How comfortable are you taking a road favorite?
That’s the question to ask yourself ahead of Friday night’s college football slate. Virginia Tech heads to Boston College as a 3-point favorite and Utah goes to Stanford as a 7-point favorite.
Let’s start in Boston, where both teams are 4-4 and really need a win to make the path to a bowl game much easier. Virginia Tech is 3-5 against the spread while Boston College is 4-4 against the number. Both teams have hit the over just twice this season. The total is 47.5.
The Hokies are in the midst of four road games among their final five of the season and finish the season at Miami and Virginia. VT broke a three-game losing streak with a 26-17 win at Georgia Tech in Week 9.
Tech runs the ball with its top two running backs better than it throws it; Braxton Burmeister has completed just 55% of his passes this season though he’s thrown it over 200 times. Freshman running back Malachi Thomas has rushed the ball 46 times for 264 yards and three touchdowns over the past two weeks. He and Raheem Blackshear have formed a nice 1-2 combination at running back but have just 134 combined carries among the over 300 rushing attempts the Hokies have as a team.
With Phil Jurkovec out since the first game of the season, Boston College has also been a run-dominant team. Pat Garwo has rushed 116 times for 689 yards and five touchdowns while Dennis Grosel has thrown for just 1,216 yards on 192 attempts. He’s averaging just 0.4 more yards per passing attempt than Garwo is per rush.
The Eagles head to Georgia Tech next week before finishing with home games against Florida State and Wake Forest. With their remaining schedules, it’s not impossible to envision the loser of this game finishing at 5-7 and out of a bowl game. We’re inclined to go with Boston College and the three points at home.
On the West Coast, Utah is in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 South after Arizona State got trounced by Washington State at home in Week 9. The Utes are 5-3 overall but 4-1 in the Pac-12. Stanford is 3-5 and 2-4 in the Pac-12 as it navigates the only schedule in college football that consists solely of Power Five teams.
Both teams are 3-5 against the spread while Utah is 6-2 against the total and Stanford is 3-5. The Utes are 34th in the country in points per game at 33.4 while Stanford is averaging less than 25. The total here is 54.
The under is worth a play here with Stanford QB Tanner McKee questionable for the game because of an undisclosed injury. Jack West would start in his place if McKee can’t go. West was the starter to begin the season against Kansas State but threw two interceptions and has hardly played since.
With or without McKee, Stanford faces an uphill task to get bowl-eligible. The Cardinal are on a three-game losing streak after upsetting Oregon 31-24. With games against Oregon State, Cal, and Notre Dame remaining after Friday night, Stanford has to go 3-1 the rest of the way to make a bowl game. A 5-7 (or worse) season will be the second below-.500 season in three years for the Cardinal after bowl appearances every season from 2009-2018.
Can Knicks cover vs. Middleton-less Bucks?
ESPN's NBA doubleheader is missing a couple of stars Friday night. The Bucks are favored by five points at home over the New York Knicks despite not having Khris Middleton. He's out after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Bucks are 4-4 in 2021 and snapped a three-game losing streak earlier this week with a win over the Pistons.
The nightcap is New Orleans at Golden State. As you know, the Pelicans won't have Zion Williamson. The Warriors are favored by nine and going with the Warriors feels like a great play. Golden State is 6-1 on the season while the Pelicans are just 1-8.
Matthew Wolff is a big favorite after 10-under first round
Matthew Wolff is at +550 to win at Mayokoba in the World Wide Technology Championship after shooting a 61 in the first round on Thursday. Wolff leads Aaron Wise by two shots and a host of other players are three back. Justin Thomas is at +2800 to win after he shot 3-under par in the first round. Thomas is going to need to make a charge to get the win.
NASCAR Championship weekend
It's the final weekend of the 2021 NASCAR season. Champions will be crowned in the Truck Series on Friday night, the Xfinity Series on Saturday and the Cup Series on Sunday. John Hunter Nemechek is the favorite to win the Truck Series title and he's at +250 to win the race on Friday night.
Austin Cindric is favored to get his second consecutive Xfinity Series title on Saturday. He's at +350 to win the title ahead of AJ Allmendinger, Noah Gragson and Daniel Hemric at +450 apiece.
Who cashed tickets on Thursday?
The Jets almost made a garbage-time comeback to cover against the Colts but fell short in Indianapolis' win. Mike White suffered an injured wrist in the first half for the Jets and was replaced by Josh Johnson with both Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco on the sideline in street clothes.
Thunder bettors were happy too. The Thunder were 10-point underdogs at the Lakers on Thursday night and OKC came back from a 19-point second-half deficit to win outright 107-104. It's the second win of the season for the tanking Thunder and both have come at the expense of a Lakers team without LeBron James. And the Lakers have blown big second-half leads in both of those games.