It was a nice bounce back for the Triple Option last week, so now we’re going to carry that momentum into Week 5 of the college football season by picking some more winners.
Despite a strong start to the year, Michigan is being undervalued against Iowa and its non-existent offense. Maryland is primed to attack Michigan State’s Achilles heel. And Wake Forest isn’t getting enough respect heading into its matchup with Florida State.
Here are my best college football picks for betting Week 5.
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College football picks and predictions for Week 5
Michigan -10.5 (-110)
I'm not sure why Iowa is getting so much respect in this spot. Yes, the Hawkeyes are in the friendly environment of Kinnick Stadium. And yes, the defense is still very good. But that offense is a complete dumpster fire. In fact, it’s arguably the worst in all of college football.
Iowa is coming off consecutive wins where it scored 27 points in each game — but let's not go crazy. In the win over Rutgers, 14 points were scored off turnovers. And the other game was against Nevada — one of the worst teams in the FBS.
Iowa is sticking with Spencer Petras at quarterback, despite the fact he’s completing just 51.1% of his passes and the Hawkeyes offense is averaging 4.4 yards per play vs. FBS opponents. That ranks 107th in the country. Oh, and then there was that game against FCS South Dakota State where they only scored seven points (yet somehow won).
And now they play Michigan. The Wolverines may no longer have Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks, but they are out to prove last season's Big Ten title was no fluke.
The Wolverines were crushing opponents before a tough matchup last week against Maryland (the Terps look like a solid team this season). But Michigan pulled out the win thanks to another strong performance from quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum. Those two have powered a Michigan offense that ranks fifth in the country in yards per play and second in scoring.
And for as good as Iowa's defense is, Michigan's is arguably just as good. In fact, the Wolverines’ 3.7 yards allowed per play matches the Hawkeyes, and is good for fourth in the nation.
Remember, these teams met in the Big Ten title game last season. And the Wolverines won that game 42-3. Michigan may not have the same level of playmakers on defense, but that unit is still talented and the offense is in another stratosphere. Lay the points with the Wolverines.
Maryland Team Total Over 34.5 (-111)
I mentioned it briefly in the last section, but the Maryland Terrapins look to be leaping to the next level in their development.
During the last few seasons, Maryland has played to a pretty regular script. They dominate the games they should dominate. But when they go up against good teams as underdogs, they get crushed. Well, while they didn't win against Michigan last week, the Terps did a good job of changing that narrative in a 34-27 loss as 17-point underdogs.
But this week, Maryland will be expected to win as 7.5-point home chalk against Michigan State.
Quick note: Taulia Tagovailoa was taken out late in last week's game with an injury, but this line tells us sportsbooks expect the Terps' star quarterback to suit up in this one. And if he’s on the field, he'll have a great chance to light up the Michigan State Spartans.
Tagovailoa leads a high-octane Maryland offense with one of the deepest wide receiver rooms in the country. He‘s thrown for 1,102 yards while setting career highs in completion percentage (74.6) and yards per attempt (9.3) through four games this season, helping the Terps put up 37 points per game.
And this is exactly the type of offense that can give Michigan State fits. The Spartans enter this game having dropped two in a row, at Washington and last week against Minnesota. Now, those teams are turning out to be better than expected heading into the season but MSU's biggest issue from last season has returned: pass defense.
Michigan State ranked dead last in college football last season, getting torched for 340.8 passing yards per game. And it's more of the same for Sparty this season, ranking 102nd in passing yards per game, giving up nearly 700 yards in the last two games alone.
Michigan State has given up 34 and 39 points in each of the last two weeks. Tagovailoa has the tools and the talent to do something similar. Take the Terps to go Over their team total in this one.
Wake Forest +6.5 (-110)
I'm guessing Wake Forest will be a pretty public underdog this week, but that doesn't deter me. The Demon Deacons were oh-so-close to upsetting No. 5 Clemson last week, falling 51-45 in double overtime.
Are you telling me Wake Forest would be a 6.5-point underdog if it won that game, was close to a Top-10 team, and sat undefeated heading into this matchup with Florida State? I'm not so sure.
Don't get me wrong. Florida State is playing really well for Mike Norvell this season. The Seminoles are 4-0 and deserve their Top-25 ranking. But, this is too many points to be giving the Deacs in this spot.
For starters, Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman kept cooking in the loss to Clemson, going 20-29 for 337 yards six, and — count 'em — six touchdowns with no picks. Hartman has already tallied 962 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first three games since returning from a blood clot issue.
And while the Florida State pass defense has been solid, it hasn't come across anything like Hartman and this Wake Forest offense. It also isn't as strong as Clemson's. Which Hartman shredded last week. So, the Deacs should be able to move the ball in this one.
Jordan Travis has been outstanding for the Seminoles this season and could hit some big plays downfield. But the Wake Forest pass rush has been much improved, ranking 24th in sacks per game, and the Deacs should be able to create just enough pressure to keep Travis off balance at times, giving their excellent QB the opportunities needed to keep them in the game.
With Florida State's roster also pretty banged up heading into this one, win or lose, Hartman should carry Wake Forest to another close result and cover this spread in the process.
Week 5 odds overview
Navy at Air Force - O/U: 37.5
It's the first service academy showdown of the college football season and you know what that means: Unders! Your friendly reminder that the Under is a ridiculous 40-9 in the last 49 meetings between service academies. That's an 81.6% cash rate. Even with a number of 37.5 the Under is in play.
NC State at Clemson - O/U: 39.5
Here’s another really interesting total on the board this week. The early total for this big ACC matchup opened at 46.5 but the Under has been hammered, driving the number all the way down to the current 39.5.
Last year these two teams played to a 14-14 score through 60 minutes. But this number may just be low enough now to consider the Over, particularly if D.J. Uiagalelei can build off last week's big performance with Devin Leary on the other side.
LSU (-8.5) at Auburn
Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin's seat couldn't be any hotter if he was sitting on the surface of the sun. While the Tigers are 3-1, they have been unimpressive, going 0-4 ATS, and were lucky to escape with a win against Mizzou last week.
After a tumultuous offseason for Harsin it looks like things haven't changed. The team isn't responding to him. And the decision-makers at Auburn could be looking for an excuse to cut him loose. A blowout loss to the Bayou Bengals might do the trick.