Free College Football Picks: Thursday Night College Football Predictions
Finally, that time of the year is here. And we get to celebrate it with a weekend stacked with a fantastic College Football lineup. But before we get into the weekend, there is good action with several games on Thursday Night. All the headlines will focus on the undefeated a people’s Champions from 2017, UCF Knights.
No spoilers here but they should keep their winning mojo from last season. There is also a great matchup inside the Big Ten as Northwestern takes on Purdue. Both are excellent games as an entrée to please our hungry souls for football. My college football picks are below and odds can be found at Sportsbetting – Don’t Miss 50% Up To $1000 Bonus. If you have thought about buying sports betting picks you should read our Pay For Picks article and take advantage of our free NCAAF prediction picks instead of paying for them.
UCF Knights Vs. UConn Huskies Prediction
The Knights raised a banner for their undefeated 13-0 season in 2017 and were in the news for throwing their own championship parade. All the fun and goofiness is now in the back mirror as is time to get to business. With the departure of head coach Scott Frost to Nebraska, UCF welcomes new coach Josh Heupel. It’s safe to say he’s walking into a great situation. No rebuilding action needed, just follow the road that Frost marked.
It should be a field day for the Knight’s offense and especially for Junior QB McKenzie Milton. UConn defense was the 130th ranked passing defense in 2017 and will return only two starters from last season. Milton is coming off a season where he threw 4037 yards, 37 touchdowns and just nine interceptions. He closed last year by throwing 15 touchdowns in the last four games, including two against Auburn. Even if rookie head coach Josh Heupel doesn’t have enough experience, his team is better all across the board. Last season the offense averaged 48.2 points per game. It is not only about Milton advantage as a quarterback, but also about their backfield tandem.
Junior Adrian Killins Jr. was sensational last season, averaging 6.5 yards per carry while running for 790 yards and 10 touchdowns. Once again he will share carries with RB Otis Anderson, who posted 494 rushing yards and four touchdowns in 2017. Anderson is a weapon all over the place. He caught 30 balls for 351 yards and three touchdowns last season. Coach Heupel already said he expects to use him in more ways than one.
The picture looks ugly for UConn on Thursday. Even if they believe playing at home should give them a boost, it won’t. The Huskies are rebuilding under Randy Edsall’s second season and their first challenge of the year is a big one. The offense will be forced to keep up with the scoring pace of the Knights, and nothing good would come out it. Senior David Pindell has mobility and is hard to tackle, but he needs to work on his precision. In 2017, he completed only 52.8% of his passes.
Oddsmakers opened the Knights as -16.5-point favorites for this game, but it quickly moved. UCF was not only undefeated in 2017, but they were a solid side to bet on. Their 8-4-1 against the spread record last season proves it. On the road, Central Florida closed with a 4-1-1 ATS in its last 6 games. UConn finished last year with only three wins under coach Edsall’s first season. They have been a lousy team to back up as they are 5-12 ATS in its previous 17 games. The Knights have every possible advantage across the field at every position. This should be a blowout on the road for UCF.
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Purdue Boilermakers Prediction
Let me be the first to say it’s weird to see Northwestern and Purdue playing on a Thursday Night. The Big Ten is coming up with some scheduling changes, and it should be fun to see where it ends up. Northwestern hasn’t lost to Purdue since 2010, but they are currently 1-point underdogs visiting Ross-Ade Stadium in week one.
The Wildcats have won by a combined scored 83-31 in their last two visits to West Lafayette. The point spread is entirely linked to senior QB Clayton Thorson’s health. He suffered a knee injury during the offseason and is listed as a game-time decision. Thorson has been a participant in all workouts and practices, but the reports say he hasn’t been in full contact drills.
With or without Thorson on the field, the Wildcats Junior John Moten IV the most touches on offense. He will be sharing carries sophomore Jeremy Larkin. Neither has much experience but are in need of a night game in the opener. Purdue lost seven starters on the defensive side, and that could be the critical factor of the game. Last season the Boilermakers held opponents to less than 30 points in all but two games.
With so many new faces things it could be difficult to emulate the 2017 performances. The Boilermakers have won just 16 games since 2013. They improved in 2017 by getting seven of those 16 games last season. The problem is Northwestern dominates this series. It’s going be quite a fight, but I feel comfortable putting the money on the road team.