Last week was our third profitable week out of four, as we churned out a 3-1-1 record. Opportunities for more profits were to be had by betting on money lines, as two underdogs (USC +4 and Appalachian State +3) won outright. Strategies like fading the public and identifying trap games continue to be successful. Casual bettors tend to be prisoners of the moment and overhype things they saw from the week prior, not considering that oddsmakers will take their bias into account when making lines. Both of these strategies are employed once again this week.
Here are my five best bets for Week 5 of the college football season.
Best Bets for Week 5: College Football
(odds courtesy of FanDuel)
Last Week: 3-1-1
Penn State at Maryland UNDER 60 points (game played on 9/27)
At first glance, this O/U seems awfully high. Bettors will remember Maryland scoring a school-record 142 points in the first two weeks. However, the Terrapins offense was mediocre in a 20-17 loss at Temple. Meanwhile, Penn State could only muster 17 points in their first real test against Pitt two weeks ago. A week prior, they got off to a sluggish start scoring just seven points in the first half against Buffalo. Look for Penn State’s talented defensive unit which hasn’t allowed more than 17 points to stymy the Maryland attack. Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford will struggle in his first-ever road start, making the under a great play to kick off the weekend.
Washington -9.5 vs USC
Many were quick to write off the Huskies after a disappointing home loss to California three weeks ago. However, that loss doesn’t look as bad considering Cal is now 4-0. Washington has won their last two games by an average of 29 PPG. The Huskies face USC who is coming off a big win against Pac-12 South contender Utah. Third-string quarterback Matt Fink played well for the Trojans in relief of injured quarterback Kedon Slovis. However, playing in the friendly confines of LA Coliseum is a much different task than playing on the road at Washington, one of the toughest places to play in the conference. Washington is trying to avoid their first 0-2 conference start since 2008. Look for USC to come out flat now that they are in the driver’s seat in their division, and Washington will win this one by double digits.
Virginia +12.5 at Notre Dame
This line opened at Virginia +11 and continues to climb. I would have bet this line even at +11, since this is a terrible spot for Notre Dame. The Irish are coming off an emotional loss to Georgia on Saturday night. This was a physical game which no doubt took its toll on the team. Notre Dame always struggles when they cannot run the ball, and they mustered only 46 yards on the ground against the Bulldogs.
Virginia comes in with the 18th ranked rush defense in the country. In addition, Cavaliers quarterback Bryce Perkins presents the kind of dual-threat ability that will give Notre Dame’s defense fits. Bettors will overreact to the Irish’s good showing in a hostile atmosphere last week, while Virginia struggled to put away Old Dominion (that game was correctly predicted last week). Look for Virginia to give Notre Dame all they can handle, which makes getting 12.5 points an absolute gift.
Mississippi State +10.5 at Auburn
The seventh-ranked Auburn Tigers have arguably the most impressive resume in the country thus far. They won on a neutral field against Oregon in Week 1 and backed that up with an impressive road victory over Texas A&M last week. True freshman quarterback Bo Nix is the talk of the SEC thus far as he possesses a toughness and maturity greater than most expected. However, two of Auburn’s next three games are at Florida and at LSU, so there will definitely be a “look-ahead” factor to this game. Mississippi State beat Auburn 23-9 at home last year, and is 5-2 ATS against Auburn in their last seven meetings. Take the Bulldogs and the points in this one.
Nebraska +17.5 vs Ohio State
This is another game where all the attention is being paid to one team (deservedly so) and no one is talking about the team on the other sidelines. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and quarterback Justin Fields have Buckeyes fans asking, “Urban Meyer and Dwyane Haskins who?” Ohio State obliterated Miami-Ohio 76-5 last week and the Buckeyes are beating opponents by an average of 53.5-9. Fields ranks fifth in the country in passer rating and running back J.K. Dobbins ranks in rushing.
Meanwhile, bettors are down on Nebraska after losing at Colorado and having to come-from-behind in the fourth quarter to beat Illinois last week. I expect Nebraska to play well in primetime in front of a fired-up “Big Red” crowd this week. Anticipating that the betting will be one-sided in favor of the Buckeyes, I will jump on the Cornhuskers getting 17.5 points.