College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks: Our Top Bets for Friday, Including Virginia Tech vs. Boston College & Utah vs. Stanford

College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks: Our Top Bets for Friday, Including Virginia Tech vs. Boston College & Utah vs. Stanford article feature image
Credit:

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: The Stanford Cardinal,

  • Another Friday in the fall means some more college football action under the lights.
  • The first Friday of November features two matchups, including Virginia Tech vs. Boston College and Utah vs. Stanford.
  • Check out both of our breakdowns for Friday's college football action below, including odds and picks for each game.

November is here, but that doesn’t mean anything changes from a college football scheduling perspective. We’re still blessed enough to have some gridiron offense to kick off the weekend before Saturday’s gigantic slate.

This week features only two games, but judging by the spread, they should be tight affairs.

The action kicks off in Chestnut Hill as the Virginia Tech Hokies take on the Boston College Eagles as field-goal favorites. Then, we’re treated to some Friday Pac-12 After Dark action for Stanford vs. Utah.

Our writers broke down both games and shared a pick for each, so be sure to check out both previews below.


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.

Game
Time
Pick
7:30 p.m. ET
Virginia Tech -3
10:30 p.m. ET
Utah -7.5
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.

Virginia Tech vs. Boston College

Friday, Nov. 5
7:30 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Virginia Tech -3

By Kyle Remillard

The Boston College Eagles hope to end their four-game losing streak Friday night as they welcome the Virginia Tech Hokies to Chestnut Hill.

Hopes were high for the Boston College program after starting out the season 4-0 in nonconference play, but the offense has struggled to replace the hole at quarterback since the injury to starter Phil Jurkovec.

In the Eagles’ four conference games, the offense has produced an average of 10 points with less than 300 yards of total offense. Boston College has mustered up 4.1 yards per play in that span, which ranks outside the top 125 in the nation.

Virginia Tech snapped its three-game losing streak last week with a 26-17 win over Georgia Tech. The Hokies are 4-4 on the season, and this matchup with Boston College is pivotal for their hopes of making it to bowl season.

Boston College’s ability to manufacture some source of offensive production will determine whether or not its season can be saved.


Virginia Tech Hokies

Virginia Tech Offense 

The Virginia Tech offense has finally found a piece to complement running back Raheem Blackshear in the backfield. True freshman Malachi Thomas has emerged and rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back games. The duo is averaging five yards per rush and has punched in seven touchdowns on the ground.

Quarterback Braxton Burmeister is the third leg in the rushing tripod for the Hokies as he leads the team in carries. As a passer, he’s averaged 7.2 yards per pass attempt and tossed nine touchdowns to three interceptions.

His go-to receiver, Tré Turner, exploded last week for 187 yards on seven catches including a 69-yard touchdown.

The rushing game should be on full display Friday night against a BC run defense that has proven to be vulnerable over the last two weeks.

Virginia Tech Defense

The Hokie defense had its worst game of the year two weeks ago, allowing Syracuse to put up 41 points on 550 total yards. Last week, the unit bounced back by holding Georgia Tech to 17 points and forcing two turnovers.

Linebacker Alan Tisdale had a monster game in which he finished with 12 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. He received an 85.6 preliminary grade from PFF, which is the highest of his career.

The Virginia Tech defense has been stout in defending the pass, where it ranks inside the top 10 in Success Rate. The group should have a field day with whichever quarterback Boston College goes with.


Boston College Eagles

Boston College Offense

The Boston College offense is to blame for the season goals dwindling away. It’s lacked consistent quarterback play, the offensive line is struggling, and it hasn’t racked up any explosive plays.

Running back Patrick Garwo has been the most consistent source of offense for the Eagles. Garwo has averaged 5.9 yards per carry and punched in five touchdowns, while the rest of the ball carriers have averaged just 2.8 yards per carry.

Redshirt senior quarterback Dennis Grosel has started every game since the injury to Jurkovec. He’s tossed six touchdowns to seven interceptions and averaged 6.3 yards per pass attempt. The ceiling is low for this offense with Grosel under center, as he has eclipsed the 200-yard passing mark only once this season.

Head coach Jeff Hafley finally pulled the plug and put in the true freshman quarterback Emmett Morehead last week. He completed 40% of his 15 pass attempts for 87 yards in his FBS debut. It was the first live-game action that Morehead had seen since his high school days in 2019 after his 2020 season was canceled.

It’s still to be determined who will be under center for Boston College in this game. But neither quarterback has proven capable of running the pro-style offense that Hafley implemented.

Boston College Defense

The Eagles’ rushing defense has been deteriorating in recent weeks. The unit is allowing 5.0 yards per carry and 182 rushing yards per game against FBS opponents.  In the last two weeks, it allowed over 620 rushing yards to Syracuse and Louisville.

The BC defense looks solid on paper against the pass, allowing just 187 yards per game, which ranks 15th in the nation. But they’ve only faced an average of 25 passes per contest (seventh-lowest in the nation) as teams have been running all over it.

The group hasn’t created any chaos, as it sits outside the top 100 in Havoc rating. Boston College has amounted only 12 total sacks, good for an average of 1.5 per game.


Virginia Tech vs. Boston College Betting Pick

Boston College was shredded by dual-threat quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks. Louisville’s Malik Cunningham and Syracuse’s Garrett Shrader combines for over 210 yards and four touchdowns.  In total, the Eagles allowed over 620 rushing yards while allowing 6.4 yards per carry in those two matchups.

This week, they face another dominant rushing attack that’s led by a mobile quarterback in Burmeister.

The Hokies have been a better team than their record appears, with close losses to West Virginia, Notre Dame, and Syracuse.

Boston College, meanwhile, has looked worse than its 4-4 record may appear. The season is slipping away from the Eagles’ claws, and they don’t have a quarterback that can save it.

Pick: Virginia Tech -3

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Utah vs. Stanford

Friday, Nov. 5
10:30 p.m. ET
FS1
Utah -7.5

By Roberto Arguello

The Utah Utes travel to the Farm to take on the Stanford Cardinal in a Friday night edition of Pac-12 After Dark.

Utah comes in riding high after beating UCLA, 44-24, last Saturday in Salt Lake City. The Utes are 5-3 on the season, but they lead the Pac-12 South at 4-1 in conference play.

After Arizona State lost at home last week as two-touchdown favorites, the Utes essentially have a two-game lead in the Pac-12 South, as they already own the tiebreaker with the Sun Devils (who are 3-2 in conference play).

The Cardinal sit in the Pac-12 North’s basement at 2-4 in conference play after a frustrating 20-13 home loss to Washington last Saturday night. For the second consecutive game, the Cardinal had the ball late in the fourth quarter with the lead.

Instead of picking up points or moving the chains enough to run the clock out, the Cardinal opted to play conservatively and punt each time.

Both at Washington State and at home against Washington, the Cardinal’s defense allowed the opposing offense to score a touchdown on its final drive as Stanford lost each game.

Can the Cardinal bounce back with a win — and cover — against the Utes on Friday night?


Utah Utes

Utah Offense

If Utah wins and covers as 7.5-point favorites, it will be because it establishes the run.

The strength of the Utah offense is the running game, and this will open up the play-action pass for quarterback Cameron Rising to connect with tight ends Dalton Kincaid and Brant Kuithe (who lead the team in receiving yards).

This recipe has worked well for the Utes after Rising took over as the starting quarterback. Expect their offense, which ranks 16th in Line Yards and 42nd in Rush Success Rate, to have success on the ground against a poor Stanford rush defense.

Running back Tavion Thomas is coming off a dominant performance in which he rushed 24 times for 160 yards and four touchdowns against UCLA’s defense that was thought to be strong against the run.

Since Rising became the starter against Washington State, the Utes have gone 4-1 (all against Pac-12 opponents) with their only loss coming at Oregon State, 42-34.

Had Rising played against BYU or played earlier against San Diego State (he entered against SDSU in relief and nearly led the Utes back to win as he threw for three touchdowns), Utah would be ranked.

Utah Defense

Utah’s defense will help the Utes win and cover if it can put pressure on Stanford’s quarterback. The Cardinal are the worst rushing team in the Pac-12, so the Utes will need to stop Stanford’s passing game to win.

The strength of the Cardinal offense is that they rank 21st in big plays and rank 55th in Pass Success Rate.

The Utes will need to limit the Cardinal’s big plays and force them to win by methodically moving the ball down the field and converting in the red zone. This will be a challenge for the Stanford offense that has generated no push at the line of scrimmage and ranks 105th in Finishing Drives.

Top-Graded @PFF Defensive Players thru Week 9

84.3—Devin Lloyd, Utah
84.1—Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
83.9—Marqez Bimage, Cal
83.7—Drake Jackson, USC
82.0—Tuli Tuipulotu, USC
81.8—Elijah Hicks, Cal
81.2—Ron Stone Jr., WSU
80.5—Kyler Gordon, Washington
79.8—Vonte Davis, Utah

— SportsPac12 (@SportsPac12) November 2, 2021

Linebacker Devin Lloyd leads this talented defense for Utah. Lloyd leads the Pac-12 with 14 tackles for loss, and he also comes in as PFF’s highest-graded linebacker in the Conference of Champions.

Fellow linebacker Nephi Sewell is the second-highest graded linebacker in the Pac-12, while defensive end Mika Tafua ranks third in the conference with 8.5 tackles for loss, as the Utes rank 24th in Havoc created.


Stanford Cardinal

Stanford Offense

The Cardinal need Tanner McKee to play on Friday to have a chance to cover or win outright.

After playing just about every meaningful snap since Week 1, McKee was surprisingly listed as questionable for the game against Utah this week.

However, the good news for Stanford fans is that its top receiver, Michael Wilson, will make his season debut on Friday.

Other Stanford personnel updates vs. Utah

– WR Michael Wilson is a full go, TE Bradley Archer will also return

– DBs Salim Turner-Muhammad & Ethan Bonner are probable

– WRs John Humphreys & Elijah Higgins are questionable

– RB/PR Casey Filkins & TE Lukas Ungar are out https://t.co/umkzxeywCc

— Troy Clardy (@TroyClardy) November 2, 2021

If big-bodied receivers John Humphreys and Elijah Higgins (both questionable) play on Friday, this will be a big boost for a Cardinal team that will need to win through the air with big plays against Utah.

The Cardinal are still talented even without those two, as Wilson, tight end Ben Yurosek, and running back/wide receiver E.J. Smith are more than capable of carrying the passing game.

However, the offensive line play hasn’t been up to par for Stanford. The Cardinal have seemingly gotten worse at the line of scrimmage year after year since about 2016, and this offensive line may be the worst.

The Cardinal rank 120th in Line Yards and 115th in Rush Success Rate — a far cry from the dominant rushing attacks and “Intellectual Brutality” that took the Cardinal to three Rose Bowls over the last decade.

Stanford also ranks a disappointing 91st in pass blocking, and this has made it tough to score when it hasn’t connected on big plays. Stanford has scored more than 24 points in regulation just once in its last five Pac-12 games.

If McKee is healthy, it will have a puncher’s chance of winning this game if its offensive line steps up.

However, if the offensive line can’t keep Lloyd, Tafua, and the rest of the Utah defense out of the backfield, or if McKee is out, the Cardinal will get blown out.

The gap between McKee and backup quarterback Jack West will be insurmountable for the Cardinal offense, as West has looked horrible in his small sample size of meaningful action, most recently in Week 1 when he threw two interceptions against Kansas State.

Stanford Defense

The Stanford offense needs to play well for the Cardinal to have a chance because its defense can’t even stop a nosebleed right now.

Stanford’s defense faces a stiff challenge against the Utah rushing attack, as the Cardinal rank 123rd in Line Yards and 128th in Rush Success Rate. If the Cardinal hope to win or cover, they need to stop the run and give themselves a chance to stop Rising through the air on third downs.

The strength of the Cardinal defense is that they rank 15th in big plays allowed and rank 40th in Pass Success Rate. The Cardinal have one of the best corners in the conference in Kyu Blu Kelly, and freshman nickel Jimmy Wyrick has also been impressive.

The Cardinal secondary will also get a boost, as they likely welcome back cornerbacks Salim Turner-Muhammad and Ethan Bonner (both are probable), who have combined to play in just one game this season.


Utah vs. Stanford Betting Pick

The Utes are the better team on both lines of scrimmage, and unless the Stanford offensive line and McKee step up, they should win and cover as 7.5-point favorites.

Expect the Utes to run all over the Cardinal defense and put up 30 or more points. Wait until the news on McKee’s status comes out before placing your bets. If McKee is active, I would expect the spread to go back down to -7 (where it sat before he was announced questionable), and you can buy the Utes at a better price.

If McKee is out, I would expect the spread to rise up toward Utah -10. If McKee plays, take Utah at -8 or better at a half unit. If McKee is out, take Utah at -13 or better.

If Utah is at -8 or better with McKee out, I would place two units on the Utes. If McKee is out and the spread is between -13 and -8.5, I recommend 1.5 units on Utah.

Pick: Utah -7.5



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