Friday Pack of Hot College Football Picks

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While the biggest games of this weekend in college football are saved for Saturday, Friday offers up plenty of action worthy of gambling on as well. The Friday slate features three conference championship confrontations and one other contest that are worthy of a look. Here is the breakdown, with all odds courtesy of BetOnline:

C-USA Championship: UAB at Marshall (-4½) O/U: 42

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
UAB +4½ (-105) +175 O 43½ (-112)
Marshall -4½ (-115) -205 U 43½ (-108)

Alabama-Birmingham, with a rather pedestrian overall record of 5-3, and 7-1 Marshall both enter this title tilt with only one conference loss this season. The two teams are more closely matched than it appears at first to the naked eye. This game features two elite defenses, making the Over/Under one of the smaller totals of the season and appealing to the shrewd gambler right off the bat. Marshall was held scoreless by Rice in its last game, a 20-0 loss. UAB was able to score 21 on that same Rice team in its last game. So despite the fact that UAB averages 29.3 points per game and Marshall 32.8 overall on the season, the defenses will dominate this one and it is likely to end up being an ugly, physical battle. In a contest that figures to be low scoring, it is safe to take the team that is getting 5.5 points along with the Under. That’s UAB. It also should be noted that Alabama-Birmingham held usually high-scoring Appalachian State to seven points in a 17-7 victory earlier in the season, yet another indicator that it owns a formidable defense. And you know the old cliché: defenses win championships. Bets, too.

The Bets
UAB +4½

Nebraska (-6½) at Rutgers O/U: 54

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Nebraska -6½ (-119) -260 O 54 (-110)
Rutgers +6½ (-101) +220 U 54 (-110)

The 2-5 Cornhuskers finish a disappointing campaign with a trip to take on 3-5 Rutgers in a cellar-dweller matchup of the Big Ten. As unappealing as that sounds on the surface, there is a bet to be placed and money to be made, making it far more interesting. Nebraska lost as nine-point favorites last week to a Minnesota team that was missing 33 players mostly because of COVID-19 complications. Rutgers beat Maryland in overtime 27-24 last week as underdogs. This is a classic buy-low, sell-high matchup. Take the Cornhuskers to finish their season winning by at least one touchdown in Piscataway.

The Pick: -6.5

The Pick:
Nebraska -6½

MAC Championship: Ball State at Buffalo (-13) O/U: 67

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Ball State +13 (-105) +450/td> O 67½ (-110)
Buffalo U -13 (-115) -570 U 67½ (-110)

Ball State (5-1) takes on 5-0 Buffalo in Detroit on Friday night to settle the MAC championship. Buffalo is the highest-scoring offense in the country, averaging 51.8 points per game. Ball State averages 33.7 a game, so it is safe to assume a shootout in this matchup. Ball State lost its first game of the season to Miami (O.) by three points, but since then they have rattled off five wins in a row in this abbreviated season. Buffalo has won every one of its games by at least 19 points, which is the criteria oddsmakers have used to install them as huge favorites. However, this Cardinals team features the best roster the Bulls have faced all season. Ball State will be able to run with the Bulls on the scoreboard and this game will stay within the 13.5-point spread, while the Over will hit easily.

The Bets
Ball State +13
OVER 67½

PAC-12 Championship: No. 13 Southern California (-3) vs. Oregon O/U: 63

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Oregon +3 (-110) +140 O 64 (-110)
USC -3 (-102) -160 U 64 (-110)

They should call this the COVID-19 Bowl. The PAC-12 North champion this season was Washington. But underachieving Oregon (3-2) will represent the division on Friday night because Washington was unable to field a roster due to too many positive COVID tests. While Oregon is a familiar name in this game, this Oregon team is not as talented as many of the ones in the recent past. The Ducks lost two games in a row to Oregon State and California, two teams that are a combined 1-7 against all other opponents this season. Southern California (5-0), on the other hand, is coming off a thrilling comeback win over rival UCLA and is looking to cap off an undefeated regular season with a PAC-12 title that is highly coveted despite the brevity of the COVID-shortened season and the late switch in the North Division representative. USC quarterback Kedon Slovis is poised to have another big game and will lead the Trojans to at least a seven-point win in the title game Friday night.

The Pick:
USC -3
Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.