With conference play starting up, Friday nights are going to be a lot more fun in college football.
We'll see a legitimate, New Year's Six-impacting game between UCLA and Washington on Friday. We've got a reeling Boise State team that will look to rebound from last Friday's disaster against Texas-El Paso, and we've got a surprisingly-crucial AAC matchup that may determine a title-game participant in that conference between Tulane and Houston.
How can we bet these games on the sharp side?
Note: All college football odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook. Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. Please check numberFire's model to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.
Under 54.5 (-106) - 1 Star
Over 70% of the bets and money are on Houston in this one, and backing Houston has meant a high total thus far. They've scored at least 30 points and allowed at least 27 points in every game -- including against Rice.
The Green Wave might be able to totally suck the wind out of their sails, though. Tulane's defense -- which limited the talented Kansas State Wildcats to 10 points -- is 10th in the country in yards per play allowed.
That's a brutal combination with their triple-option rushing attack. Tulane is 50th in rush yards per attempt (4.4), and they're only throwing 39.1% of the time. Houston's run defense might be the weakness of their entire team. The Cougars are 75th in rush yards per attempt allowed (4.3).
This total won't make sense and be an easy "over" bet to many given the Cougars' four games this season. In fact, 73% of bets are on that side, but sharps have pounded the "under" here 60% of the time.
I'm siding with them given Tulane's innate ability to run the ball, control the clock, and play tremendous defense thus far.
UCLA +3 (-114) - 5 Stars
Well, that wasn't the week the Huskies had in mind.
Their 40-22 win over Stanford was fine, but as happens in college football, their standing as a truly "great" team took a big hit elsewhere. Their claim to fame was a 39-28 win over Michigan State at home, and MSU got drubbed by Minnesota in their building.
numberFire's model adjusted accordingly. Our model is picking the Bruins to win outright 63.1% of the time.
I concur. Chip Kelly and the Bruins are 15th in the country in yards per play (6.9) behind star dual-threat signal-caller Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who returned to L.A. for his senior season. However, the more surprising element might be the fact they've got a top-40 defense, according to ESPN's SP+ analytical rankings.
UW's offensive success could be short-lived. Those SP+ ranks post Washington as just the 44th-best offense in the country when adjusting for their weaker schedule thus far.
Overall, this should be a good contest, but the value lies with the Bruins at home. Washington now travels on a short week after playing four consecutive home games to start the year. That odd setting could disrupt what's been a surprising offense so far, and the balanced UCLA attack -- on both sides of the ball -- doesn't provide much room for error.