We’ve got five games set for Friday night with four different conferences represented. We’ll start in Conference USA and then go to the AAC, Pac-12 and Mountain West to finish out the night.
Scott Seidenberg has a pick on Memphis vs. Houston in our weekly best bets article here. Otherwise, I’ll do five previews in 500 words on the Friday night games and combine that into Burke’s Best Bets. Let’s take a look.
Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech (-15.5, 48.5)
Southern Miss has not scored more than 19 points against any FBS opponent this season. The Bulldogs don’t have any bowl hopes with a 3-7 record and only two games left to play, but last week’s win against Charlotte, a team that needs a win for bowl eligibility, shows that the Bulldogs have not quit.
Southern Miss is the worst offense in the nation by yards per play. Louisiana Tech is one the worst defenses, but this total has fallen from 51 to 49, which is a little surprising with Southern Miss’s 92nd-ranked defense by YPP.
Lean over 48.5
Memphis Tigers at Houston Cougars (-9, 60.5)
Memphis has gotten the love here with a line move down from 10 to 8.5 or 9. The Cougars have actually won with defense this season, ranking 14th in yards per play allowed. Memphis has a decent defense as well, allowing 5.28 YPP. Houston’s scores don’t exactly scream defense and the offense is only 65th in YPP.
Houston is third in the nation in third-down defense, while Memphis is 119th. That could be the difference in the game. I do like Houston 1H here, as the Cougars have outscored opponents 19.2-11.9, while Memphis is at 16.3-14.2.
Houston 1H -5.5
Arizona Wildcats at Washington State Cougars (-14.5, 52.5)
It will be a chilly night in Pullman for some Pac-12 After Dark with the Cougars in a big favorite role aiming for bowl eligibility. I’ll give Arizona credit. They’ve battled and they’ve actually covered five in a row rather comfortably. They’re still playing hard and their opponents keep overlooking them.
All things considered, with little help from the offense, Arizona’s defense has played well, especially the last two weeks with 4.65 YPP allowed. The offense is just really bad. On a cold night, with a couple of teams averaging fewer than four yards per carry, points could be limited.
Lean under 52.5
Air Force Falcons at Nevada Wolf Pack (-1, 53)
Two contrasting styles face off in what will be an elimination game for a berth in the MWC Championship Game. Nevada is 46th in third-down success rate and will need every bit of that and then some to keep Air Force from controlling the game and the clock. Air Force is 50th.
This game comes down to third-down success. AFA has not seen many potent passing offenses this season, so I like Nevada a little bit in this one. What I like more is the over, as Nevada hasn’t faced the option since 2018. Both teams should score here.
San Diego State (-11, 41) at UNLV
The Runnin’ Rebels are playing better lately with wins over UNM and Hawaii, but those are two pretty bad teams. I’ve been hard on San Diego State this season, but the Aztecs do have an elite defense that ranks fifth in yards per carry allowed and fifth in yards per play.
The question here is whether or not SDSU can score enough to cover 11. The spread and total imply SDSU by a 26-15 score. The Aztecs have not gotten to 26 points in their last five games. I’d say UNLV team total under is a lean at 14.5.
Lean UNLV team total under 14.5