During the college football season, Stadium’s staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice. Here are our thoughts on the Week 5 slate:
1. What is your favorite pick against the spread?
Dan Vasta, Stadium “Stats Guru”: Virginia (+11) over Notre Dame. Notre Dame has won 10 of their last 11 against the ACC in the regular season, but this game will go down to the wire. We’ll see some solid signal-callers in this one with Ian Book and Bryce Perkins squaring off, but, ultimately, the Fighting Irish will struggle to pull away against a stingy Cavaliers defense.
Andy Wittry, Stadium College Sports Writer: Wisconsin (-24) over Northwestern. This is a big number, but Wisconsin has made a case that it’s in the second tier of teams nationally (No. 5 SP+, No. 8 AP) and Northwestern might be really, really bad (No. 93 SP+). The Badgers just beat Michigan by 21 points at home and the Wildcats currently have one of the five worst offenses in the FBS (No. 126 SP+) as Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson has struggled at quarterback with a 48.5 percent completion rate, 4.5 yards per attempt and one touchdown compared to four interceptions.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Washington (-10) over USC. BYU’s last two opponents meet up in a pivotal conference game for both programs. I’m going to lay the points with the Huskies against a Trojans team that only rushed for 13 yards in a surprising win against Utah on Friday. The reason the result can be considered a surprise is because USC quarterback Matt Fink threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns in place of true freshman Kedon Slovis, who left the game in the first minute with an injury. Washington already has one loss this season, so they won’t take their foot off the gas against whoever starts at QB. I have the Huskies winning by two touchdowns.
2. What is your favorite total (over/under)?
DV: Under 47 in Mississippi State-Auburn. Auburn quarterback Bo Nix didn’t dazzle us in a road win at Texas A&M, but the Tigers defense certainly balled out. Look for more of the same against the Bulldogs, who still lack confidence in their passing game. Similar to the Oregon matchup in their opener, Auburn wins this one thanks to their defense.
AW: Under 69 in Wake Forest-Boston College. Boston College’s defense is suspect (No. 103 SP+) and the Eagles have already allowed 45 points to Richmond and 48 points to Kansas, but it takes two to tango, and I can’t see Boston College’s offense racking up the points required in order to hit the over.
NJ: Under 49 in Georgia Tech-Temple. There’s a lot of familiarity in this matchup as Georgia Tech Head Coach Geoff Collins faces the program that he ran for the past two seasons. Collins recruited many of the Temple players, and he’ll know how to gameplan against his former team. After getting rid of the triple option, Georgia Tech has struggled offensively, averaging 17.3 points per game. Adding all those factors together makes me want to take the under in this contest.
3. Which underdog of six points or more has the best chance of an outright upset?
DV: Maryland (+6.5) over Penn State. This opened at over a touchdown and has already shifted, so it will be interesting to see where this finishes by kickoff. I’m going to continue to fade the Nittany Lions and their underwhelming running game, which has consistently failed to convert on third downs this season (127th in third-down conversion in FBS). Look for the upset on Friday night in College Park, where the well-rested Terps should be licking their chops after a bye week.
AW: North Carolina State (+7) over Florida State. Florida State quarterback James Blackman is day-to-day after suffering a leg injury and while backup Alex Hornibrook was impressive filling in last week, completing 15-of-20 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns, there’s a reason he transferred from Wisconsin. NC State is ranked No. 48 in SP+ while Florida State is No. 57, so even if the ‘Noles are favored thanks to this game being played in Tallahassee, the computer numbers say that NC State has been the better team through four weeks.
NJ: Mississippi State (+10.5) over Auburn. Auburn returns home after a massive win at Texas A&M, making this a difficult scheduling spot for the Tigers with a road game at Florida next week. True freshman quarterback Bo Nix is still getting acclimated to the college game and this feels like too big of a number for Auburn to cover against an above average SEC West team. I’m looking to sell Auburn after a 4-0 start, and this is the perfect scenario in which to begin fading them. Since I have Mississippi State covering, I’m going to also take them on the moneyline at over 3/1.
4. What is one bet you are tempted to make this week, but know you probably shouldn’t?
DV: Ohio State at Nebraska (+17). The Cornhuskers’ pass defense has been a joke this year (81st in FBS), but with this one being at night — and in Lincoln — it sure feels like a game that could be closer than the experts think. Ohio State QB Justin Fields hasn’t experienced a road start in primetime, which means he could get rattled and force a few throws into some tight windows if Nebraska keeps it close early.
AW: Indiana (+14) at Michigan State. The Hoosiers are catching two touchdowns in East Lansing against SP+’s No. 1 defense. It feels like 21 points might be enough to win this game, and Indiana is No. 32 in the SP+ overall rankings, just behind USC, Miami (FL) and Iowa. If Indiana quarterback Michael Penix is healthy enough to play, the Hoosiers are probably good enough to cover. But then again, you’re betting American currency on Indiana football playing on the road against the best defense in the country, so I’m staying away.
NJ: Kansas State (+4) at Oklahoma State. I highlighted Kansas State’s success against the spread this season and it seems like the market has caught up to the Wildcats with this number. The line has moved over a point after opening Oklahoma State -5.5 on Sunday afternoon. While I agree with the initial line move, it seems like the value is no longer there with Kansas State. I expect for Oklahoma State to play a strong game at home after their loss to Texas.