How we bet on Friday’s NCAAF games

There’s something special about Friday night lights, and this penultimate Friday of the 2022 college football season is no exception.

Friday’s schedule includes two games in the pool of five: South Florida against Tulsa in the AAC and San Diego State against New Mexico in the Mountain West.

While not quite as robust as the Black Friday slate we’ll have on our plates next week, it’s sure to be a good appetizer for Saturday’s main course.

Read on to see how our writers are betting on Friday night’s two college football games below – and be sure to check back tomorrow for even more Week 12 college football betting coverage.

Best Friday College Football Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups our college football team is targeting Friday night. Click on the team logos for any of the matches below to jump to a specific bet covered in this article.

9 p.m. ET
9:45 p.m. ET
New Mexico +14
Specific betting recommendations come from the bookmaker offering preferred odds at the time of writing. Always buy the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically displays the best lines for each game.

USF vs. Tulsa

By Tanner McGrath

Midweek AACtion could be more entertaining. At 1-9, South Florida takes on Tulsa 3-7 for Friday Night Lights, and nothing went well for either team.

I’ve pegged South Florida for a breakout season in 2022, especially with Baylor transfer Gerry Bohanon taking over at quarterback.

Instead, the Bulls are 3-7 ATS.

I was way lower on Tulsa than the market — which pays dividends — but I’ve still supported them in spots this season.

The Golden Hurricanes are 3-7 ATS.

As lackluster as both teams seem, Tulsa is far less pathetic. The Golden Hurricanes are scoring nearly two touchdowns in this Friday battle.

Too many points?

When Bohanon was lost to injury for the season, I expected it couldn’t get worse at quarterback.

Katravis Marsh was good against Tulane and Houston and then confirmed my suspicions. He slumped against Temple and SMU, going just 12 for 31 in his last game.

Additionally, Baylor loses Bohanon’s rush ability. So, while Bohanon had just six touchdowns to six interceptions, he added an extra dimension with his running ability.

Marsh doesn’t have that.

Oh, and then Marsh got hurt. He is out for the season with a neck injury he suffered last week. It was a scary situation, but he will make a full recovery.

So, the Bulls are down to their third- or fourth-string quarterback — either Byrum Brown or Michel Dukes.

Dukes was a three-year substitute at Clemson who never got any playing time, while Brown is a freshman. So I can’t say I have much confidence in the quarter room.

I guess it’s Brown. He’s a three-star recruit from North Carolina who received offers from App State, Campbell, Dartmouth and Florida A&M before committing to USF.

Again, not much faith.

The rest of the list is also decimated. Left tackle Donovan Jennings was down early with a leg injury, along with second-string running back Jaren Mangham, second-string tight end Chris Carter and two other wide receivers.

But South Florida’s problems are on the defensive side. The Bulls rank in the bottom 10 FBS teams in:

  • Urgent pass rate allowed
  • Authorized success rate
  • PFF Pass Rush Ratings
  • Points Per Opportunity Allowed

They are 105th in Havoc Created and 110th in Defensive Line Yards. This defense has been shredded seven ways through Sunday, giving up a whopping 7.4 yards per play.

college football-week 3-paris-pics-situational spots-usf bulls-kelley joiner-saturday-september 17-2022
Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: USF Bulls wide receiver Kelley Joiner #10.

Tulsa doesn’t have the offense of breaking anyone.

He’s combined to score 23 points over the past two weeks. Granted, he managed that against Memphis and Tulsa, but the Hurricane managed between three and four scores against two well-known pathetic defenses in Temple and Navy.

The formula for Tulsa is always the same. The Hurricane will play a fast, happy style of football that relies on Davis Brin.

Brin had a half-decent season, going for 8.6 yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns on eight picks. However, he made 16 turnover-worthy plays for just 18 big shots, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a negative turnover regression.

That’s especially true since Tulsa’s offensive line doesn’t protect Brin. Tulsa ranks 114th in PFF pass blocking ratings, 102nd in Havoc Allowed and 127th in Adjusted Sack Rate.

Tulsa is also weak in the trenches on the other side of the ball. However, the Hurricane secondary made up for it, ranking 22nd in PFF cover ratings.

As a result, Tulsa ranks 26th in allowable pass rate.

But the Hurricane has no problem getting shredded to the ground. The only team that is worse against the run is… South Florida.

USF vs Tulsa betting picks

South Florida is just going to rule the football. His third-string quarterback will put it back for 60 minutes and hope the defense can get some saves.

However, this strategy might work better than we think.

South Florida has a top-40 offense in Hit Rate and a top-50 offensive line in Line Yards. While Bohanon won’t take the field, running back Brian Battie is having a career year, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and ranking in the top 20 nationally in PFF ratings.

This unit comes up against a horrible defense against the Tulsa Rush. The Bulls will be playing very slowly – they rank 90th in seconds per game – and will likely move the chains.

That means USF can play away from Brin and Co. while avoiding Tulsa’s biggest strength in the secondary. It’s going to be tough for the Golden Hurricane to cover two touchdowns with this play scenario.

Also, Tulsa doesn’t do well in this scenario, as it’s 1-4 ATS as a favorite this season. At least South Florida has covered two of its last four underdog opportunities.

South Florida has also covered three of the last four games against Tulsa, including last season.

Our Action PRO projections make this Tulsa line -8.8, and I think there’s clear value on the underdog in this lame Friday night game.

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their betslip on FanDuel Sportsbook.

San Diego State vs. New Mexico

Per keg

San Diego State travels to New Mexico Friday night looking for its third straight win. The Lobos, meanwhile, are looking for their third win of the season as they haven’t won a game since a September victory over UTEP.

San Diego State struggled in its final game and fell 14 points behind San Jose State in the first quarter. However, the Aztecs made a major comeback, going for 43 points and 425 yards in a 43-27 victory.

One of the key elements to San Diego State’s recent success, especially against San Jose State, is run defense. The Aztecs made a point of trying to keep teams under 100 yards on the ground, and the Spartans only had 28 yards on the ground.

Can they also keep the Lobos under 100? More importantly, can they cover the spread of two touchdowns?

Jalen Mayden did everything for the Aztecs against San Jose State.

The quarterback completed 17 of 22 passes for 268 yards. He threw an interception, but he also threw for three touchdowns and rushed for 61 yards. His performance earned him Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Mayden has been near perfect since taking over as the starting flagger. He went 4-1 (3-2 ATS), rushing for 1,253 yards and eight touchdowns.

His best quality is his dual-threat ability, especially when paired with the Aztecs’ talented running backs.

Three different running backs have recorded 200+ season yards for the Aztecs this season. Senior Jordan Byrd leads the way with 415 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Aztecs defense shouldn’t have much trouble shutting down a Lobos team that’s averaging just 14.7 points and 240.6 yards per game.

San Diego State is one of the best in the nation in defensive finishing drives, ranking 21st. The Aztecs also rank in the top 40 when it comes to stopping the rush, which the Lobos often do with a rank of 16th nationally in rush rate.

There aren’t many positives when it comes to this Lobos side, but there is one thing that could help them stay close to the Aztecs: their pass defense.

The Lobos rank 42nd in defensive passing success and have been solid when it comes to getting saves in the red zone.

The Lobos rank fourth among Mountain West teams in pass defense, limiting opponents to just 192.1 passing yards per game. If they’re going to have a chance to keep in touch against the Aztecs, it will be by stopping the passing game.

college football-odds-choice-paris-friday night lights-ucf vs. louisville-new-mexico vs. boise state-friday september 9
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: A New Mexico Lobos jersey and football.

San Diego State vs New Mexico Betting Picks

Both of these teams rank in the top 20 in terms of spike rate. They are also both outside the top 115 in terms of seconds per game. However, that total seems a little too low for me to bet under in this game.

Despite their struggles so far this season, I think the Lobos will benefit greatly from the slowness of this game.

Flip New Mexico around to keep it a bit close, because there might not be enough points for San Diego State to pull out. I would recommend the Lobos at +14 or better and wouldn’t bet them below a two touchdown spread.

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