Betting Odds & Angles for Wake Forest vs. Rice, Boise State vs. Marshall: How to Bet Friday’s Games
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jamie Newman
If you couldn’t handle one day without football this weekend, the NCAA scheduling czars have handed you a gift — Wake Forest at Rice and Marshall at Boise State on Friday night.
Wake and Rice pits two polar opposite offenses against each other, while Marshall at Boise is one of the most intriguing non-conference Group of Five games this weekend.
Wake Forest at Rice Betting Odds
- Spread: Wake Forest -19
- Total: 58.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
Tortoise vs. Hare
You may not associate Wake Forest’s offense with pace, but this team flies.
Wake ranked third in plays per minute last season behind only UCF and Houston, and ran 105 (!) plays against Utah State last week. Quarterback Jamie Newman looked awesome, averaging 8.5 yards per attempt with three scores.
Rice on the other hand is playing a different sport.
The Owls ran 44 plays (!) against Army, and 30 were runs. They pretty much drained the play clock to one second and then ran the ball up the middle. It was horrible.
I ran the numbers at Bet Labs to figure out what happens when a fast-paced team meets a slow-paced team, but there’s not much predictive there.
Is Rice’s Defense Actually Good?
Probably not. As Stuckey outlined on our podcast earlier this week, Army’s 14-point performance had less to do with Rice and more to do with the Black Knights’ personnel changes (specifically losing two fullbacks, key to any option offense’s success).
Wake Forest’s defensive line was pretty solid last year, ranking top 50 in most metrics, but did get gashed by Utah State last week. If you believe Rice will have a hard time moving the ball on the ground — because apparently that’s all it wants to do — Wake Forest could blow the doors off the Owls by pushing the pace and wearing down the defense.
If you believe Rice will control the clock a little bit, it can cover this big number. I’m not counting on either, and don’t have much interest in laying three scores on the road with a team that clearly had defensive flaws in its Week 1 win. Pass for me.
Marshall at Boise State
- Spread: Boise State -12
- Total: 57
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
No Blue Turf Magic
The narrative will tell you that Boise is a brutal place to play — there’s some elevation, the blue turf is unfamiliar for visiting teams, the Broncos are always a tough out in general.
But Boise is just 12-20-1 ATS at home over the last five seasons, despite losing only five of those games straight up.
Visiting underdogs have also been a much better bet than home underdogs in college football over the last 15 years.
How Good Is Boise?
Boise might be the best Group of Five team in the country, right up there with UCF and Memphis.
Going to Florida State in the heat and beating the Seminoles was impressive, but it was a strange game. There were 170 plays run, 108 by Boise (a ton in Florida’s August humidity that wore down FSU), Boise had the ball for 40 minutes and both teams had some inopportune turnovers.
I think Boise has a chance to compete for a New Year’s Six Bowl bid this season, but that win didn’t change my mind much.
Game Won in the Trenches
Both teams boast excellent defensive lines, which should dictate the pace of this game. Marshall did well to protect quarterback Isaiah Green last season, allowing only 20 sacks (and Green can move around a little bit, which certainly helps).
I think Marshall can hang tough in this game with its strong defense, but the number is pretty spot on. I’ll be looking to bet it live at +14 or better if Boise takes an early lead.