We're one sleep away from another college football Saturday, but Friday's slate is jam packed with four intriguing matchups for bettors to sink their teeth into to hold us over in the mean time. Including an ACC clash between Pitt and Syrcause and a Big Ten battle as Ohio State travels to Northwestern. We bring you the bets you need to make for these matchups with must-read notes for betting sides, total, props and everything in between.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
The Florida Atlantic Owls look to remain unbeaten in Conference USA play as they host Marshall on Friday night – and they'll also be hoping to atone for a truly dreadful showing in last year's meeting. The Owls turned the ball over five times without forcing a single opposition turnover in a 31-6 rout at the hands of the Thundering Herd, a major reason why FAU finished with a -7 turnover margin for the year. Fast forward to 2019, and the Owls have completely reversed that trend, ranking sixth in the nation with a +8 turnover differential; Marshall, on the other hand, comes in with a -3 turnover margin for the year.
FAU comes in as a 5.5-point favorite, but a couple of extra possessions for the Owls (and, subsequently, fewer possessions for the Thundering Herd) would undoubtedly make a significant difference. We like the home team to cover.
OH, THAT O-LINE
The Syracuse Orange came into the season with aspirations of a marquee bowl appearance – but a shell-shocked offensive line has led to tempered expectations entering Friday's pivotal ACC showdown with visiting Pittsburgh. The Orange have already allowed 26 sacks on the season (an average of 4.33 per game), leaving quarterback Tommy DeVito scrambling to stay upright. And the O-line has also had a significant negative impact on the run game, which comes into Friday's game against the Panthers ranked 109th in the country (119.8 yards per game) on just 3.06 yards per carry.
Pitt comes in ranked second in the nation in total sacks (27) and fourth in the ACC in both rushing and passing defense. Even with the benefit of home field, we don't see the Orange reaching their 23.5-point team total here.
NOTHING FOR NORTHWESTERN?
The Ohio State Buckeyes have shut down just about every offense they've faced so far this season – and this week's task shouldn't be overly difficult as they take on the stumbling Northwestern Wildcats on Friday night. Visiting Ohio State has allowed 10 or fewer points in each of its previous five games and ranks fourth in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Buckeyes also lead the nation with 28 sacks through six games. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have been an absolute mess with the football, ranking near the bottom of the pack in scoring (14.4 points per game) and passing offense (140.4 yards per game).
Northwestern should do enough on the defensive side of the football to keep Ohio State from putting up video game-like numbers – but we have no idea how the Wildcats expect to score. We like the Buckeyes ATS and the Under.
The UNLV Rebels have succeeded greatly when using a run-heavy attack – and fans and bettors can expect more of the same Friday night as they visit struggling Fresno State. The Rebels ran the ball 53 times in last week's stunning 34-10 upset of the heavily favored Vanderbilt, and are now 7-3 SU in their last 10 games when finishing with 50+ rushes in a contest. Fresno State's run defense ranks in the middle of the pack (155.6 yards per game against) but was positively gashed for 340 yards on a whopping 69 carries in last week's 43-24 loss to Air Force Academy.
Time of possession will be critical for UNLV in this one; Fresno State still scored 24 points last week despite having the ball for just 20 minutes. With both teams looking strong offensively, we like the Over.