Friday College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks: Our Favorite Bets for Wyoming vs. Boise State & Cincinnati vs. USF (Nov. 12)
Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Wide receiver Shea Whiting (27) and his Boise State Broncos teammates take the field at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, ID.
- Another Friday night means another night full of college football.
- Friday's slate features two games: Boise State vs. Wyoming and Cincinnati vs. USF.
- Our writers broke down both games, so be sure to check out our top bets below.
Fridays in November are made for football. And tonight, we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to watch two historically powerful Group of Five teams.
The action kicks off at 6 p.m. ET when Cincinnati travels south to take on USF in an effort to pick up a dominant win to impress the College Football Playoff committee.
Then, we move to the Smurf Turf in Idaho, where Boise State — now within one game of the Mountain Division lead — hosts Wyoming.
The best part? This is just an appetizer. Tomorrow, we’ll have a full slate of college football to watch and bet. So, strap in and get ready for a weekend full of football. We’ll be by your side the whole way.
Friday College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click the team logos for one the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet 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.|
#5 Cincinnati vs. USF
Cincinnati has struggled to put opponents away over the last three weeks, which is providing the College Football Committee the ammunition it needs to keep Cincinnati out of the playoff.
The Bearcats jumped up to the fifth spot in this week’s CFP rankings but are still on the outside looking in.
The Bearcats have two one-possession victories over Navy and Tulsa, with a 19-point win over Tulane sandwiched between them. Head coach Luke Fickell continues to preach his program isn’t worrying about the committee and has focused on winning the final three games.
However, it’s easy to assume he knows they need a big statement game soon if they want to keep hopes alive.
Luckily for Cincinnati, it has a Friday date with South Florida, which is 2-7 this season. It’s a perfect opportunity for the Bearcats to keep their foot on the gas pedal and find themselves with the blowout victory they’ve been longing for.
South Florida has been playing more competitive football over the last month, including hanging with Houston deep into the second half last week.
The Bearcats are poised to win their 13th consecutive AAC game, but whether they can cover as large road favorites could be another story.
Despite all the noise about whether Cincinnati deserves to be in the top four, the Bearcats are putting together the best season in the school’s history.
They’re one of four undefeated FBS programs, winning by an average margin of 24 points per game. Luke Fickell’s squad still maintains a 25-game home win streak and a 13-game AAC win tear.
Cincinnati Leans on Defense
The defense has been the backbone of this program’s success over the last two seasons. The unit has allowed just over two touchdowns per game, owning one of the nation’s most dominant passing defenses.
The Bearcats have allowed 5.3 yards per pass attempt that ranks second in the country. They’ve forced 22 turnovers on the season, including 14 interceptions. The front seven has been dominant with 63 tackles for loss and 20 sacks.
Over the last four games, opponents have rushed the ball on 206 of 295 plays against the Bearcats, a rush rate of 70%. They have averaged 4.0 yards per carry in that span, as teams would rather attempt to chip away on the ground than pass against the lethal defense.
Bearcats Score in Bunches
Cincinnati’s offense has grown to be one of the top groups in the nation that ranks sixth in scoring (38 PPG) and fourth in points per play.
The rushing attack is dominant behind the legs of Jerome Ford, who has rushed in 15 touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry. His status is unknown for this game, but Fickell has mentioned he isn’t overly concerned about his injury.
The passing attack is equally as efficient through Desmond Ridder’s 20 touchdowns and 8.6 yards per pass attempt. Offensively, the Bearcats should have their way against the lackluster USF defense that ranks 123rd in creating Havoc.
Timmy McClain Settles in as USF Quarterback
It’s been another tough season for second-year head coach Jeff Scott, who has seen one FBS victory (Temple) in his first two seasons.
The team was competitive last week against Houston, losing 54-42, but was outgained by nearly 350 yards of total offense.
After shuffling in three different quarterbacks, Scott has settled on Timmy McClain as the starter. McClain has accounted for four of the five passing touchdowns the Bulls have collected this season. He’s also tossed four interceptions while completing just under 55% of his attempts.
Xavier Weaver is the only receiving threat on the USF roster. He’s averaging 64 yards per game and had his first 100-yard receiving game last week against Houston. It’s safe to assume that the USF aerial game will have little success against the dominant Cincinnati pass defense.
South Florida owns a rush rate of 59% while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Junior running back Jaren Mangham (6-foot-2, 220 pounds) has punched in 13 touchdowns. He’s averaging only 12 carries per game and 4.4 yards on those attempts. He will need a steady workload and attempt to mimic the blueprints from the other AAC teams if they want to move the chains.
Bulls Defense Will Struggle
Defensively, the Bulls have allowed 35 points per game and nearly 490 yards of total offense.
The unit has been putrid owning the 127th-ranked Success Rate against the pass and 96th against the run. When facing FBS opponents, the Bulls have allowed 5.9 yards per carry (124th), 9.2 yards per pass attempt (118th), and, 7.3 yards per play for 126th overall.
It’s hard to imagine this group being able to slow down a Cincinnati offense that’s looking to blow the doors open.
Cincinnati vs. USF Betting Pick
On paper, this is one of the worst matchups for South Florida.
The USF offense is one-dimensional and poses a minimal threat through the passing game. Cincinnati’s defense will adapt to opponents utilizing a 70% rush rate against it and will crowd the line of scrimmage.
The Bearcats’ cornerbacks should also have a field day against the Bulls’ receivers.
South Florida’s defense is allowing the most yards per game (just below 490) in the conference. The Cincinnati offense is one of the most efficient groups in the country and will find success in the air and on the ground.
It will be rare for a Bearcats offensive possession to end with anything other than an extra point in this game. They’re poised to finally get that dominant win that will help build their resume for the committee.
Pick: Cincinnati -23 (Play to -24.5)
Wyoming vs. Boise State
By Alex Hinton
Since the Mountain West introduced a divisional format, Boise State has won the Mountain Division five times and the conference outright three.
After a 3-4 start, though, both seemed out of reach. However, consecutive wins over Colorado State and Fresno State have brought Boise State to within a game of first place in the Mountain Division.
This week, Boise State welcomes Wyoming to the blue turf for a Friday night matchup.
The Cowboys come into this week at 5-4 overall and 1-4 in Mountain West play, although last week’s win over Colorado State snapped a four-game losing streak. Wyoming will look to continue that against an opponent it has not had much success against.
Boise leads the all-time series, 14-1, including last year’s 17-9 victory in Laramie. This year’s matchup might be another defensive struggle.
Wyoming Features Run-Heavy Offense
The Cowboys have established their identity as a run-first team, running the ball on nearly 63% of their offensive snaps. The Cowboys are 35th in Rushing Success Rate and 39th in the country in rushing at 192 yards per game.
Running back Xazavian Valladay leads the way with 760 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Titus Swen complements him well is coming off a 166-yard performance against Colorado State.
The Cowboys’ rushing attack has not translated to points on the scoreboard. They’re 103rd in scoring at 23 points per game, also ranking 108th in big play and 114th in Passing Success Rate.
The Cowboys have handed over the reins to quarterback Levi Williams. In his first two starts this season, Williams has completed 55% of his passes with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
Cowboys Defense Excels Against the Pass
Defensively, Wyoming is 30th in the FBS in scoring defense, allowing 21.3 points per game. The passing game is where the Cowboys excel. The Cowboys are fourth in passing yards allowed (155.7), fifth in coverage, and 22nd in Passing Success Rate.
Wyoming doesn’t create a ton of Havoc, ranking 120th in that area. However, against Boise State, the Cowboys will have an edge on the line of scrimmage, boasting an advantage over the Broncos in Line Yards, which could help them put pressure on BSU quarterback Hank Bachmeier.
Wyoming’s defense also has an advantage in Rushing Success Rate.
Broncos Passing Game Has Impressed
Bachmeier is enjoying the best season of his career. The third-year starter is completing 64% of his passes, throwing for 2,486 yards, 16 touchdowns, and five interceptions thus far.
Khalil Shakir is Bachmeier’s No. 1 target and one of the best wide receivers in the country, racking up 56 receptions for 844 yards and five touchdowns.
Bachmeier has not received much support from the Broncos’ running game. They rank 117th in the country in rushing at 110 yards per game and 114th in Rushing Success Rate.
Boise State splits the carries about evenly between George Holani, Cyrus Habibi-Likio, and Andrew Van Buren. However, Habibi-Likio and Van Buren average three yards per carry or less. As a team, the Broncos average 2.8 yards per carry.
Will Boise Give Up Big Plays?
Wyoming will look to exploit a Boise run defense that is 97th in rushing yards allowed and gives up 174.4 rushing per game.
Boise State can also be vulnerable to the big play at times. The Broncos are 92nd in big play percentage allowed and 125th passing play explosiveness allowed. However, Wyoming is not a team that you would expect to exploit that weakness.
The Broncos defense has shown a knack for creating big plays in pivotal moments. Boise State is tied for seventh nationally with 19 takeaways. The Broncos’ three interceptions of Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener were key to a 40-14 win last week.
Overall, the Broncos are 28th in scoring defense and allow 20.9 points per game.
Wyoming vs. Boise State Betting Pick
The last four meetings between Boise State and Wyoming have averaged 37 points per game. This year, the teams combine to give up a little over 42 points per game.
Matched up against each other, each defense will have an advantage in terms of Finishing Drives. Defensively, Wyoming ranks 20th in Finishing Drives while Boise State is 29th.
Additionally, the Cowboys operate at a slow pace offensively, ranking 82nd in plays per minute. With these factors in mind, I’m taking the under.
The under is 7-2 in Boise State games this year and 5-4 in Wyoming games. Additionally, it has hit in three of the last four meetings in this series. With a total of 48.5, I believe there’s a little value on the under and would play it down to 47.