Black Friday Best Bets: Irish, Heels to Light Up the Scoreboard?

Ah, the day after Thanksgiving, a wonderful day where you can spend the day on the couch feasting on Thanksgiving Day leftovers while avoiding getting stampeded for discounted electronics.

The college football is typically pretty good too, even during the broken year that is 2020.

Friday’s slate boasts nine matchups in all, but we’ve unearthed the three Best Bets of the day.  If you want to make a little extra dough today while trying to get that new PS5, we got you covered.

#2 Notre Dame at #19 North Carolina

Spread: Notre Dame -5.5
Total: O/U 68.5
Time/TV: 3:30 PM ET, ABC

The first CFP ranking is out and the Irish are sitting as the #2 team in the country.  Today, however, Notre Dame faces its biggest road test of the season with a trip to Chapel Hill to meet Mack Brown’s 19th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this matchup. 

The Notre Dame offense has come to life in recent weeks, posting 40+ points in three of the last four games including a wild 47-40 2OT win over Clemson.  QB Ian Book is playing the best football of his collegiate football career and the Irish have put up over 500 yards of offense in their last two games.

Analytics has the Irish as a Top 10 offense.  Old fashioned statistics back up that assessment.  Notre Dame is playing its best football of the season and gets a great matchup today against a North Carolina defense that is giving up over 410 yards of offense per game and nearly six yards per play.

While the ‘Heels defense leaves a lot to be desired, their offense is one of the best in the country.  North Carolina boasts the 4th overall offense in the country, averaging an eye-popping 563 yards per contest and 43 points per game.

To me, this has all the makings of a possible upset and an even more probable shootout.  The recent trends back up the shootout as well as Notre Dame has gone over the total in five of the last six games off a Notre Dame bye week, while UNC is 7-3-1 to the over in their last 11 games as the underdog.

Both defenses could be in for a long day, making that 5.5-point spread a riskier play.  I will avoid picking a side in this contest and root for the scoreboard to light up.  Take the over in this one and don’t look back.

Best Bet: OVER 68.5 (Play up to 69.5)

#15 Oregon at Oregon State

Spread: Oregon -12.5
O/U 66.5
7:30 PM ET, ESPN

The 124th installment of Oregon vs. Oregon State kicks off later this evening from Corvallis with the Ducks looking to improve their CFP standing with another victory.

The rivalry formerly known as the ‘Civil War’ has been dominated by the Ducks over the last decade with Oregon going 9-1 overall in the L10 matchups between these two schools.  Against the spread, however, has been a different story as the two sides have split it right down the middle going 5-5 ATS over the same time frame.

The Ducks are led by sophomore quarterback Tyler Shough this season and Shough has done a great job out of the gates in replacing the likely NFL Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert.  Oregon is averaging just under 500 yards of total offense through their first three games of the season and Shough leads the conference in touchdown passes.  The Ducks are not the same offensive powerhouse that they were under Chip Kelly many years ago, but they’re still a very potent group.

Oregon State, however, has shown to be better than advertised thus far to start the season.  While the Beavs are sitting at 1-2 to start the year, they’ve been competitive in all three contests including a 27-21 loss to Washington that was scheduled at the very last minute due to COVID-19 cancellations.

The Beavers’ focal point on offense comes with running back Jermar Jefferson.  Jefferson averages over 166 yards of total offense per game and has notched five rushing touchdowns.  The Beavers offense as a whole averages about 360 yards of offense, so you can see how much they lean on their junior running back.

Each defense comes into this game showing signs of weakness, most notably Oregon’s rushing defense which has been gouged for nearly 190 yards a game.  

Despite the unorthodox Pac-12 season, this is still a rivalry game and these are still two teams that do not like each other.  Oregon should come away with another win in this series, but I like the Beavers to keep it close by running the ball and keeping the Ducks explosive offense on the sideline.

Best Bet: Oregon State +12.5

Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan

Spread: Central Michigan -7
Total: O/U 59.5
Time/TV: 4:00 PM ET, CBS Sports Network

Of course, I couldn’t resist that sweet, sweet MACtion.

You may have noticed the Tuesday and Wednesday MACtion goodness was absent this week.  Unfortunately, we’re now at the point of the schedule where we will no longer have our mid-week fix of Mid-American Conference football, but Friday MACtion is just as juicy.

Today’s offering is an in-state rivalry amongst Michigan universities when Central Michigan heads to Ypsilanti to meet Eastern Michigan.

Central Michigan is coming off of their first loss of the season, a 52-44 defeat at the hands of Western Michigan, and now looks to keep their MAC West division hopes alive with a road victory today.

Eastern Michigan has been a tough foe for their MAC brethren to face, however.  Take these trends into consideration today:

• EMU is 15-4 ATS after failing to cover in its previous game (EMU did not cover in 45-28 loss to Toledo)
• EMU is 24-8 ATS in their last 32 games overall as an underdog
• EMU is 18-8 ATS the last 26 games against teams with a winning record
• EMU is 19-7 ATS following a straight-up loss in their last 26 games

While Central Michigan has covered the last three match-ups in this series, I still like Eastern Michigan’s chances to keep this game within a touchdown today.  EMU has been miserable in running the football this season (115th overall in the country), but they’ve been respectable throwing the ball (52nd overall) and they face a Chippewas defense that just got lit up in the passing game a little over a week ago.

Look for CMU to win, but EMU to cover in another MAC thriller.  I love the seven here but would buy the hook if you have the opportunity.

Best Bet: Eastern Michigan +7 (Would buy up to +7.5)