Friday College Football Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: UCF vs. Cincy & SJSU vs. New Mexico
C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Mexico Lobos mascot
- Central Florida and Cincinnati play on Friday Night (8 p.m. ET), with betting odds of UCF -3.5 and an over/under of 60.5.
- San Jose State and New Mexico also face off later in the night (10 p.m. ET). The betting market makes SJSU a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 67.
- Our experts give their favorite betting picks for both matchups below.
Thursday night’s college football slate got all kinds of weird, and luckily we don’t have to wait until Saturday to bet again on college football.
Friday greets us with two matchups — UCF vs. Cincinnati and San Jose State vs. New Mexico — and our college football experts Collin Wilson and Stuckey are seeing betting value in both.
Let’s dive in.
Odds as of Thursday evening at 5:20 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
UCF vs. Cincinnati Odds
- Spread: UCF -3.5
- Over/Under: 60.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
UCF vs. Cincinnati Line Movement
The difference between bets and money in this matchup has been substantial, and the line movement has reflected it — at least the most recent movement.
After opening as a field-goal favorite, UCF was immediately brought up to -4/4.5 by Monday, which is where sportsbooks started to field heavy action. Getting two-thirds of bets, the Knights expectedly have been the popular side, but with 61% of actual money hitting Cincy, the line has fallen back down to UCF -3.5.
As for the total, the 82% backing of the over has done little to move the number. Most books are still sitting at the opener of 60.5, while some have inched up by a half point. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: Havoc Will Be the Difference
Cincinnati was a public darling in last year’s collision with Central Florida. The Bearcats entered as a touchdown underdog, but managed just a single offensive score against the Knights. Some of the details have changed over the past 11 months, but the constants remain the same. UCF still owns a high-powered explosive offense and Cincinnati still cannot handle high-havoc defenses.
Like Ohio State, the Knights are a top-10 team at producing plays that go for 20-plus yards. UCF has the fifth-most 20-plus yard passing plays and eighth-most 20-plus yards rushing plays.
Cincinnati, which has lost 13 straight games against top-25 teams, ranks 42nd defensively in 20-yard passes allowed. It is not a stretch to think Cincinnati will give up big plays, and a limited offense will prevent a comeback.
Havoc should also play a big part in the game. Central Florida is fourth in defensive havoc, which does not bode well for a Cincinnati offensive line that is 114th in sack rate. The Knights have 47 tackles for loss, only behind Ohio State.
Ohio State proved that Cincinnati can be rattled with havoc-minded defenses and explosive plays on offense. In addition to what Central Florida brings to the table, Darriel Mack Jr. is back and healthy thus increasing the red zone play package for the Knights.
The Pick: UCF -4 or better
Stuckey: Can Cinci Stutter UCF’s Pace?
Betting the Under in a game involving UCF, which led the nation in Adjusted Pace last season and has scored at least 30 points in 31 straight games, is a scary proposition. But I think there’s some value here.
A lot of UCF’s numbers are impressive but the Knights lost to Pitt, the only team they’ve faced with a pulse. This is arguably a tougher spot for their freshman quarterback, Dillon Gabriel.
Cincinnati’s defense is legitimate and is able to play a very aggressive brand of defense in large part due to star cornerback Coby Bryant.
That style of defense enabled the Bearcats to finish 12th in the nation in rush yards per attempt, while also leading the country in opponent QB completion percentage. That’s an impressive combination.
Like Collin noted, Cincy’s aggressiveness does leave them exposed to the big passing play, which is concerning against UCF, but I am confident in this defense overall.
Cincinnati’s offense does not play fast, and I expect it to play even slower on Friday night to keep UCF’s offense off the field. That leads me to believe that Luke Fickell will go with an even heavier rush attack than normal (Cincinnati currently operates at a 60/40 run/pass clip). The Bearcats will have finally have a fully healthy back-field and will face a defense that is vulnerable against the run.
The Knights ranked 91st in the nation last season, allowing 4.7 yards per rush and Pittsburgh was able to run the rock 37 times for 196 yards. Quarterback Desmond Ridder should come into this game with some confidence, as he torched Marshall last week. Still, I don’t think they’ll ask him to do too much against a very underrated UCF secondary. Expect a heavy ground attack to keep the clock moving.
And when Cincy does have to punt, they have one of the best punters in the nation in James Smith. He can flip a field and pin an opposing offense deep as well as anybody in the country.
Cincinnati isn’t without flaws. Its offensive line has struggled at times and it has had some penalty and red zone problems, but those issues could help the Under.
Ultimately, I think Cincy will control the clock and move the ball on the ground with ease while getting a few key stops with the help of the home crowd. I’d take the Bearcats at any number north of a field goal along with the Under.
San Jose State at New Mexico Betting Odds
- Spread: San Jose State -6.5
- Over/Under: 67
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
- Location: San Jose, Calif.
San Jose State at New Mexico Line Movement
Two-thirds of bettors have been willing to lay the points with San Jose State, which opened as a touchdown favorite. That backing, plus the importance of the key number of seven, have made the line move to -6.5 a significant one.
Helping explain it has been the 58% of actual money landing on New Mexico, revealing how bigger bettors are playing this game.
The total has nudged up from 66.5 to 67 behind 57% of bets and a whopping 90% of dollars. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: Can New Mexico’s Defense Step Up?
San Jose State was on the verge of starting the season with four straight unders until Air Force went for a 4th-and-1 late in the fourth quarter with a 24-point lead.
The Spartans average 71 plays per game and a pedestrian 5.79 yards per play. The key to San Jose State’s victory over Arkansas was that the offense was able to turn explosive plays into touchdowns. That is crucial for the Spartans, as they outside the top 100 in red zone scoring percentage.
New Mexico held Liberty to a total of 27 points in its last game, but once again the Lobos were their own worst enemy. New Mexico didn’t have problems getting into scoring position, but it couldn’t finish drives.
That has been the early theme of the season for Bob Davie’s team, which ranks 114th in red zone scoring percentage.
New Mexico ranks 126th defensive in our havoc ratings, meaning they are not getting into the opponent’s backfield or forcing fumbles.
Both teams should be able to get into scoring range, but finishing drives will be another story.
Our projected total for this game is 57, which is more than a touchdown lower than the current market value. I’ll also be looking for a live opportunity on San Jose State under a field goal.
The Pick: Under 64 or better