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NCAAF Week 5 Best Bets (2021)

by September 30, 2021
Graham Mertz

Last week it seemed like we were robbed of a winning week with how the Notre Dame-Wisconsin over/under played out. Sitting on an under of 46.5, the game saw just 20 points scored through three quarters, and Notre Dame’s starting quarterback was knocked out of the game. However, a special teams touchdown and two pick-sixes led to 34 fourth-quarter points, and we had to settle for a 2-2 week instead of going 3-1.

This week, the SEC takes center stage with two Top-12 battles, and Notre Dame faces a second consecutive ranked opponent off a bye. Do any of these marquee matchups make our top picks for the week?

Here are my top plays for Week 5 in college football.

Best Bets for Week 5: College Football

(Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
Last Season: 35-22 (+9.5 units)
YTD: 12-6 (+4.8 units)

Arkansas at Georgia (-18.5)

The Georgia Bulldogs were not looking ahead to this top ten showdown last week, as they raced out to a 35-0 first quarter lead and steamrolled Vanderbilt 62-0. Starting quarterback J.T. Daniels’ services were only needed for the first half, as backup Stetson Bennett was brought in for mop-up duties. While Arkansas’ 20-10 win over then seventh-ranked Texas A&M was more impressive given the level of competition, they will not be ready for the ferociousness of Georgia’s defense that is easily the best in the country.

Georgia amazingly held Vanderbilt, a Power Five conference team, to just four first downs and 77 total yards. Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson has kept the first four opponents off balance with his dual-threat ability, as he enters this game as the Razorbacks’ second-leading rusher. However, they will not come close to the 197 rushing yards they had against Texas A&M, as Georgia enters the game allowing 181.8 yards per game and just 5.8 points per game. Arkansas is not likely to break through for multiple touchdowns against this stout Georgia defense, and they will only be able to keep an underrated Georgia offense down for so long.

PICK: Georgia -18.5

Michigan at Wisconsin (-1)

Nothing about Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz’s performance last week suggests his team should be favored against a 14th-ranked Michigan team this week. Mertz was 18-for-41 for 240 yards and one touchdown but threw four costly interceptions. Notre Dame’s defense played downhill the entire afternoon and took away Wisconsin’s power running game, holding the Badgers to just 2.8 yards per carry.

What is most overlooked from Notre Dame’s rout is the fact that they had just nine rushing yards on 32 attempts. Notre Dame’s offensive line could not move Wisconsin’s front off the ball, and the Badgers linebackers led by Jack Sanborn lived in the Irish backfield.

While most bettors will point to Mertz’s poor performance as to why Michigan is the right side, we are backing Wisconsin’s defense to show up in a big way. Last week, the Wolverines had trouble moving a rebuilding Rutgers team off the ball, running for just 112 yards on 38 carries (2.9 yards per rush). They were shut out in the second half and showed a lack of creativity in their play-calling. That type of offensive effort will not fly against a talented Badgers defense, and Wisconsin should be victorious as long as Graham Mertz is not reckless with the football.

Michigan is 0-6 ATS in their last six conference games and are 0-5 ATS in their last five games overall. The Wolverines have also not covered the spread in their previous six trips to Madison, so do not be shocked that the two-loss Badgers are favored against the undefeated Wolverines.

PICK: Wisconsin -1

Louisville at Wake Forest: OVER/UNDER 61.5

While our first two picks are from some of the more high-profile games of the day, we love this under-the-radar game in the ACC. With Clemson, UNC, and Miami’s early-season struggles, Wake Forest has a path to win the conference this year. Demon Deacons quarterback Sam Hartman is one of the best quarterbacks you have never heard of, and he has accounted for ten touchdowns through the first four games. Wake Forest had an extra day to prepare for this game, as they beat Virginia handily last Friday night. They scored on their first seven possessions of the game, then took their foot off the gas once they had a big lead. Thus, this week’s over/under is somewhat low given that last week’s game was played to the under, when it easily could have gone over.

Louisville has a dynamic quarterback of their own in Malik Cunningham, who has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards and is the team’s leading rusher with 263 yards on the ground through their first four games.

The over has cashed in the last four meetings between these teams and is 4-1 in Louisville’s last five games against teams with a winning record. Thus, this game should easily surpass the projected total once again, provided the players are ready to go for an early 12:30 kickoff.

PICK: OVER 61.5


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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.

College Football, Picks