Yale vs Columbia Odds, Picks | College Football Friday Betting Guide
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Yale Bulldogs quarterback Nolan Grooms.
- Yale takes on Columbia in an Ivy League Friday night college football rivalry.
- Who has the edge in this matchup of FCS teams?
- Keg has you covered below!
Yale vs. Columbia Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Yale hits the road again this week after suffering its first Ivy League loss of the season last Saturday at the hands of Penn. Many expected a close game between the two, as both came into the matchup undefeated in conference play. They did not disappoint.
Penn took the lead with just 20 seconds left in the game, sealing a 20-13 victory. Despite the loss, Yale left no question regarding its place as one of the best defensive teams in the Ivy League. The Bulldogs held the Quakers to just 67 rushing yards and recorded two sacks.
They now turn their attention to another top defense in the conference in Columbia, which is giving up just 16.8 points per contest.
Columbia will be playing its fourth home game in five weeks on Friday night, but there seems to be little home-field advantage for the Lions. Columbia is just 1-3 at home this year and has yet to cover the spread in Wien Stadium.
The Lions’ defense is one of the best in FCS, but that means little if they can’t win games. Do they have what it takes to edge out the Bulldogs in a defensive standoff and secure their first conference win of the season?
The Bulldogs had no answer for the Penn passing attack last week. Penn put up 351 passing yards on the Bulldogs and averaged 11.7 yards per completion.
Penn secured a new set of downs on nearly every completion, which was infuriating for Yale backers to watch. The Quakers logged more first downs due to a pass than the Bulldogs did as a whole.
The good news for Yale is that Columbia passes the ball nearly 20% less than the Quakers — and it’s nowhere near as good.
One of the biggest concerns for Yale will be maintaining its success running the ball against the best rush defense in the Ivy. The Bulldogs performed well against Penn, racking up 180 yards on the ground but failed to cash in on their few trips to the red zone.
Penn is the best team in the conference in red-zone defense, so that can be understood. However, Columbia comes in last, allowing teams to score on 82.4% of trips.
If Yale fails to make the most of its trips inside the 20, it could very well cost it this game.
No FCS team in the country is better than the Lions at stopping the run. Columbia is holding teams to just 54.5 rushing yards per contest.
Along with that, it has one of the nation’s most significant threats to the backfield in defensive lineman Justin Townsend.
Townsend is tied for fifth among all FCS players with six sacks on the season. He also ranks sixth on Columbia’s single-season list and still has four games left. For reference, Daniel Delorenzi holds the Lions’ single-season record with 10 sacks in 2018.
Columbia hasn’t been bad on the offensive side of the ball, but it hasn’t been great either. The Lions live and die with the run. They have the sixth-leading rusher in the conference but rank eighth in the nation in tackles for loss allowed.
Columbia’s most significant advantage on offense is its lack of mistakes. It leads the Ivy League in both third-down conversions and penalties, with just 29 flags so far this season. However, there’s concern that it’ll struggle to convert on third down against a Yale defense giving up conversions on just 37.6% of attempts.
The Lions are second-to-last in the Ivy League in yards per punt, averaging just 33.9 yards per kick.
Yale vs Columbia Betting Pick
Friday night marks the 100th all-time meeting between these two Ivy League founders. Yale holds a daunting 75-22-2 lead in the series, and the Bulldogs are also 13-5 at Wien Stadium.
However, the Lions held them off on their last visit, posting a 17-10 win back in 2018.
I have no doubt both defenses will excel in this matchup. My only concern is how much this Columbia team can slow down Yale, the conference’s best rushing offense.
Dartmouth ranks last in nearly every offensive category in the Ivy League and still put up 27 points in a win over the Lions.
Meanwhile, Yale has struggled to pull away from opponents and maintain a lead. The Bulldogs are the better team, but I wouldn’t back them as more than a touchdown favorite.