During the college football season, the Stadium staff will provide weekly betting picks and advice in this roundtable. Here are our thoughts on the Week 5 slate.
Note: Ben and Nate will discuss all of their college football and NFL bets on the Sharp Lessons podcast. Subscribe on Spotify and Apple for episodes and follow Stadium Bets on Twitter for more sports betting content.
Alex Symonds, Stadium Senior Producer: Georgia Tech +22.5 over Pittsburgh.
This one stinks so much I had to hold my nose when putting in the bet. Georgia Tech just fired coach Geoff Collins and athletic director Todd Stansbury — and hasn’t scored more than 10 points against any of the three FBS opponents on their schedule so far. This team isn’t good, but I don’t believe GT is bad enough to be a three-touchdown underdog against a Pitt team that has cut down on explosive plays since Frank Cignetti returned as offensive coordinator. The Panthers are 12-20-1 against the spread as home betting favorites under Pat Narduzzi, and four of those covers came during last year’s Kenny Pickett dream season.
Ben Wittenstein, Stadium Social Media Producer: Iowa team total under 15.5 vs. Michigan.
If you haven’t been watching Iowa this season, you’re living a glorious life. They’re quite bad. The Hawkeyes are 98th in the country in points per game (108th counting only offense-produced points per game). Taking a deeper dive, you will see that last week they had two defensive scores, and before that, they scored 27 against a Nevada team that’s one of the worst teams in the country. Michigan’s defense is sixth in the nation in points given up per game and in defensive points per play. The combination of a terrible Iowa offense and a great Michigan defense makes me confident the under play on the Hawkeyes is the move here.
Nate Jacobson, Stadium Sports Betting Analyst: Mississippi State -3.5 over Texas A&M.
I have an early bet on Mississippi State -3, and they are still my favorite bet of the week in college football. This is mostly a bet against Texas A&M and their lackluster offense. The Aggies already made a QB change this season, as LSU transfer Max Johnson took over for Haynes King after they embarrassingly lost outright to Appalachian State as 18.5-point favorites. Johnson is 2-0 as the starter with tough wins over Miami and Arkansas.
Despite those wins, Jimbo Fisher’s offense is far from fixed. Texas A&M only scored 17 points against a Miami team that gave up 45 points the next week to Middle Tennessee. Last week, Texas A&M was about to go down 21-7 late in the first half and then Arkansas fumbled near the goal line, which resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Aggies to flip the game around. Texas A&M plays their first true road game of the season against a very good Mississippi State team and the Aggies will be without top WR Ainias Smith. I would wait and see if -3 comes back and bet on the home team immediately.
AS: Louisiana +9 over South Alabama.
I faded South Alabama in this roundtable last week against Louisiana Tech, and thanks to four Bulldog interceptions, including a pick-six, I came away a loser. However, I am ready to be hurt again. The Jaguars have been one of the biggest surprises in the Sun Belt and are a UCLA field goal away from being 4-0. On the other side, Louisiana has really regressed since Billy Napier’s departure despite having one of the more talented rosters in the Group of Five. I still believe in the talent on the Ragin’ Cajuns roster and made this game South Alabama -3, so I will take the points in this matchup and hope the Jaguars don’t bite me two Saturdays in a row.
BW: Kentucky +7 over Ole Miss.
These two teams are too close together in talent for this line to be a touchdown. They’re both coming off clunker games, and Kentucky is getting back star RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. after a four-game suspension. Kentucky’s o-line will certainly have its hands full against the Ole Miss pass rush, but the Wildcats’ offense suddenly gets a lot more dynamic with Will Levis and Rodriguez in the backfield together. Ole Miss will most likely win this game, but Kentucky is talented enough to keep it close.
NJ: Kansas State -7.5 over Texas Tech.
I bet on Kansas State as big underdogs last week and will go back to them after their upset win at Oklahoma. It’s not the perfect situation to bet on the Wildcats, but their opponent enters into this game in a much worse spot. Texas Tech is coming off an overtime upset win over despised in-state rival Texas and their fans stormed the field for the second time this season. The Red Raiders only had a 2.4 percent postgame win expectancy, so they were extremely lucky to record the victory. Off the emotional high of beating Texas, it’s not ideal for this team to have to take a daunting trip to Manhattan. Plus, QB Adrian Martinez gives K-State a higher upside to win this game by margin.
AS: TCU (+200) over Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s defense was eaten alive on the ground by Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez last week for 148 rushing yards and five total touchdowns. While I trust Brent Venables and his staff to clean up the defense a bit, TCU’s offense will likely be just as challenging to stop as Kansas State’s was (the Horned Frogs rank second in the Big 12 with 6.63 yards per rush attempt). While Max Duggan hasn’t been a threat on the ground this season, he does have 1,466 career rushing yards and 19 rushing touchdowns since 2019.
This could be the week Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Garrett Riley dial up Duggan on the ground to control the clock. Here’s hoping that this pick gets home after my Wake Forest and Western Kentucky moneyline picks recently lost in overtime.
BW: Kansas (+130) over Iowa State.
Let’s keep riding with America’s Team, the Kansas Jayhawks. Another home game in front of what will surely be another sellout crowd gives the Jayhawks an advantage here. Kansas is also second in the nation in points per play and are in the top 20 in turnover margin. They are legitimately a good team! Kansas going 5-0 would certainly be historic, so let’s jump on that train while we can still get the Jayhawks at plus-money.
NJ: California (+160) over Washington State.
It’s an odd week of college football betting for me because I prefer a lot of favorites, but there’s a small underdog I can make a case for. Washington State is coming off a tough loss to Oregon that had plenty of spread drama, with Washington State squandering a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter. Because Oregon has been one of the best Pac-12 teams recently, I can see the Cougars having a letdown here after a demoralizing loss.
Cal’s loss to Notre Dame looks a lot better after the Fighting Irish went to North Carolina last week and handled the Tar Heels. Good luck finding this game on the Pac-12 Network, but if you want to bet it, side with the quality underdog.
AS: Arizona State +25.5 over USC.
I feel like I need to channel my inner TV infomercial pitch man to make a case for the Sun Devils. “From the same guy that made the case for Georgia Tech +22 with an interim coach comes an even stinkier side — Arizona State getting 26 points at the LA Memorial Coliseum against No. 6 USC! Is that something you might be interested in?”
How’d I do? Convincing? No? Well, that’s okay. The bottom line is that if this point spread touches 28, I feel like I have to put in a bet on the Sun Devils. First, multiple ASU staffers were reportedly leaking gameplans to help get Herm Edwards fired. He’s been shown the door, so one would think that’s over. Secondly, USC’s turnover luck (14 takeaways, 0 turnovers) has to regress at some point. I’m hoping that starts on Saturday night.
BW: Minnesota -12.5 over Purdue.
This is intriguing if Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell doesn’t play. Minnesota has been lighting it up this season and they arguably have the best backfield in the Big Ten. However, the uncertainty around Purdue’s QB situation and the fact that this line has the potential to move a lot in either direction makes me hesitant to bet anything until the injury picture is more complete.
NJ: Under 38.5 in Navy vs. Air Force
I always look to bet under in games involving the service academies because they all run the triple-option. However, oddsmakers have set the totals so low for these games that it’s hard to bet under anymore. I’m going to stay away from this game because Air Force is actually good and has the ability to go over this total by themselves.