Friday College Football Betting Guide: Analysis for All 3 Games

Sep 21, 2018 12:00 AM EDT

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: McKenzie Milton and Trace McSorley

  • There are three intriguing college football games, all for their own reasons, on Friday night, including Penn State-Illinois, UCF-Florida Atlantic and USC-Washington State.
  • Bettors are hammering the over in all three.
  • Get our full breakdown, analysis and picks for every game below.

Big Ten football on a Friday night? What is this brave new world we’re entering?

Here at The Action Network, we’re just fine with it. There are three semi-intriguing college football games on tap Friday night, starting with UCF against Florida Atlantic, the two best teams in Florida (kidding, but that’s way closer to truth than it should be).

Let’s dive in.

>> All odds as of Thursday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets

Florida Atlantic at UCF Betting

  • Betting odds: UCF -13.5
  • Total: 76
  • Time: 7 p.m., ESPN

Market Moves

By Danny Donahue

UCF has been the more popular bet all week. The Knights have drawn 75% of bettors, making them the most popular of any team playing Friday. This line, however, sits at the same -13.5 number where it opened, as UCF’s bettors account for only 68% of dollars wagered.

The total has shot up from its opener, moving from 67 to 77 behind 69% of bets and 77% of dollars.

Clean Pockets, Efficient Offense

By Steve Petrella

UCF hasn’t allowed a sack in two games this year, and was in the top 10 in sack rate last season. It’s part talent, part offensive design and part excellent mobile quarterback.

That has also allowed UCF to rank in the top five in success rate (how efficient an offense is at gaining the necessary yards to move the chains, depending on the down) again this season. The Knights rarely have negative plays.

Trends to Know

By John Ewing

UCF’s Week 3 game against North Carolina was canceled due to Hurricane Florence. As a result, the Knights have had 13 days between games.

Since 2005, ranked home favorites with more than 10 days’ rest have gone 110-82-4 (57%) ATS.

By Evan Abrams

This scenario doesn’t happen very often. When a team on at least 10 days between games faces a team on less than a full week of rest, the team on extended rest is just a few games below .500.

Where the opportunity presents itself is in the first half. The team on extended rest is 24-33-1 against the first-half spread, possibly due to rust.

And when that team is listed as the favorite, it is 10-21 ATS (-11.8 units), failing to cover the first-half spread by an average of more than four points.

Bet to Watch

By Ken Barkley

I believe UCF is still receiving a lot of goodwill for last season’s success, and I’m not sure it’s justified. Much like Washington State, which we’ll get to, UCF still falls into a category of “mystery team” that has been completely untested, yet has good results.

UCF had to replace a lot of its stars, especially on defense, and has a new coach and coaching staff. Playing UConn in Week 1 and South Carolina State in Week 2 isn’t going to tell us anything about how the Knights should be rated.

The talent difference between UCF and FAU is negligible, and the coaching staffs on each team are full of new hires.

With so much uncertainty, how can there be a decided difference between the teams? When removing home-field advantage, I don’t believe UCF is actually 10 to 10.5 points better than FAU on a neutral field, and the “brand name” effect of the school from last year is contributing to this inflation.

I like FAU at 13.5, but hope I can get a 14 somewhere before Friday night.

Want to make sure you don’t miss FAU at +14? Sign up for a free trial at Sports Insights to set a line alert. As soon as the spread gets to +14, you’ll be alerted.

By Collin Wilson

I’m going with the under 77 here, which is completely against everything we know about Florida Atlantic and Central Florida. My own total projections put this at 71.5, which is a combination of yards per play, plays per game, adjusted pace, and efficiency.

Florida Atlantic’s offense hasn’t been the picture of efficiency, ranking just 85th in success rate. Explosiveness has been another issue, specifically ranking 55th in passing. If Central Florida gets a lead, you can expect plenty of passing from the Owls.

The Central Florida offense is going to do its thing, but defensively it ranks fifth in the nation in defending explosiveness. That was certainly unexpected with the loss of Shaquem Griffin. The Knights currently rank 20th in adjusted sack rate defensively.

There might be just enough defense in this game to get under the high total.



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