College Football Betting Guide: Friday 9/17/21

UCF is off to a 2-0 start in their pursuit of a New Year's Six push in 2021. Can they add a win over Louisville on Friday night?

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, the spread, or the moneyline.

For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting for any given game. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.

For example, if you would normally bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300. Here are the best bets for this weekend with guidance from our model. All advanced statistics are courtesy of the S&P individual team statistical profiles, except where noted.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Central Florida vs Louisville

Louisville +6.5: 4 Stars out of 5

Louisville are coming off a 4-7 season last year, but they performed much better at home than on the road. The Cardinals went 0-5 away and 4-2 at home last season, so they will be thankful to have home-field advantage in this game. So far this season, they lost to a solid Mississippi team (currently #17 in the AP Poll) and beat FCS Eastern Kentucky, so it still may be too early to tell their true talent level.

Central Florida is off to a 2-0 start with wins at home over Boise State and Bethune-Cookman. The Knights are coming off a down year by their standards, however, as they finished last season 6-4 while only facing one Power 5 opponent.

Our model does like UCF to win this game but by a thin margin. We project a 34.87-32.12 victory for Central Florida, which would be only a 2.75 point difference compared to the 6.5 point spread. That leaves solid value on Louisville with a 67.85% chance to cover, and that makes this a 4-star bet.

Maryland vs Illinois

Illinois +7.5: 3 Stars out of 5

Maryland is off to a 2-0 start this season with wins over West Virginia and Howard, and they are coming off a 2-3 season last year from the shortened Big Ten schedule.

On the other side, Illinois has been inconsistent this season, starting off with a victory over Nebraska, but following it up with losses to Texas-San Antonio and Virginia the next two games. Illinois finished the shortened season 2-6 last year, so they are slightly behind Maryland in terms of expectations at the moment. Their recent struggles may have been due to losing quarterback Brandon Peters against the Cornhuskers in the first quarter, but Peters will play on Friday.

Our model projects Maryland to win by a final score of 32.29-27.81, giving the Terps a 4.48 point edge. While we do like Maryland to win the game outright, our model gives Illinois a 64.63% chance to cover the spread -- a solid 3-star bet.