Friday College Football Odds & Picks: 6 Best Bets for Oregon State vs Utah, Cincinnati vs BYU

Friday College Football Odds & Picks: 6 Best Bets for Oregon State vs Utah, Cincinnati vs BYU article feature image

Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Quarterback Kedon Slovis and the BYU Cougars.

  • Friday's college football slate is full with four games, including a ranked-on-ranked Pac-12 showdown.
  • Our staff has six best bets for three of Friday's games: NC State vs Louisville, Oregon State vs Utah and BYU vs Cincinnati.
  • Check out all four best bets for Friday's Week 5 college football games below.

Friday. Night. Lights.

There's something special about college football taking place under the lights — and that's especially true when it comes to Friday nights. These slates always serve as an appetizer for Saturday's main course, but this Friday has a little extra juice.

We have a number of conference matchups on deck, including a top-20 Pac-12 showdown between Utah and Oregon State and a battle between two teams looking for their first-ever Big 12 win in Cincinnati and BYU.

Our staff came through with six best bets for this Friday night slate, including picks for Louisville vs. NC State and the aforementioned Utah vs. Oregon State and Cincinnati vs. BYU matchups.

Check out all six best bets for Friday's college football games below — and be sure to check back tomorrow for even more Saturday college football betting coverage.

Friday College Football Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football betting staff is targeting from Friday night's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
7 p.m.
7 p.m.
9 p.m.
9 p.m.
10:15 p.m.
10:15 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Louisville vs. NC State

Friday, Sept. 29
7 p.m. ET

Louisville -3.5

By Brett Pund

In his debut season with the Cardinals, head coach Jeff Brohm has gotten off to a great start, and I believe it will continue with a win and cover at NC State.

For starters, I don’t believe the Wolfpack are going to be able to keep up offensively. The way to attack Louisville is through the air, where Dave Doeren’s team ranks 94th in passing yards per game.

This is also the same team that ranks in the bottom half of Power 5 teams in both Passing Success Rate and explosiveness.

Another key area where Brohm’s squad has a clear advantage is in the red zone. On defense, the Cardinals are in the top 10 nationally, which is much better than NC State’s ranking of 120th.

In fact, opponents have scored on every trip inside the Wolfpack’s 20-yard line, with seven out of nine occasions ending with a touchdown.

That’s a bad recipe against a Louisville team that ranks 11th among Power 5 programs in Finishing Drives. With Brohm’s offense ranking fifth in Success Rate and ninth in explosiveness, I like its chances of reaching the red zone.

If you like to compare past point spreads, the Cardinals closed as 7.5-point favorites at Georgia Tech and -10 at Indiana. I don’t feel NC State is considerably better than those squads, which opens up great value in this contest.

Pick: Louisville -3.5 (Play to -5.5)
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Louisville -3.5

By Mark Harris

Friday’s college football slate begins in Raleigh with an ACC conference matchup between the NC State Wolfpack and the Louisville Cardinals.

After what we’ve seen from these teams through the first four weeks of play, the only reason Louisville isn’t favored by more is because it’s a home game for NC State.

The Wolfpack have not been impressive in their 3-1 start. They needed to pull away late to beat UConn and needed a last-second field goal to escape Charlottesville with a win over a bad Virginia team.

The additions of offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterback Brennan Armstrong haven’t made a big difference yet, as Armstrong has racked up only 859 passing yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions.

It just doesn’t look like everything has clicked, and the eye test matches the fact that NC State ranks 128th in explosiveness.

Meanwhile, Louisville is averaging 38.6 points per game against Power 5 competition. Granted, those P5 teams were Georgia Tech, Indiana and Boston College, but the point stands that the Cardinals offense is off to a good start in its first year under Jeff Brohm.

Louisville ranks fifth in Offensive Success Rate and third in Passing Success Rate.

Jack Plummer has thrown for 1,102 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he’s not a one-man show because the Cardinals have a 400-yard rusher and receiver. Jawhar Jordan sits eighth in the country with 478 rushing yards and six scores, while Jamari Thrash already has 400 yards and five touchdowns through the air.

Even though this is a Friday night conference game that won’t be easy, I think Louisville’s offensive firepower will win out. Take the Cardinals to cover in Raleigh.

Utah vs. Oregon State

Friday, Sept. 29
9 p.m. ET

Under 44.5

By Thomas Schlarp

Pac-12 After Dark usually connotes some sort of 80-point triple-overtime contest, but when the Utes and Beavers meet in Corvallis, it’s going to look more like a Big Ten slobber-knocker.

Utah is essentially Iowa with a better power rating. The Utes rank outside the top 100 in Rush and Pass Success, and their quarterback position is totally up in the air right now.

Cam Rising is a game-time decision. This means that Utah will either go with Nate Johnson, who completed all of 11 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown last week against UCLA, or we’ll see a Rising who hasn’t played a meaningful snap of football in 10 months.

Meanwhile, Utah’s defense ranks top-10 in Rush and Pass Success Allowed, and crucially for this game, it's stellar at stopping the run.

Only one of Utah’s opponents has eclipsed 65 yards rushing this season, and notably last week against UCLA, the Bruins rushed for just nine yards on 32 carries. UCLA was averaging 270 yards rushing prior to that game.

Then there’s Oregon State.

DJ Uiagalelei made a splashy debut with the Beavers, throwing for five touchdowns against San Jose State, but he’s come crashing down to earth since then. In his last two games, the Clemson transfer has completed less than 50% of his passes and has just four touchdown passes to three interceptions.

The strength of the Beavers offense is Damien Martinez and a ground game that ranks first in Rush Success, but the Utes have already shown this season they're capable of grinding strong rushing offenses to a halt. They’ll be able to key in on the Beavers' ground game with a struggling DJU.

Both offenses are going to struggle to throw on Friday night and will look to methodically move the ball with their run games.

Time will melt off the clock as these defenses steal the show in what should be an incredible environment inside Reser Stadium.

Under 44.5

By Patrick Strollo

Utah has been off to a hot start this season, boasting a perfect record and recording a statement win in its first game against Florida in convincing fashion, 24-11.

Through four games, Utah has played the 21st-most difficult schedule and has gotten through the early stages by relying on its excellent defense.

The Utes have the sixth-ranked scoring defense in the nation, giving up an average of 9.5 points per game. They've been outstanding against the run, ranking fourth in the nation in rushing defense, giving up an average of just 51.0 yards per game.

Utah has shown to be susceptible against the pass but draws a favorable matchup against Oregon State's run-heavy attack.

Oregon State has found most of its success on the ground this season, rushing for an average of 224.5 yards per game. The Beaver ground game has recorded 12 touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry.

However, this Utah defense will by far be the best they've seen this season.

The best defense Oregon State has seen so far was Washington State, which ranks 77th and 89th in scoring defense and total defense, respectively, giving up 25.5 points and 382.3 yards per game.

While Utah has relied on its excellent defense, its offense has been the missing piece of the puzzle as it awaits the return of star quarterback Cam Rising. Early indications point to Rising not playing tonight as he continues to recover from last year’s ACL injury.

Even if Rising were to return, rust would be a serious issue in a very tough Pac-12 matchup.

Without Rising, Utah has been pedestrian on offense, ranking 98th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 22.3 points per game. The Utes offense will likely struggle in Corvallis against a solid Beavers defense that's equally good against the run.

Oregon State's rush defense ranks eighth in the nation against the ground game and should have no problem against the run-dependent Utah offense in Rising’s absence.

The total for this game opened at 47.5 points and has been bet down by sharps to the current market number of 44.5.

My model projects 37.5 points for this game, so I like backing the defenses of both schools here as the ground game will be a point of emphasis.

Cincinnati vs. BYU

Friday, Sept. 29
10:15 p.m. ET

BYU +1.5

By Cody Goggin

Both of these teams made their Big 12 Conference debuts last week, and both fell by double digits at the hands of a longtime conference member.

For BYU, it was Kansas’ electric offense that put up 38 points en route to a big victory. For Cincinnati, it was Oklahoma’s defense that held the Bearcats to only six points.

Now, the two new members will face off in Provo looking for their first Big 12 win.

BYU has been a pass-heavy team this year, throwing at the 14th-highest rate in the country. It's been average through the air, ranking 74th in Success Rate and 76th in PPA.

The Cougars' run game has been almost nonexistent, ranking last in Success Rate at the FBS level.

Cincinnati comes in at 49th in Defensive Passing Success Rate but has struggled to prevent the big play, ranking 117th in passing explosiveness and 96th in PPA. If Kedon Slovis can capitalize on this, then BYU's offense can have a big day.

I do worry about Cincinnati on the offensive side of the ball, as it ranks 72nd in SP+ right now. However, the Bearcats haven't yet cracked 30 points this year against an FBS team, with 27 points against Pitt being the closest.

The Bearcats rank 65th in Rushing Success Rate and 38th in Passing Success Rate, but they haven't yet faced a top-40 defense, according to SP+. BYU’s defense is in the same tier as Oklahoma and Pitt, which means this may be another tough day for the Cincinnati offense.

While these two teams are now in the same conference, I give BYU the slight edge here. Cincinnati is still trying to figure things out offensively with its new head coach.

While BYU’s defense hasn’t held up the last couple of weeks, that was against two top-30 offenses. I think it will defend its home turf and pick up its first Big 12 win on Friday night.

Darius Lassiter Over 37.5 Rec. Yards

By Doug Ziefel

If you're a fan of throwing the football, you will enjoy watching BYU's offense. The Cougars throw the ball at the 18th-highest rate in the country, and that frequency has created a trio of productive pass-catchers.

While tight end Isaac Rex is currently their leading receiver, all three of their top pass-catchers — Rex, Darius Lassiter and Chase Roberts — have a similar number of receptions and yards per reception.

We're targeting Lassiter in this matchup, as he's proven to be a consistent source of yardage this season. He's gone over this total in all three games he's played this season and finds himself in an excellent spot to make it 4-for-4.

The Bearcats' secondary is nowhere near as good as its rank of 12th in opponent completion percentage says it is. Cincy ranks 124th in PFF's coverage rating and 91st in yards per pass.

With this matchup, Lassiter has the potential to go over this total with minimal volume.

Pick: Darius Lassiter Over 37.5 Receiving Yards (Play to 40.5)

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