Week 5 of the college football season is here and I’m starting to hit my stride with these picks — hopefully, maybe. I went 9-7 in the Top 25 last week and my overall record in picks (Top 25 and SEC) through 4 weeks is 41-48. We’ll see if we can inch closer to .500 this week.
As always, lines are courtesy of VegasInsider.com and picks for every SEC game can be found here.
Texas Tech at #24 Oklahoma State (-13.5)
Kliff Kingsbury somehow lost his mojo this offseason and the Red Raiders have not looked good in any of their first three games. The Cowboys haven’t been world-beaters themselves, but I can’t see Texas Tech even remotely slowing down Oklahoma State so I’ll take the Cowboys to win by 2 TDs. (NOTE: I would take the over, but I’m still reeling from last Thursday night so I’m swearing off all week-night overs for a couple weeks)
#11 UCLA at #15 Arizona State (+4)/OVER 59.5
Okay, so I lied. I can’t avoid this over because it just feels too right. UCLA has played two low-ish scoring games (under 50 combined), but those came against anemic offenses — Virginia and Texas. Meanwhile, the Sun Devils have scored 45, 58, and 38 in their first 3 games while giving up an average of 20 per game. I’ll ride with Arizona State getting points at home against what I think is an overrated UCLA team and also will happily take an over on a line that I feel is 6 points too low.
Wyoming at #9 Michigan State (-31)
Wyoming gave Oregon a battle in the first half in Eugene two weeks ago and are sneaky decent. Unfortunately, Michigan State is built to crush small schools with a swiftness thanks to a suffocating defense and more than enough offense to pull away. Wyoming’s not Eastern Michigan, but I still think Sparty rolls in this one by 5+ TDs.
#7 Baylor (-21) at Iowa State
I know, weird things happen in Ames and Iowa State kept it close with Kansas State. However, Baylor’s offense is an absolute machine that runs on jet fuel whereas Kansas State relies on Bill Snyder’s use of the dark arts. Baylor will want to put another huge margin of victory on the resume, and I don’t think the Cyclones will have any chance stopping Bryce Petty, KD Cannon, and the rest of the Bears’ offense.
South Florida at #19 Wisconsin (-34)
I bet against the Badgers in Camp Randall last week and got burned and won’t make the same mistake twice. Melvin Gordon is healthy again and on a mission to make up for lost time in the first couple weeks. South Florida has been blown out by NC State and almost lost at home to Western Carolina. I have little faith in the Bulls to make this a game in Madison.
UTEP (+26.5) at #25 Kansas State
Don’t sleep on the Miners, now. They find ways to keep games close and I think they can keep this one inside four TDs with Kansas State. The Wildcats will win this one, but 26.5 is a lot of points.
Louisiana Tech at #5 Auburn (-33)
Auburn finally had their streak of 13 straight covers broken last Thursday night. The Tigers’ offense did not look great against Kansas State, so I think they’ll want to quiet the critics and have a big offensive game against Louisiana Tech.
Missouri (+6) at #13 South Carolina
I have not felt worse about a pick all year. I have no clue what to think of these two teams. South Carolina’s defense is horrible. That’s the one thing I do know. So, I’m taking Mizzou with the points just because I think Maty Mauk and the Tigers’ offense will be able to score enough to keep this close.
#8 Notre Dame (-12) at Syracuse
I must be missing something here, because 12 feels low. Cuse isn’t particularly good and haven’t played well at the Carrier Dome this year — lost by 14 to Maryland and beat Villanova by 1. I’ll take Golson and the Irish to win by 2 TDs or more, but this line’s got me spooked because I feel like Vegas knows something.
Arkansas at #6 Texas A&M (-8.5)/OVER 70
Sharp money has moved this line an entire touchdown from -15.5 at opening. I do think Arkansas can keep this one fairly close, but I think this line has moved too far. Aggies by 10 in a high-scoring affair. I’ll take the over as well.
Oregon State (+9.5) at #18 USC
At this point, I don’t think USC should be favored by double digits. So, of course this line’s dropped from 12.5 to 9.5. I’ll still take the Beavers to cover this because I have no confidence in a team that loses to Boston College.
#16 Stanford (-7.5) at Washington
The Huskies were down 14 at the half at home to Georgia State. Georgia State is really, really bad at football and Washington is fortunate that the Panthers have no depth. Stanford has depth, and despite a loss at home to USC they are still a very good team that should be able to handle the Huskies.
Tennessee at #12 Georgia (-17)/OVER 55.5
I like what Butch Jones is doing at Tennessee. I feel like I have to preface everything I say about the Vols with that. Unfortunately, they will not be able to slow down the Georgia running game and I don’t think they stand a chance on the road. I do think this is a higher scoring affair than the oddsmakers do, so I’ll take the over as well.
#1 Florida State (-18.5) at North Carolina State
Jameis is back — for now — and one would assume Florida State will return to its normal dominant ways, right? Oh, you say that this line has dropped 9 points since it opened? Huh. Alrighty then. I’m going to begrudgingly take Florida State minus the points but want the record to show that I don’t feel good about this.
Cincinnati at #22 Ohio State (-15)
Ohio State’s still mad about that Virginia Tech game and has had a bye week to prep for Cincinnati. Urban Meyer wants blood, and I think this could be a rough outing for Tommy Tuberville’s Bearcats.
Memphis at #10 Ole Miss (-19.5)
Memphis is a very solid football team that went on the road and gave UCLA a scare. I think Ole Miss is A LOT better than UCLA though, particularly on defense. This line’s dropped five points since opening and I like Dr. Bo and the Rebels at under three touchdowns.
New Mexico State (+43) at #17 LSU/UNDER 56
This line has dropped from 47 to 43 and still feels like it’s too much. LSU will win, and win with ease, but New Mexico State is a reasonably competent football team and LSU’s QB situation is, to be nice, not great. I’m going to also take the under because I have little faith in the Tigers’ offense.
Illinois at #21 Nebraska (-20)
Nebraska at home is very tough. They handled Miami (FL) last week in Lincoln, and the Illini looked bad in their lone road test of the season (44-19 loss at Washington). The Huskers will take care of business behind another huge game from Ameer Abdullah.