How we bet on Friday’s NCAAF games

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

Two Group of Five games are scheduled for Friday: South Florida vs. Tulsa in the AAC and San Diego State vs. New Mexico in the Mountain West.

While it’s not quite as robust as the Black Friday we’ll have on our plates next week, it will certainly make a solid appetizer for Saturday’s main course.

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

Friday college football best bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups our college football staff are targeting for Friday night. Click on the team logos for any of the following matchups to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

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

State of San Diego vs. New Mexico

From barrel

San Diego State will travel to New Mexico on Friday night for its third straight win. The Lobos, meanwhile, are aiming for their third win of the season as they haven’t won a game since beating UTEP in September.

San Diego State struggled in its last game, falling 14 behind San Jose State in the first quarter. However, the Aztecs made a big comeback, recording 43 points and 425 yards in a 43-27 win.

A key component to San Diego State’s recent success — particularly against San Jose State — is run defense. The Aztecs made it a point to keep teams under 100 yards, and the Spartans only got to 28 yards on the ground.

Can they also keep the lobos under 100? More importantly, can they cover the two touchdown spread?

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 pinned for 61 yards on the ground. His performance earned him Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Mayden has been near-perfect since taking over as the starting gun. He won 4-1 (3-2 against the spread) while piling up 1,253 yards and eight touchdowns.

His best quality is his double threat ability, especially when working alongside the Aztec’s talented running backs.

Three different running backs have rushed for more than 200 yards for the Aztecs this season. Senior Jordan Byrd leads with 415 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Aztecs’ defense shouldn’t have much trouble stopping 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 country when it comes to finishing drives on defense, ranking 21st. The Aztecs are also in the top 40 when it comes to stopping the onslaught, which the Lobos often do, ranking 16th nationally in onslaught rate.

There aren’t many positives when it comes to this Lobos team, but there is one thing that could help them hold their own against the Aztecs – their passing defense.

The Lobos are ranked 42nd in defensive pass success and have been solid when it comes to getting stops in the red zone.

The Lobos rank fourth among Mountain West teams in passing defense, holding opponents to just 192.1 passing yards per game. If they’re going to have a chance to stay close against the Aztecs, it’s going to be to stop the passing game.

College Football Odds Tips Betting Friday Night Lights-UCF vs. Louisville-New Mexico vs. Boise State-Friday September 9th
Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: A New Mexico Lobos jersey and football.

San Diego State vs New Mexico betting tip

Both teams are in the top 20 when it comes to rush rate. They are also both outside the top 115 when it comes to seconds per game. However, that total seems a bit too low to bet on the under in this matchup.

Despite their problems so far this season, I think the Lobos will benefit greatly from the slow pace of this game.

Defend New Mexico to keep it reasonably close as there may not be enough goals for San Diego State to pull away. I would recommend the Lobos at +14 or better and wouldn’t put them under a two touchdown spread.

USF vs. Tulsa

By Tanner McGrath

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

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

Instead, the bulls are 3-7 against the spread.

I was far below the market at Tulsa — which is paying off — but I’ve still supported them in a few spots this season.

The Golden Hurricane costs 3-7 ATS.

As lackluster as both teams may appear, Tulsa is far less pathetic. The Golden Hurricane nearly hits two touchdowns in this Friday fight.

Is that too many points?

When Bohanon lost to injury for the season, I expected things couldn’t get much worse as a quarterback.

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

Also, Baylor loses Bohanon’s Rushing ability. So while Bohanon only had six touchdowns to six interceptions, he added an extra dimension with his skills on the ground.

Marsh doesn’t have that.

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

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

Dukes was a three-year backup at Clemson who never got playing time while Brown is a freshman. So I can’t say I have a lot of faith in the Quarterback Room.

I assume it’s brown. He is a three-star recruit from North Carolina who received offers from App State, Campbell, Dartmouth and Florida A&M before joining USF.

Again not much trust.

The rest of the squad is also decimated. Left tackle Donovan Jennings went 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 troubles are on the defensive. The Bulls are among the 10 worst FBS teams in:

  • Rush success rate allowed
  • pass rate allowed
  • Pass Rush notes by PFF
  • Points allowed per opportunity

They are 105th in Havoc Created and 110th in Defensive Line Yards. That defense was shredded seven ways through Sunday, allowing for a whopping 7.4 yards per game.

College Football Week 3-Betting Tips-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 does not have an offense of breaking anyone.

It has accumulated 23 points over the past two weeks. Granted, it managed that against Memphis and Tulsa, but the Hurricane managed between three and four points against two well-known pathetic defenses in Temple and Navy.

The formula for Tulsa is always the same. The Hurricane will play a fast-paced, passing style of football inspired by Davis Brin.

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

That’s especially true considering Tulsa’s offensive line doesn’t protect Brin. Tulsa ranks 114th in PFF’s pass-blocking grades, 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 secondary hurricane has compensated for this and ranks 22nd in PFF’s coverage grades.

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

But the Hurricane doesn’t mind being shredded on the ground. The only team worse against the run is… South Florida.

USF vs Tulsa betting selection

South Florida will only host football. His third-string quarterback will ditch it for 60 minutes hoping the defense can get a few stops.

However, this strategy might work better than we think.

South Florida has a top-40 rush offense in terms of success rate and a top-50 offensive line in terms of 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 national PFF scores.

This unit goes up against a terrible rush defense in Tulsa. The Bulls will play very slowly – they’re 90th in seconds per game – and will likely move the chains.

That means USF can keep their distance from Brin and co. while avoiding Tulsa’s greatest strength in the secondary school. It’s going to be tough for the Golden Hurricane to cover two touchdowns with this game script.

Also, Tulsa doesn’t fare well in this scenario, being the favorite this season at 1-4 ATS. At least South Florida has covered two of its last four underdog opportunities.

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

Our Action PRO predictions make that line Tulsa -8.8, and I think the underdog has clear value in this lame Friday night game.