maryland’s got a star running back in Anthony McFarland.
No primary back has stepped up as the next “guy” at Penn State, while McFarland is the clear star of the show at Maryland. In a game where I expect two stout run defenses to dare the offenses to throw downfield, I’ll give Josh Jackson the edge over Clifford. More importantly, I trust McFarland to break a few more runs.
The Terps just aren’t that far off behind Penn State from a power ratings perspective
Pick: Maryland at +6 or better and I’m also considering the Under.
San Jose State at Air Force Betting Odds & Pick
- Spread: Air Force -19
- Over/Under: 55.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
- Location: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Why Air Force Has Value
By Collin Wilson
Those projections don’t account for situational spots or certain advanced statistics.
San Jose State and third-year head coach Brent Brennan are coming off a 31-24 triumph over Arkansas. It was San Jose State’s second win over an FBS opponent since 2017 and was easily the program’s biggest win since 2006. Prior to their $1.5 million trip to Fayetteville, San Jose State was 0-14 in revenue games, losing by a combined score of 551-177.
Do not let the victory at Arkansas fool you into thinking the Spartans are contenders in the Mountain West. San Jose State sits outside the top 100 in plenty of categories. They rank near the bottom of the list in offensive line yards, stuff rate, total defense, sack rate and opponent 3rd down conversion rate.
San Jose State’s poor rush defense now has to take on one of the nation’s elite ground attacks in Colorado Springs, which has an elevation of 6,035 feet. Air Force should exhaust the Spartans, who have lost by a combined score of 82-16 in their two previous trips to Falcon Stadium.
Air Force averages the third-most rushing yards per game this season and its offensive line grades out in the top five in line yards, opportunity rate and stuff rate.
San Jose State will likely go to the air on offense but the Spartans will be met by a sturdy Air Force defense that ranks 35th in opponent passing yards. The Falcons have allowed just six passes of at least 20 yards this season.
This is a bad spot for San Jose State off a program-defining victory. The Falcons have Navy on deck, so Troy Calhoun will do everything against San Jose State to keep the triple-option humming.
The elevation will help Air Force, but expect a lockdown defense and one of the nation’s leading rush attacks to cover the spread.
This line has bounced around between -18 and -19 for a few days, so be sure to find the best number around the market.
The Pick: Air Force -18 or better
How to Play the Over/Under
By Kyle Miller
The Spartans offense has a much more challenging task this week as Air Force has one of the best group of five defenses in the country. I don’t see them having much success at all through the air which means Air Force will have the ball a bunch.
Air Force runs the triple option so you know the clock will be ticking for most of the game. The Falcons aren’t known for explosive plays, but San Jose State has done an exceptional job at limiting them. When Air Force scores, it’ll likely take a lot of time to go down the field and score.
I’m expecting a low scoring game.
The Pick: Under 56.5
Arizona State at California Odds
- Spread: Cal -4.5
- Over/Under: 42
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Berkeley, Calif.
Will Jaydon Daniels Be the Difference?
By Kyle Miller
After a big upset of Michigan State, Arizona State lost outright as more than a touchdown underdog to Colorado. I was on the Sun Devils in that game despite the poor situational spot and they just didn’t come to play and I paid the price.
My big takeaway from that game was the play of true freshman quarterback Jaydon Daniels. He looked a lot better against Colorado than he did against Michigan State but his defense didn’t do him any favors. I expect Arizona State to try and run the ball more than they did last week which should help ease the pressure on Daniels.
Cal is the No. 15 team in the AP Poll but I have the Bears 44th in my power ratings. I make this line California -2, so I’m looking to take the points with the Sun Devils.
Pick: Arizona State +4 or better