College Football Betting Picks: Our Staff’s 4 Favorite Friday Bets
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cade Otton
We’ll skip the small talk here — you’re busy with family, still full from Thanksgiving, hungover, or all three.
Our staffers cut down the Friday college football card to just one favorite bet and compiled them all below.
Collin Wilson: Virginia +3
- Odds: Virginia Tech -3 at Virginia
- Total: 47
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
There may not be a hotter team in the country than Virginia Tech. The Hokies have covered five straight games, with a near upset of Notre Dame in that time. Virginia Tech has won its last two ACC games by a combined 73-0.
Much of this success has come from an improved defense and dynamic quarterback Hendon Hooker. Since getting more playing time over Ryan Willis, Hooker has 10 passing touchdowns and no interceptions. The quarterback has had multiple explosive passing plays and an additional four touchdowns on the ground.
Hooker passed his test against Pitt, which ranks in the top 10 in defensive havoc and opponent passing success rate.
But the difference between Pitt and Virginia comes on offense.
The Cavaliers are top 50 in rushing and passing success rate, better ranks than the Hokies two previous opponents in Pitt and Georgia Tech.
The current number is well past the Action Network projection of Virginia -2. With our projections favoring Virginia, there should be plenty of value taking the nearly a field goal.
There are plenty of positives on the Virginia Tech side from recent form with Hendon Hooker, dominating this series and this being Bud Foster’s last regular season game.
In the end, it is tough to ignore the Virginia defense combined with an offense that moves the chains on third down. While the total is spot on, I will be looking to back the Wahoos at +3 or better leading up to kick.
Pick: Virginia +3 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Stuckey: Memphis-Cincinnati Under
- Odds: Memphis -11.5
- Total: 57.5
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
Thanks to a returned blocked extra point for two points against Temple, Cincy clinched its division last week, but it was completely in spite of the passing offense. Ridder finished just 9-25 for 62 yards with 0 TD and 1 INT. Yes, that’s a putrid 2.5 yards per attempt.
The Memphis defense struggles when it comes to limiting explosive plays, but that’s simply not an area where the Cincy offense excels. Especially of late with quarterback Desmond Ridder nursing a shoulder injury on his throwing arm. It looks like he will play, but it’s certainly affecting his effectiveness when he drops back to pass.
The Bearcats can run the ball a little but lack explosiveness there as well, which bodes well for Memphis. The Tigers don’t have an elite defense but it’s not bad (35th SP+) and this is a good matchup for them on paper. Also, don’t sleep on the fact that Cincy ranks dead last in FBS in penalty yards per game at 77.45. Their offensive line is constantly putting them behind the sticks which can only help Memphis (and the under).
On the other side, Cincinnati does an excellent job of limiting explosive plays, which is a critical part of the Memphis offensive attack. Cincy’s defensive line should also dominate the line of scrimmage against a fairly vulnerable Memphis offensive line here, especially on short yardage situations against the run and when they can aggressively rush Brady White on obvious passing situations.
These are also two excellent punting teams that each rank in the top 30 nationally in net punting yards. Both punters are capable of flipping the field and short fields shouldn’t be a major concern when either has to punt. That obviously helps the under.
This is a fascinating game theory matchup, as well. Memphis needs to win to clinch a spot in the AAC Championship in order to play these same Bearcats right back in this same stadium next week. Meanwhile, Cincy already clinched a spot in the AAC title game, but could end up playing Navy if they beat Memphis. Or if Navy loses, they would host Memphis. So, how much does Cincy want to show here? Does Fickell want to rest anybody, especially those nursing injuries?
I’m thinking no at the start, especially since Cincy still has bigger bowl aspirations, but this could become a factor late in the game if Memphis is in control in the second half. You may see a freshman come in under center and both teams go super conservative to not show anything for the following week when they would meet again.
Pick: Under 57.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
John Ewing: WVU-TCU Under
- Odds: TCU -13.5
- Total: 44
- Time: 4:15 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
West Virginia and TCU fielded some of the highest scoring offenses in college football last season. The Mountaineers ranked 10th in points per game in 2018, averaging 39.2 points and the year before the Frogs averaged more than 30 points per game.
This year the offenses aren’t as explosive. TCU ranks 44th in points per game and WVU is 109th .
The forecast for Friday’s game calls for average winds of 12 mph. Windy conditions can impact the passing and kicking games which creates a low scoring environment. As such, it has been profitable to bet the under in breezy games.
The total for WVU-TCU opened 45.5 and has been bet down to 44. Steam move bet signals have been triggered on the under — an indication sharp bettors expect a low scoring game.
Pick: Under 44 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Steve Petrella: Washington/Wazzu Under
- Odds: Washington -7.5
- Total: 63
- Time: 4 p.m. ET
- TV: FOX
Chris Petersen owns Mike Leach. Which feels strange to say about Mike Leach. He’s normally owned by no one or anything.
Washington is 5-0 straight-up and against the spread against Washington State since Petersen arrived in 2014, and the Huskies have given up between 10 and 17 points in each of those games. Their defense and secondary are perfectly designed to thwart Leach’s Air Raid attack.
This is not the Washington defense of the last few seasons, but it’s still a top 30 unit. And the Huskies offense has been declining over the last month, failing to average greater than 5.2 yards per play in games against Utah, Colorado and Oregon State.
I was and still am interested in betting Washington in this game at under -7, but in case the offense truly is that broken, I’ll count on the Huskies defense to step up and do its part to keep this game under the total.
You can check out my full breakdown of this game here. And don’t worry, I’ll be back with a first half moneyline on Saturday.
Pick: Under 63 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]