Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
Friday's Best Bets
Editor's Note: Don't miss out on College Football winners from Matt Blunt on VegasInsider.com. Click to win!
The Friday night lights shine on eight different teams in college football this week as it's a nice mix of games across the board. It's because of the schedule being that way that there was no one game to really isolate on, so it's going to be some quick-hitters on most of these games to hopefully help with your handicapping process.
Last week, it was missed opportunities galore for Virginia in their 17-9 loss to Miami, as turnovers, the inability to score TD's, and the inability to get a late stop had all Virginia backers like myself pulling at their hair for that final result. Hopefully this week's top play for Friday can provide better results, so let's get right to some of these games.
Marshall at FAU
Venue/Location: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Time/TV: Friday, Oct. 18 (CBSSN, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Line: FAU -5.5, Total 57.5
A short week for both teams here which could suggest some sloppy football and a look towards the low side of the total. Both teams are coming off double-digit victories last weekend where they held their opponents to 17 points or less which would further support that look to the 'under.' That is the total side that's getting about 60% of the support currently, but it's also support that has yet to force a move on the number.
In terms of the side, that hasn't moved yet either, despite strong 70%+ support on Marshall as an underdog. Given that Marshall is just 1-5 ATS and hasn't covered a spread since the second week of the season, backing the Thundering Herd here in a public underdog role isn't something I'd be particularly interested in. Each of Marshall's two road games this year have been losses by at least seven points, and I'm not sure they've got the offensive firepower to keep up with Lane Kiffin's squad should the Owls be rather sharp. The Owls have scored 40+ in three of their last four games and Marshall hasn't had back-to-back solid offensive performances all year.
It would be home team or nothing here for me.
Pittsburgh at Syracuse
Venue/Location: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
Time/TV: Friday, Oct. 18 (ESPN, 7:00 p.m. ET)
Line: Pittsburgh -3.5, Total 52
There were some big expectations for the Orange this year, but blowout losses to Maryland and Clemson early killed those dreams in a hurry, and a 1-4 ATS run coming into this week's game has their stock in the betting market arguably at it's lowest point of the season. Syracuse couldn't get much of anything done offensively last week against a ho-hum NC State squad, and now they welcome a Pitt team to town that's 4-1 ATS in their last five overall.
Pitt's run recently is highlighted by their SU win over UCF a few weeks back, but they put a serious scare in Penn State as well, along with going into Duke last week and beating the Blue Devils as a small road dog. Recent form suggests Pittsburgh is the play, but I'm not buying it. If Syracuse's stock is near/at an all-time low, then can't you consider Pittsburgh's stock being near/at an all-time high this year?
If that ends up being the case, laying road chalk here of any number with the Panthers is egregious, and it's not like Syracuse has lost ALL the talent they had coming into the year when many expected big things from them. At home in the Carrier Dome under the lights on a Friday night as the potential to be a crazy atmosphere that's worth multiple points to the Orange, although I'm not sure you'll even need the points here. Syracuse gets things together finally in 2019 and wins this game outright.
Best Bet: Syracuse +3.5
Ohio State vs. Northwestern
Venue/Location: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
Time/TV: Friday, Oct. 18 (BTN, 8:30 p.m. ET)
Line: Ohio State -28.5, Total 49.5
Based on the results so far in 2019, I've gone against Ohio State far more often than anyone should, and although there are some things working in the Wildcats favor, it's extremely tough to step in front of this freight train that are the Ohio State Buckeyes this year. Your own past results betting for/against a particular team should never have a heavy influence on said team's games in the future, and it would be Northwestern or nothing for me here, but it's ultimately going to be a pass.
Yet, in terms of treating teams like stock valuations, Ohio State's stock continues to rise and eventually it will be time to sell on them. Laying four TD's on the road in a prime time conference game would appear to be a great spot to hit the sell button on Ohio State, especially when Ohio State is on a 3-7 ATS run against losing teams and Northwestern is 6-1 ATS off a SU loss, but I'll be ultimately on the sidelines here.
UNLV vs. Fresno State
Venue/Location: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, CA
Time/TV: Friday, Oct. 18 (CBSSN, 10:00 p.m. ET)
Line: Fresno State -15.5, Total 53
Interesting spot here as you've got a UNLV team off a huge 34-10 upset win over Vanderbilt as 16-point underdogs visiting a Fresno State team that got blasted by Air Force (43-24) last week. Casual bettors would take in those two results and jump on UNLV plus the points in all likelihood, but like the first game on Friday's card, it would be the home team or nothing for me here.
Fresno State is in a rebuilding year after losing so much talent from last year's conference championship team, and they continue to try and need to find their footing. But fading a team after such a big upset win is a scenario that should take precedence here, because it's highly unlikely that everything goes right for UNLV two weeks in a row.
Vanderbilt's not really a good team in their own right and probably shouldn't have been laying that many points, but that was the first time all year against FBS competition that UNLV scored more than 17 points and allowed fewer than 30. We probably see both of those things revert back to form with Fresno State running away with this game in the 2nd half.
Best Bet: Fresno State -15.5