South Florida travels to face UTSA tonight, and the college football odds have the Roadrunners as heavy favorites to maintain an unbeaten record in the American Athletic Conference.
The Bulls run more plays per game than any team in college football, with a fast-paced attack that averages more than 84 snaps a contest. Byrum Brown is a threat to hurt teams with both his legs and his arm and can break off a big play at any time.
However, he will be tested by a UTSA defense that is among the leaders in sack rate. His counterpart, Frank Harris, is having a terrific season and will look to continue UTSA’s conference dominance with yet another strong effort.
Our free college football picks and predictions for USF vs. UTSA explain why Harris won’t be the only Roadrunner enjoying life under the lights on Friday, November 17.
South Florida vs UTSA best odds
South Florida vs UTSA picks and predictions
UTSA has scored at least 34 points in each of its last six games. That includes a 34-14 victory over Rice this past weekend in which the Roadrunners scored 21 unanswered in the third quarter to run away with the win.
For as well as their offense has played, the Roadrunners have reached 42 points just once in conference play. That was in their 49-34 win at Temple in early October, a game where they were forced to continue putting up points as Temple cut their lead to a single score on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter.
But we’re backing the Roadrunners to put up perhaps the most points they’ve scored this season when they face South Florida on Friday night. Our best bet is for UTSA to eclipse the team total of 41.5 points.
USF loves to run its offense at a break-neck pace. It’s a key reason the Bulls average nearly 466 yards per game, 11th-best in the country. The Bulls love to run the football, with only five teams averaging more than their 46 carries per game, and Brown is completing passes at a solid clip.
But their defense suffers for it — not that it’s a good defense to begin with. South Florida ranks 100th or worse in nearly every passing defensive category, whether you’re looking at averages or advanced metrics. The Bulls are 118th in expected points added per game against the pass and give up a high number of explosive plays.
They’re not much better against the run, with opponents averaging almost five yards per carry this season. While the Bulls rank higher in EPA against the run, they’re still in the bottom half of college football.
UTSA rank in the 40s in EPA per play and EPA per game when throwing the ball, and it ranks 13th in the country in plays per game. Facing a defense that allows big plays and gets put back on the field quickly is a terrific recipe for the Roadrunners to be able to put up big numbers on the offensive side of the ball.
But the UTSA defense plays a key role here as well. The Roadrunners have one of the top pass rushes in the country, sacking the quarterback nearly one of every 10 drop-backs. Their run defense also looks impressive at first glance, holding opponents to just 3.6 yards per attempt.
But the metrics paint a different story. UTSA ranks in the 90s in EPA per play against the run as well as total EPA. The lower rushing numbers come from those sacks, which in college football count as lost rushing yardage for the quarterback.
North Texas rushed for 187 yards on 39 carries a few weeks ago, in a game where they pushed the Roadrunners until the final whistle. That led to UTSA posting 37 points.
While USF won’t win, the Bulls will find ways to put up some points. UTSA will follow suit against a maligned and exhausted defense. The Bulls have lost three of their last five games, allowing at least 56 points in each of those contests.
While I’m not sure UTSA reaches that mark, I’m very confident in the Roadrunners honoring their namesake and racing past the 41.5 point team total. Head over to DraftKings, where our best price for Week 12 sees them offering it at -120 odds.
My best bet: UTSA team total over 41.5 (-120 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
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South Florida vs UTSA same-game parlay
UTSA team total Over 41.5
Byrum Brown Under 55.5 rushing yards
Joshua Cephus 100+ receiving yards
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Combined with the UTSA team total, our same-game parlay at FanDuel pays out quite nicely with +527 odds.
Byrum Brown is a home run threat, but he’s also playing behind an offensive line that ranks 117th in sacks allowed per passing play called. With rushing yards taking a hit from sacks, it’s very likely he fails to reach 56 yards rushing for the third time in five games.
On the other side of the ball, USF has allowed a 100-yard game to at least one receiver in its three recent losses as well as four of its last five games. Joshua Cephus has almost 40 more catches than any teammate, and is only 42 yards away from setting the school record in career receiving yards. Back him to have a big game.
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South Florida vs UTSA spread and Over/Under analysis
There’s little doubt who is favored in this game, with the Bulls getting 16.5 points on the spread. DraftKings offered a number of -14 on Sunday morning and it was bet up within minutes. Those who want to avoid the hook can find a flat -16 at multiple places.
Despite their struggles on defense, the Bulls have managed to keep things close on the road this season, covering in three of their last four away contests. But they’ve also not faced many offenses as skilled as UTSA’s, and the pass rush will make it difficult for Brown and company to consistently put up points in the second half. I like the Roadrunners to cover here, continuing a recent 4-1-1 mark ATS.
The total for the game can be had at either 66.5 or a flat 67, and has remained steady throughout the week. USF is two weeks removed from a game that saw 109 points scored, and five of its last seven games have seen 67 or more points scored.
UTSA’s recent games have all been trending Under, with only one of its last five going past the pre-game total. The exception was the game against ECU, which featured 68 points scored. Given we’re backing UTSA to put up 42 on their own, the Over would be our recommended play here.
South Florida vs UTSA betting trend to know
The first quarter Over is 5-1 in USF’s last six games. Find more college football betting trends for South Florida vs UTSA.
South Florida vs UTSA game info
|Location:||Alamodome, San Antonio, TX|
|Date:||Friday, November 17, 2023|
|Kickoff:||9:00 p.m. ET|
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