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Friday College Football Betting Guide: Insights, Tips on 6 Games

  • There are six FBS vs. FBS college football games on Friday night, starting at 6 p.m. ET.
  • We've got betting insights and picks on a handful of those contests, starting with Syracuse and Western Michigan.

Hopefully the first week of college football has treated you well. Either way, you’re probably back for more on Friday.

There are six FBS-FBS games on the schedule, starting with Syracuse and Western Michigan at 6 p.m. ET. Stanford-San Diego State highlights the slate as the Cardinal look to avenge a straight-up loss from last season.

We’re breaking down each game with your wallet’s best interest in mind before the monster Week 1 slate on Saturday.


>> All odds as of 7 a.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.


Syracuse at Western Michigan

  • Odds: Syracuse -5
  • Over/Under: 65.5
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBSSN

Syracuse enters 2018 with some optimism, and our Collin Wilson is bullish on the Orange as a whole. He has this game power-rated at Syracuse -8.5.

The biggest question mark is health. Quarterback Eric Dungey has run like a wild man during his first three seasons and as a result of injury, has only played in 26 games.

Dungey is expected to run less this season behind an experienced offensive line. He should have time to throw against a rebuilt Western Michigan defensive front.

Metrics to Know

  • Thanks to an excellent return game, WMU had the best average starting field position on offense of any team last season.
  • The Syracuse offense ranked 43rd nationally in points per game in 2017, but 79th in S&P+,  which accounts for pace, opponent and more.

Bet to Watch

Points in a standalone-ish Friday night game? Points in a standalone-ish Friday night game.

Syracuse ranked No. 9 in adjusted pace last season, while Western Michigan was No. 34. Both offenses bring back their quarterbacks, too.

Get Ken Barkley’s pick in The Action Network app:


Utah State at Michigan State

  • Odds: Michigan State -23
  • Over/Under: 51
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: Big Ten Network

Michigan State had zero expectations entering 2017 following a 3-9 season, but now the Spartans are hoping for big things. They return the most production of any team in the country, ranking top five on both offense and defense.

Utah State is looking to return to its former glory. It won 30 games from 2012-14, but its close-game karma has overshadowed what’s otherwise been a really solid program (top 70 in overall S&P+ the last three years).

The Aggies bring back nine starters on defense, but more importantly, almost all the backups. This unit’s two-deep is as deep as its been in five years.

Metrics to Know

  • Despite major improvements from 2016, Michigan State still only ranked 91st in offensive S&P+ last season, bottom third of all FBS teams.
  • Utah State has a 2-10 record in games decided by one touchdown over the past three years.

Bet to Watch

Utah State has been bet down from 27 to 23, while the total has remained steady. The number, where it’s at now, feels about right. Our experts are passing for now.


Army at Duke

  • Odds: Duke -14
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPNU

Duke is looking to avenge a nightmarish loss from last season, and the betting market is bullish on the Blue Devils to do so.

Army will be breaking in a new quarterback after Ahmad Bradshaw graduated and was essentially ruled ineligible this summer. He ran for 1,746 yards at 7.2 yards per carry last season.

The line moved from -11 to -13.5 at Pinnacle in July, then moved back to -13 earlier this week. But a move came late Thursday night that made Duke a 14-point favorite.

Metric to Know

Army was one of the luckiest teams in college football last season. The Black Knights played 2.8 wins worse than their actual record, the highest mark in the country.


Bet to Watch

Sharp action pushed Duke to nearly a two-touchdown favorite, but has the line gone too far?

Get John Ewing’s pick in The Action Network app:


Western Kentucky at Wisconsin

  • Odds: Wisconsin -36.5
  • Over/Under: 52.5
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

Don’t be this guy and drop $100,000 on Wisconsin. Or do. It’s up to you.

The Badgers begin their national title quest against a down Western Kentucky program. You may remember the Hilltoppers for their explosive offenses, but that’s no longer the case.

Wisconsin has pieces to replace on defense, but returns maybe its best offense of the last decade.

Metrics to Know

  • The Hilltoppers ranked in the top five nationally in yards per play every year from 2014-2016, but fell to 96th last season.
  • Western Kentucky didn’t have a rushing play go more than 20 yards all of last season. All season! Wisconsin had 25.
  • Despite having only 12 sacks, the WKU defensive line actually helped stop the run, ranking 75th in yards per carry allowed and 53rd in rushing success rate.

San Diego State at Stanford

  • Odds: Stanford -14
  • Over/Under: 48.5
  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: Fox Sports 1

Stanford might have revenge on its mind after losing to SDSU last season, but it has bigger fish to fry. The Cardinal play USC, Oregon, and Notre Dame later this month.

San Diego State lost running back Rashaad Penny to the NFL, but replaces him with Juwan Washington, who averaged 6.6 carries over 1,200 yards in his first two years.

Metric to Know

Stanford and San Diego State ranked first and second among FBS teams in rushing explosiveness last season.

Bet to Watch

We’re down on Stanford this year, so why not start with Week 1? The Aztecs have proven they can hang in games like this.

The under trickled down from 53 to 49, and if it keeps going, there’s even more value on SDSU at +14.

Get Collin Wilson’s pick in The Action Network app:


Colorado State vs. Colorado (n)

  • Odds: Colorado -7.5
  • Over/Under: 65
  • Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBSSN

Colorado State is coming off a horrific effort at home against Hawaii, losing outright as a 17-point favorite.

The Rams were 6-point dogs all summer, but got bet up to +7 earlier in the month and got the hook at +7.5 after their loss last week.

Metrics to Know

  • Colorado State actually outgained Hawaii in its losing effort last week, 653-617.
  • Quarterback KJ Carta-Samuels threw for 537 yards and five touchdowns with a 68% completion percentage despite a slow start.
  • Despite running an up-tempo offense meant to generate big plays, Colorado ranked 112th of 130 FBS teams in offensive explosiveness in 2017.

Bet to Watch

Recency bias will make a man do irrational things. Almost 70% of bettors are backing Colorado in this game after last weekend’s debacle for Colorado State, but we’re not going to overreact to Week 0 and take the extra value last week’s game has provided.

Get Stuckey’s pick in The Action Network app:

Credit:

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: KJ Carta-Samuels

Follow Steve Petrella on Twitter
@steve_petrella
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