Nothing beats Black Friday football. Our bellies are full from Thursday’s Thanksgiving spread — and hopefully our wallets are full too after making some money off the NFL slate and Egg Bowl.
Now it’s time for the busiest Friday College Football slate of the season.
Our staff prepared and split three matches for this Black Friday roll: Baylor vs. Texas, Utah State vs. Boise State and Tulane vs. Cincinnati.
Read on for all three of our best afternoon bets, and be sure to check out our five other top picks for today’s afternoon and evening games.
Happy rivalry week!
Friday College Football Noon best bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups our college football staff is focusing on as of Friday’s series of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet featured in this article.
Baylor v. Texas
By Patrick Strollo
Texas goes into this Black Friday game with the ambition of reaching the Big 12 Championship game with a win and some luck along the way.
Baylor, meanwhile, has a postseason set in stone, with a closed berth and intrastate pride on the game after failing to ruin TCU’s season last week.
Both teams have a propensity for the run game, but face equally stiff opposing run defenses. Ground yards will be hard to come by with Texas and Baylor ranking second and third respectively in rushing yards allowed in the Big 12.
To counter the strong stampede defense, look for both offenses to resort to the air strike.
Both quarterbacks have shown they can air it, but the clear advantage goes to Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen in this matchup.
Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers has been fickle at best this season, but both quarterbacks have faced passing defenses that struggled heading into this regular season finale.
Texas comes into play with the 93rd ranked passing defense, while Baylor has the slightly more efficient 84th ranked passing defense unit.
For obvious reasons, an air strike is very beneficial to our bet by keeping time on the game clock and presenting a higher chance of a high-impact play.
The crux of this choice is the obstructing front-sevens forcing each other into an aerial attack, given the relative strength of the rush defenses compared to the secondary for both programs.
My model predicts totals of 61.66, 59.52, and 61.31 points, resulting in an equal-weighted average of 60.83 points. This rounds out to a five-point advantage over the market at the time of writing.
The desert has put the total here too low. Look for these two top-30 scoring offenses to sail past double pennies and a hook in Austin.
The State of Utah vs. the State of Boise
By Kyle Remillard
Boise State completely turned the season around after firing offensive coordinator Tim Plow and replacing longtime quarterback Hank Bachmeier.
The Broncos have gone 6-1 since that span, outscoring their opponents by 21 points per game.
Now they get a shot at an overrated Utah State team that has won four of its last five games. However, those wins have come against the bottom tier of the Mountain West in Hawaii, New Mexico and Colorado State.
Boise State’s offense has skyrocketed since Taylen Green took over under center. He averages 8.0 yards per pass attempt and has provided an aerial threat to complement the rushing attack.
The Bronco’s bread-and-butter is the running game that averages 5.0 yards per wear against FBS foes. Now they’re up against a Utah State defense that ranks 119th in that area, allowing 5.1 yards per carry this season.
On the other side of the ball, Utah State is stuck with backup quarterback Cooper Legas. He will have his hands full against one of the top secondaries in the Group of Five allowing 6.4 yards per pass attempt against FBS competition.
Utah State will choose to run the ball as it ranks 23rd in Rush Rate this season. But Boise’s defensive front is just as stout, ranking 29th nationally and allowing 3.1 yards per carry.
Utah State is on the verge of a letdown after going bowl-eligible last weekend, and Boise State will quickly turn that into a loss.
Tulane vs. Cincinnati
Through action analysis
If the old adage of “Good teams win, great teams cover” is true, then it could be argued that the Tulane Green Wave is the best team in the country. They currently hold the No. 1 win rate against the spread, beating it at a clip of 81.8% on the year.
Cincinnati is on the other end of the spectrum, covering only 30% of its games (120th).
Despite all this, I’m telling you to plug your nose, take a deep breath, and bring the Bearcats here.
Yes, the Green Wave scored 27 or more points in each of their last five games, but they played terrible defenses like SMU, Tulsa, Memphis and USF.
Cincinnati’s defense isn’t terrible. In fact it’s very good. The Bearcats are in the top 15 in both Defensive Havoc and Success Rate Allowed. They are also slightly above average in points per chance allowed, ranking 45th.
Meanwhile, Tulane’s offensive numbers have been inflated lately playing against the aforementioned teams.
We projected Cincinnati as a 3.5 point favorite, and I’m glad the moneyline is only -115. I expect the Bearcats to slow down this Tulane offense and be skilled enough to win.
Look for the Bearcats to get one out close at home.