Friday College Football Odds, Predictions: Our Top Bets, Including Cincinnati vs. Temple, Arizona State vs. Stanford & More
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Lucas.
- Friday Night Lights are always special, and this college football night in October is no different.
- We'll be lucky enough to see three college football games tonight, including Cincinnati vs. Temple and Arizona State vs. Stanford.
- Our staff breaks down three total games below and shares a betting pick and prediction for each.
Friday Night Lights. One of the most special things the game of football has to offer.
Here at The Action Network, we’ll take as much football as we can get whenever we can get it, whether that comes on a Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday. So, we’re more than happy with college football under the lights on a beautiful Friday night in October.
The action opens with Temple vs. Cincinnati and Charlotte vs. FIU at 7 p.m. ET. To wrap things up, we’ll be lucky enough to see a battle between two Pac-12 teams coming off big upsets in Stanford vs. Arizona State in a special edition of Pac-12 After Dark.
So, start getting ready for a big college football weekend. Because it’s already starting.
Week 6 College Football Picks for Friday, Oct. 8
Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific betting preview for Friday evening’s Week 6 college football slate.
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.
Photos via Getty Images.
7 p.m. ET
Temple rolls into Nippert Stadium under the Friday night lights as the first team No. 5 Cincinnati will face in AAC play.
While the Bearcats are 29-point favorites, the Owls certainly have a chance to cover the spread.
Temple — currently 3-2 and on a two-game win streak — could push Cincinnati and make the most of a potential letdown spot. But to do so, it will need to fix a lot, and fix it fast in a short week.
Temple’s two losses have come against Boston College and Rutgers in blowouts and Cincinnati is clearly better than those teams by a wide margin. The Bearcats have played two good Power Five opponents and have yet to struggle against either of them.
Cincinnati hasn’t lost a regular-season game since Dec. 2019 and it hasn’t lost a home game since Nov. 2017.
Does Temple have any chance against this potential playoff team? More importantly, can it cover a 29-point spread?
The Owls have lost five of their last six road games.
Quarterback D’Wan Mathis is completing 61.9% of his passes for 762 yards and the Owls’ offense averages 7.4 yards per pass attempt (77th in the FBS).
Temple’s 80th-ranked scoring offense averages 27.4 points per game. The Owls are also the 72nd-ranked offense in the FBS in terms of committing turnovers (six).
Temple averages 362.8 yards per game to rank 90th in the FBS.
On Monday, coach Rod Carey said that wide receivers Randle Jones and Jadan Blue are day-to-day. Jones has missed Temple’s last two games, while Blue had to be helped off the field late in the third quarter of Saturday’s 34-31 victory over Memphis.
On a short week, keep an eye out to see if Jones and Blue are confirmed to play Friday night. If not, this game may be over before it starts for the Owls.
The Owls are allowing 30.2 points and 313.4 yards per game on defense.
William Kwenkeu has three sacks while M.J. Griffin leads the Owls with 29 tackles. Temple’s pass rush is one of the worst in the country, ranking 107th with three sacks this season.
The best chance this Temple team may have to stop Cincinnati will be when Luke Fickell pulls the starters.
Desmond Ridder has thrown for 1,045 yards, has completed 63.5% of his passes (73-of-115) and has tossed nine touchdowns and two interceptions this year. He’s also carried the ball 30 times for 98 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 24.5 yards per game.
The Bearcats’ offense is one of the best at protecting the passer, giving up only three sacks so far (18th in college football). Cincinnati also has the 17th-ranked offense in the FBS (38.3 points per game).
Along with Ridder, another critical piece of this offense has been Jerome Ford. Ford has carried the ball 67 times for a team-high 367 yards (91.8 per game) and has scored six touchdowns this year.
Between Ridder’s dual-threat play style and Ford’s ability when his number is called, the Bearcats should be able to tear apart this Temple defense, which currently allows 192 rush yards per game.
Cincinnati is allowing just 14.5 points and 309.3 yards per game.
Deshawn Pace leads the Bearcats with 32 tackles, Darrian Beavers has two sacks and Archon Bush has two interceptions.
The Bearcats’ defense is allowing only 5.2 yards per passing play (fifth in college football) while limiting teams to just 3.4 yards per rush (25th overall against the rush). They’ve also created turnovers, as they rank 11th in College Football with nine forced turnovers through four games.
It’s hard to see Temple scoring on this Cincinnati team, which is currently ranked 12th in Finishing Drives.
If the Owls can get into the red zone, points will be anything but a given.
Temple vs. Cincinnati Betting Pick
The Owls are 35-16 ATS in their last 51 conference games and 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games overall. The Bearcats are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
The under is 12-5 in Bearcats’ last 17 home games. The Owls are 5-0 ATS in their last five meetings.
Oddsmakers have finally adjusted to how good Cincinnati truly is. However, I’m not sure I’m ready to lay nearly 30 points on a short week in a letdown spot.
There’s rain projected in the forecast, and if Cincinnati does get out to a significant lead, I would assume it would pull its starters. Even if Cincinnati doesn’t play its starters in the second half, I can’t see anyway Temple puts points up against its defense.
So, I’m taking the under at 54 (-110), and I would take it as low as 52.5 (-110).
Pick: Under 54 (Play to 52.5)
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
The Charlotte 49ers travel down to Miami to take on the Florida International Panthers in a Conference USA showdown Friday night.
Charlotte has had a sneaky good season, hoisting a 3-2 record. It defeated Duke to open the season and hung tough with Illinois last time out. The Niners also beat Gardner Webb and Middle Tennessee, thanks to the heroic efforts of quarterback Chris Reynolds.
Florida International played in three consecutive bowl games before last year’s 0-5 debacle. It started this season with a dominant 48-10 win over Long Island University. Since then, it’s lost four in a row by an average margin of 17.5 points. The Panthers will attempt to stop the bleeding and find their first conference victory at home.
Both offenses hold a significant edge in Havoc rating over the opposing defenses, and there is value to be had in this matchup.
Charlotte’s offense is reliant on the arm of Reynolds. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns to three interceptions while averaging 8.4 yards per passing attempt.
Grant DuBose is the top receiving target for Reynolds. DuBose has two separate games in which he accumulated over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
A 56-yard TD is how @CharlotteFTBL gets the scoring going in 2021! pic.twitter.com/xlsjznBuh5
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 3, 2021
The offense owns a rush rate of 57% and has continued to feed its trio of running backs. Calvin Camp has emerged as the most effective of the three, averaging 6.0 yards per carry and contributing two touchdowns this season.
The 49ers should find plenty of success against an FIU defense that ranks outside the top 100 in Rushing Success, explosive plays, and Havoc rating.
The Charlotte defense has allowed 7.2 yards per play against FBS opponents this year, which ranks 125th in the nation.
The 49ers rank 13th in Passing Success Rate. But they’ve yet to face a team with a competent air attack like the one they’ll see in this game.
Charlotte has been awful against the run, where it sits near the bottom in the nation in Success Rate. It’s allowed a horrid 6.2 yards per rushing attempt and over 250 yards per game.
Senior defensive end Markees Watts has been a force on the outside and leads the team in sacks for the second straight season.
The 49ers haven’t been able to keep teams out of the end zone, ranking 126th in Finishing Drives.
The slow start to this season is to no fault of the offense. The Panthers have averaged 27 points and over 400 yards per game.
Redshirt senior quarterback Max Bortenschlager has been one of the few bright points for this team. The Maryland transfer has thrown for two touchdowns in all five games this season while averaging 9.5 yards per pass attempt and throwing for 274 yards per game.
He has a pair of explosive go-to receivers in Tyrese Chambers and Bryce Singleton. Chambers has accounted for four touchdowns and leads the team averaging 28 yards per reception. Singleton is averaging four receptions and 80 receiving yards per game.
D’vonte Price leads the team in carries and has averaged 5.4 yards per carry. He’s put up over 80 rushing yards per game and punched in six touchdowns this season.
Florida International’s defense has been nonexistent the first half of the season. The Panthers have allowed 35 points per game and over 500 yards of offense per game.
FIU was embarrassed, 58-21, last time out against rival Florida Atlantic. The Panthers were outgained, 704-388, in total yards.
They’ve allowed 8.9 yards per passing attempt and have shown no ability to provide a pass rush. When facing Charlotte, giving Reynolds time in the pocket is a recipe for disaster.
The unit sits at 111th in Rushing Success Rate and allowed 5.0 yards per rush against FBS opponents.
The Panthers’ 119th ranking in Havoc and 111th ranking in allowing explosive plays will prove to be detrimental for slowing down Charlotte’s offense.
Charlotte vs. FIU Betting Pick
Florida International is just 1-9 straight up in its last 10 games dating back to last season. Its defense has allowed over 500 yards of offense and has shown little ability to stop anyone.
Charlotte is going to find success rushing the ball and create explosive plays through the air.
The best passing attack that Charlotte has faced was Middle Tennessee State, when it allowed 39 points. Bortenschlager is going to expose this defense that ranks 111th in big plays allowed.
Both offenses will hold a huge advantage over the opposing defenses in terms of Havoc, explosive plays, and Finishing Drives.
I’m playing the over of 59 in a game where defensive stops will be few and far between.
Pick: Over 59.5 (Play to 62).
10:30 p.m. ET
The Stanford Cardinal travel to the Valley of the Sun to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Friday night edition of #Pac12AfterDark.
Both teams are coming off of huge upsets over the then-favorites to win the North and South Divisions, as Stanford beat Oregon at home as eight-point underdogs while Arizona State blew out UCLA on the road as three-point underdogs.
Both teams will look to further their momentum as Stanford now controls its destiny to win the Pac-12 North, and Arizona State controls its destiny to win the Pac-12 South.
Which team will establish itself as a dark horse to win the Conference of Champions with a win on Friday night?
If the Cardinal cover or pull the upset, it will be because quarterback Tanner McKee has a huge night.
The Stanford offense will be without several key contributors as top receivers Michael Wilson (who has yet to play this season) and Brycen Tremayne are out, and running back E.J. Smith also remains out. Stanford’s kicker and kickoff man Joshua Karty will miss Friday’s contest, but right guard Branson Bragg will return after missing the Oregon game.
The Stanford offense under coach David Shaw has always been built upon running the football, but this year, the Cardinal have had more success passing than running. They rank 90th in Rush Success Rate but 35th in Pass Success Rate.
McKee has stepped in and excelled since becoming the starter in Week 2 for Stanford, posting 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions on the season. His signature moment thus far came last week when he led the Cardinal on an 11-play, 86-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 24 against Oregon, connecting with receiver Elijah Higgins on a fade on an untimed down.
After Stanford had just one (Nathaniel Peat) of its top four running backs available against UCLA — Peat ran for 2.1 yards per carry — Cardinal running backs averaged 4.5 yards per carry against Oregon. Both starting running back Austin Jones and reserve back and return man Casey Filkins returned to action.
Running the football hasn’t been the Cardinal’s strength this year, but if the offensive line can get some push and take some pressure off of McKee, it will be a tremendous help against the best defense they have seen so far this season.
The Stanford defense hasn’t impressed in terms of key statistics, but the Cardinal defense has stepped up with its back against the wall.
Stanford kept Oregon scoreless in the first quarter last week then got a huge stop with about two minutes to play to give McKee and the offense a chance to tie the game. The defense then got a walk-off four-and-out in overtime to seal the victory.
The defensive line outside of Thomas Booker still leaves a lot to be desired, but the linebackers and secondary have consistently stepped up this season.
The linebacking corps is finally healthy after a couple of years of significant injuries, and this key unit in Lance Anderson’s 3-4 defense has a plethora of strong and athletic tacklers.
The Stanford defense ranks a poor 122nd in Rush Success Rate allowed, but it does rank an impressive 20th in Defensive Line Yards. It will need to hold its ground against Arizona State’s elite rushing offense.
The Stanford defense ranks just 117th in Havoc created, and if it pulls the upset in Tempe, it will need to win the turnover battle.
The secondary, led by standout cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly, has had a handful of inexperienced players like Jimmy Wyrick, Alaka’i Gilman, Nicolas Toomer, and Jaden Slocum step in without the defense missing a beat.
The Stanford defense ranks 33rd in Pass Success Rate allowed, 32nd in big plays allowed and 63rd in pass rush.
Arizona State Offense
Arizona State’s offense has stepped up this season thanks to elite offensive line play. The Sun Devils rank sixth nationally in Line Yards and second in Pass Blocking.
This has allowed the offense to rank sixth in Rush Success Rate, eighth in big plays, and 20th in Finishing Drives.
Arizona State’s 51.7% third-down conversion rate leads the Pac-12 and ranks seventh nationally.
The Arizona State offensive line will be plenty motivated to win the game because of its potential to win the Pac-12 South, but it will also want to send a message to Stanford for starting right guard Henry Hattis, a graduate transfer who started his career in Tempe.
Running backs Rachaad White and DeaMonte Trayanum lead the way for the offense, as they have averaged over five yards per carry apiece. Quarterback Jayden Daniels has also stepped up this season, and he is coming off his best game of the season in the win over UCLA.
Daniels connected with receiver Ricky Pearsall twice in the second quarter for scores of 65 and 54 yards against UCLA’s aggressive defense in Cover 0. Daniels averaged 15.1 yards per pass in the win, as big plays carried the Arizona State offense.
The Sun Devils may not make as many big plays against a more conservative Stanford defense that ranks 32nd in big plays allowed, so moving the ball consistently and making smart decisions to take what the defense gives them will be imperative for a home win and cover.
Arizona State Defense
The Arizona State offense was quite impressive in the win against UCLA, but the Sun Devils defense was arguably more impressive as they held UCLA scoreless in the second half and got three key stops on fourth downs.
They will face a challenge against Stanford, as McKee is the best pocket passer they have faced this season.
The Arizona State defense has been solid so far this season as it ranks among the top 51 units in Defensive Line Yards, Pass Success Rate, pass rush, Havoc created, and big plays allowed.
However, the Sun Devils will be without captain and leading tackler Kyle Soelle for the first half on Friday after he was ejected for targeting in the second half of the UCLA game.
Standout redshirt senior cornerbacks Chase Lucas and Jack Jones will need to have strong performances against the big and physical Cardinal receivers — whom McKee loves to throw fades to — for the Sun Devils to win and cover.
Stanford vs. Arizona State Betting Pick
The Sun Devils are a better team than the Cardinal so far this season, but there is no way they should be laying nearly two touchdowns in this matchup. Stanford is a team that won’t turn the ball over or shoot itself in the foot, while both teams play at a slow pace (both rank 120th nationally in plays per minute).
The Cardinal rank second in the nation with just two turnovers through five games, but both of those turnovers were interceptions by now-backup quarterback Jack West in the opener against Kansas State. McKee hasn’t made many poor decisions at quarterback, so the Sun Devils offense will likely need to score touchdowns — and do so relatively quickly — to cover.
This also feels like an excellent chance to sell high on Arizona State. It turned heads with flashy big plays in the win over UCLA last week, but it won’t have the same opportunities to burn the more conservative Stanford defense over the top.
The Cardinal also have a better secondary that is full of better tacklers than the Bruins.
Overall, the Cardinal have won seven of their last eight against Arizona State, and they have won four of their five games against the Sun Devils under David Shaw.
They will likely be the more disciplined team on the field, and I will gladly back the Cardinal on the spread while sprinkling the moneyline.
I recommend betting 80% of your money on the spread and 20% on the moneyline as the Cardinal are undervalued on both lines. Stanford has been an underdog by more than a touchdown twice this season (at USC and vs. UCLA), and it picked up a 14-point outright win over the Trojans.
I love the Cardinal on the spread this week, although they have grown from 10-point underdogs to 13.5-point underdogs.
I recommend waiting until Friday to see if this line gets to the key number of 14, but I would still be aggressive in betting this at anything more than 10 points on the spread.
Pick: Stanford +13.5
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