Friday College Football Betting: Odds & Picks for Ohio State-Northwestern, Pitt-Syracuse, 2 More
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: JK Dobbins
- There are four college football games on Friday night, and you can bet that we'll be wagering on them.
- Ohio State vs. Northwestern has the most name value but largest point spread, while FAU-Marshall and Pitt-Syracuse present some interesting handicapping angles.
The college football scheduling czars have blessed bettors with four games on Friday night, coming in all shapes and sizes.
The Ohio State bulldozer will be on display in Evanston, looking to dump Northwestern as a four-touchdown favorite. Marshall and FAU square off in an interesting Conference USA showdown that features the exact same point spread from one of the worst beats of all-time two years ago.
Sandwiched between those two games is Pitt-Syracuse, and UNLV-Fresno State will cap off the slate.
Here’s how we’re betting all four games.
Friday College Football Odds & Picks
Marshall vs. FAU Odds
- Odds: FAU -5.5
- Over/Under: 58.5
- Moneyline: FAU -220, Marshall +180
- Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
Both teams have faced a common opponent within the last few weeks and it’s skewing the line in this game. Two weeks ago, Marshall lost to Middle Tennessee 24-13. Last week, FAU beat MTSU 28-13.
On the surface it looks like FAU is the much better team but that’s not the case upon further review. Marshall’s loss to the Blue Raiders was on the road and they out gained them 578-404 before turnovers did them in. FAU took care of business at home but Middle Tennessee out gained them 459-364.
These two games were a microcosm of both team’s seasons thus far. Marshall has gotten unlucky from a yards-per-play to points-per-play perspective while FAU has been very fortunate. In fact, FAU ranks 96th in the country in YPP on offense and defense while Marshall is 44th and 68th respectively.
The way that FAU’s defense can get stops is when their defensive line that ranks 20th in line score dominates the line of scrimmage. Marshall will be able to combat that a big, experienced offensive line that ranks 19th in offensive line score.
My power numbers on this game make FAU just under a one-point favorite so I’ll be the Thundering Heard in this one. The number is currently sitting at 5.5 right where it opened so I’m holding out hope for a six or 6.5.
I’ll back the Herd all the way down to 3.5. — Kyle Miller
Miller’s Pick: Marshall +5.5 or better
Pittsburgh at Syracuse Odds
- Spread: Pittsburgh -3.5
- Over/Under: 52
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
Don’t sleep on the enormous advantage Syracuse will have on special teams. The Orange have one of the best special teams units in the country thanks to an elite punter and kicker, while Pitt has had one of the worst special teams units in NCAA in 2019. Here are a few highlights demonstrating this discrepancy:
- Syracuse ranks second in the nation with a 45.16 net punting average. Pitt ranks 98th at 36.42
- Syracuse has allowed just 12 opponent punt return yards on 37 punts. Pitt has allowed 177 on one less punt.
- Andre Szmyt, who won the Lou Groza Award last year as a freshman, is one of the best kickers in the nation. He did show his human side with a miss off the upright (his only miss of the year) last week but Pitt’s Alex Kessman, who does have a strong leg, has made just 6-of-12 field goals this year.
- Syracuse is averaging 11.44 yards per punt return; Pitt 6.83
- Syracuse hasn’t been great on kickoff returns but Pitt has been even worse
I think you get the point. No matter where you look, Syracuse has the edge on special teams. They should win the field-position battle and be more reliable when it comes to field goals all night long.
Pitt’s also the fourth-most penalized team in the country (83.17 penalty yards per game) which can be a killer on road games against similar competition.
The Syracuse offensive line and inaccuracy of Tommy DeVito does scare me but since I make this game a pick ’em, I’ll likely roll with the home dog small at +3.5, especially if we get some positive injury news in that Orange secondary. — Stuckey
The Pick: Syracuse +3.5
Ohio State vs. Northwestern
- Odds: Ohio State -27
- Over/Under: 50
- Moneyline: Ohio State -400 | NW +1500
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV: Fox Sports 1
There isn’t a single statistical category I can put in this space to convince someone to back the Wildcats. I won’t list them all here, but they’re bad.
Statistical Collin is going to tell you that +28 is too much and the Northwestern secondary can keep this game a grind giving value at five scores with the Wildcats.
Situational Collin would tell you Ohio State has Wisconsin next week, which may force the Buckeyes to scale back the playbook.
Conspiracy Collin will tell you the Ryan Field ground crew is growing the grass surface out an extra inch this week to slow down the Buckeyes attack.
Financial Collin will have the last say, and I know that Northwestern will be a bigger underdog than +28.5 in live betting.
This Northwestern defense is legit, and the best time to play the Wildcats will be after Fitzgerald’s halftime adjustments, about the same time the Buckeyes may start thinking about Wisconsin.
Ohio State has scored at least 27 points in each first half this season and could again here.
From a live betting script, look to back the Buckeyes and over in the first half, while Fitzgerald and the under will certainly make my card for the second half. — Collin Wilson
Pick: 1H Over 27, 2H NW and Under
UNLV at Fresno State
- Spread: Fresno State -14.5
- Over/Under: 52.5
- Time: Friday, 10 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
This has blowout written all over it as the Bulldogs look to bounce back from a bad conference loss against an inferior opponent at home. It’s also a sleepy spot for UNLV, which earned one of the program’s biggest wins last week at Vanderbilt.
Not only will UNLV have to re-focus after that enormous upset, but the Rebels are traveling for the second weekend in a row and are on short rest. UNLV will also likely be without quarterback Armani Rogers, meaning freshman Kenyon Oblad will get his second straight start.
The offense just isn’t as explosive with Oblad, who is nowhere near the caliber of runner that Rogers is in the RPO game.
In almost identical amout of minutes against FBS opponents this year, the UNLV offense is averaging a yard fewer on the ground with Oblad under center.
UNLV, who ran it 51 times against only 16 passes last week, will have to try to methodically grind drives with its backs, which should keep the clock moving when UNLV is on offense. The Fresno State defense does have some issues on the front 7, but it’s more than capable of slowing down this sub-par offense.
Fresno plays at a slower pace, which should help the under, but you can expect the Bulldogs to have enough success against a porous UNLV defense to build up a comfortable lead.
This is also a huge coaching mismatch as Fresno has one of the better Group of 5 staffs and UNLV has one of the worst.
I make this line Fresno -20 before even accounting for the favorable situational spot for Fresno, so would take the home team at anything 17 or below. I’d also play Under 52 or above. — Stuckey
The Pick(s): Fresno -17 or better; Under 52 or better