Preview and picks for NCAA Football Week 5
The final weekend of September brings four Top 25 matchups starting Friday with No. 10 Utah at No. 19 Oregon State in a Pac-12 showdown. Both Colorado and UCLA lost in Week 4 to drop them out of the Top 25, but six Pac 12 teams remain and three of them are in the top-10 laying huge prices on the road - Oregon at Stanford, Washington at Arizona and USC at Colorado in a most watched and wagered game.
We've had a solid September with our Top 25 Picks and Opinions while expanding to more as Top 25 games as there were fewer Top 25 matchups this month. But last week was the biggest Saturday of the season thus far with six Top 25 matchups, and we were a bit unfortunate on our Notre Dame (+3) pick as they lost 17-14 on a final play touchdown by Ohio State.
You can follow along and decide if you want to bet on the Picks, Opinions and Leans provided each week, or chip-in at Gambler's World for additional picks and videos of college football games.
I like to dig into stats and have provided information and insight for years looking for match-up edges, along with stats and situational plays that can often be overlooked when evaluating the games and matchups.
College football strategies and stability ratings
We're also in a stretch from Weeks 3-6 where there is significant adjustments in betting lines and overreaction in the market. That often creates value and opportunities on underdogs if you're willing to take a contrary approach - see our bonus pick below. We did that last week with Rutgers (+24), which pushed in a 31-7 loss at Michigan with many bettors winning on the underdog as the line was available at +24.5. Of course it's recommended to have multiple outs to bet when shopping and wagering at leading online sportsbooks.
Last year's Top 25 matchup Picks went 11-7 ATS, and we'll update the Picks and Opinions each week along with Leans and bonus picks. I'll be providing Picks, Opinions or Leans on every Top 25 matchup each week, and add additional Picks and Opinions on Top 25 games/teams. The Top 25 matchups and teams draw the most media and betting interest, so we'll cover those games each week with added information you can bet on.
Last week was a 2-1-2 result on our Top 25 Picks and Opinions with a Pac-12 winner on Washington State (+3) outright and Arkansas (+17.5) easy in a 34-31 loss at LSU. We won't include the pushes in our overall records, or Leans, which went 0-5 last week (1-5 YTD).
All college football 2023 Picks and Opinions through Week 4 are 10-5, including 9-3 ATS on sides.
Top 25 Matchup Picks: 0-1 (total)
Top 25 Matchup Opinions: 4-1
Top 25 Game Picks: 1-0
Bonus Picks: 1-0
Bonus Opinions: 0-1
Top 25 Games Opinions: 3-1
Top 25 Totals Opinions: 1-1
Check out more college football Week 5 updates with opening odds and line moves in my coverage in Forbes.
Top 25 Games, Odds and TV Schedule
College football odds from reduced juice sportsbook BetAnySports refresh periodically and are subject to change, including on props and live betting. All times Eastern (ET)
Saturday, Sept. 30
No. 1 Georgia (-14.5) at Auburn | 3:30 p.m. | CBS
No. 2 Michigan (-17) at Nebraska | 3:30 p.m. | FOX
No. 3 Texas (-16.5) vs. No. 24 Kansas | 3:30 p.m. | ABC
No. 4 Ohio State | Bye
No. 5 Florida State | Bye
No. 6 Penn State (-26.5) at Northwestern | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network
No. 7 Washington (-18.5) at Arizona | 10 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
No. 8 USC (-21.5) at Colorado | 12 p.m. | FOX
No. 9 Oregon (-27.5) at Stanford | 6:30 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
No. 10 Utah at No. 19 Oregon State (-4.5) | 9 p.m. | FS1 (Friday)
No. 11 Notre Dame (-5.5) at No. 17 Duke | 7:30 p.m. | ABC
No. 12 Alabama (-14.5) at Mississippi State | 9 p.m. | ESPN
No. 13 LSU (-2.5) at No. 20 Ole Miss | 6 p.m. | ESPN
No. 14 Oklahoma (-19.5) vs. Iowa State | 7 p.m. | FS1
No. 15 North Carolina | Bye
No. 16 Washington State | Bye
No. 18 Miami | Bye
No. 21 Tennessee (-11.5) vs. South Carolina | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
No. 22 Florida at Kentucky (-1) | 12 p.m.
No. 23 Missouri (-13.5) at Vanderbilt | 4 p.m. | SEC Network
No. 25 Fresno State (-24.5) vs. Nevada | 10:30 p.m. | FS1
Others receiving votes: Kansas St. 57, Kentucky 41, Colorado 32, Louisville 32, UCLA 28, Maryland 20, TCU 17, Tulane 11, Syracuse 8, Wisconsin 6, Air Force 6, Clemson 5, Texas A&M 5.
Week 5 Top 25 Picks And Matchups
There are four NCAA Football Top 25 matchups between ranked teams in Week 5 on Sat., Sept. 30. Colorado has fallen out of the Top 25 (votes, No. 28), but the Buffaloes return to Boulder as a 21-point underdog vs. No. 8 USC in one of the most bet games of the day as well.
No. 10 Utah at No. 19 Oregon State | 9:00 p.m. ET on FS1 (Friday)
Line: Oregon State -4 and Total 44.5
This line opened Oregon State -2 in Las Vegas and was bet up and has settled at -4 after reaching -4.5. Game time decision for Utah's star QB Cameron Rising, who has not yet played this season (ACL). The Utes are still 4-0 this season with duel QB Nate Johnson playing the past two games. But it's Utah's strong, physical defense that’s carried them to a Top 10 ranking allowed less than 10 points per game while facing a very solid schedule of Florida, Baylor, and UCLA, which they beat at home last week 14-10 to kick off Pac-12 play. Coach Whittingham is as good as it gets and the Ute's positional players rank highest across the board as they shoot for their third straight Pac-12 title. The Beavers offense is averaging 7.3 yards per play with starters, and Dr. Bob Sports notes that OSU's opponents would allow 6.2 YPPL to an average offense. The Beavers running game is very strong averaging 210 yards per game vs FBS foes at 5.9 yards per rush. But the Beavers were taken to task last week at Washington State in a 38-35 defeat and allowed 8.4 YPPL after allowing 5.0 YPPL in each of their first 3 games. Redemption for the Beavers, who were buried by the Utes last season 42-16 in Salt Lake City with Utah a -10' point favorite. Now the Ute's are more than a FG underdog? Consider that Oregon State is 14-1 SU/ATS at home the last 3 years and you now understand. Follow the status of QB Rising, as the line may rise up again if he's ruled out.
No. 24 Kansas at No. 3 Texas | 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Line: Texas -16.5 and Total 62
Pick: Under 62 and Lean Kansas
Kansas is 4-0 for the second straight season led by their star QB Jalon Daniels, who has guided the Jayhawks offense to 6.9 yards per play against three FBS opponents. But a significant class jump here on the road in Austin against the top talent of Texas. The Jayhawks defensive line and secondary is a concern, and they were exposed in last year's Texas triumph in Lawrence when the Longhorns hooked 'em 55-16 - the worst loss for third-year KU head coach Lance Leopold, who has done a tremendous job for Kansas. The talent for Texas is extreme, as they showed in a 34-24 road win over then No. 3 Alabama this season. Along with Heisman contender Quinn Ewers at quarterback and an offense averaging 6.8 yards per play against some stronger defenses (that would allow 5.3 YPPL), the Longhorns rank No. 1 across the board at every position in the Big 12 with the defense allowing just 12.5 points per game and 4.3 points per game while winning all four games by double-digits including last week's blasting of Baylor 38-6 to open Big 12 play. The total seems high considering the talent and strength of Texas' defense and playing at home against a Kansas team that has seen their three FBS games total 57, 55 and 65 points with two defensive TD's last week in a fortunate win and very fortunate cover (costly for us) in a 38-27 win over BYU as a -9.5 point favorite. The Jayhawks offense operates at a slow pace, and they will have to control the ball to keep this close, as Wyoming did here two weeks ago in a 10-10 game into the fourth quater before Texas pulled away for a 31-10 win. Opponents have only averaged 59 plays per game against Kansas. And while Texas can make more explosive plays, they were unable to reach 40 points in any game this season including against two defenses worse than average (Baylor, Rice).
No. 13 LSU at No. 20 Mississippi | 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN
Line: LSU -2.5 and Total 67.5
Lean: Ole Miss
Ole Miss’ offense was slowed last week with just 300 yards and less than 60 yards rushing in a 24-10 loss at Alabama. Still, Mississippi was leading 7-6 at halftime but the 'Tides top secondary and defense was too tough. Quarterback Jaxson Dart is likely to go better than 244 passing last week against a LSU defensive backfield that was torched by Florida State. LSU and QB Jayden Daniels can clearly keep up if they protect the ball, but special teams are also a concern. Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart seems highly likely to be able to move the Rebels offense down the field repeatedly, and Ole Miss as home 'Dog is the preferred side along with over the high total.
No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 17 Duke | 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC
Line: Notre Dame -5.5 and Total 52.5
Lean: Notre Dame
Notre Dame opened a -2 point favorite and it's been a strong support of Irish green and money. Former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Mike Elko is in his 2nd year as Duke's head coach, and the Blue Devils are off to a 4-0 SU/ATS start with no opponent able to score more than 14 points. That includes Clemson, who Duke crushed 28-7 in Week 1. The Irish are off the crushing loss to Ohio State on the last play of the game, but a bounce back seems in order, moreso than a letdown. The sharp rise in the betting line keeps this rating down.
Baylor at Central Florida (UCF) | 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1
Line: UCF -11.5
Huge value on Baylor in a game that would have been priced near Pk 'em to start the season. Central Florida has the better offensive and defensive stats, despite missing QB Rhys Plumlee, along with more experience. But the Knights have played a pair of patsies Kent State and Villanova. Last week, UCF was rolled by Kansas State 44-31 in a 'welcome to the Big 12' game that the Knights allowed 536 yards and more than 250 yards both running and passing. The Bears are 1-3 SU and 0-3 ATS after getting buried 38-6 by talented Texas last week in Waco, but also note two Baylor 2nd half drives inside the Texas 5 yard line ended on an interception and stopped on downs by Texas. The Bears have been outscored badly while losing to the pointspreads by nearly 75 points. That sets up a contrary and profitable value play on the Bears with starting QB Blake Shapen also ready to return (day to day) after missing the last 3 games with an MCL injury, along with the Bears starting safety. Recall that Baylor led Utah 13-6 late in the 4th quarter as +7 point 'Dog in Week 2 before losing 20-13. Bears as 'Dog is true value and opportunity to cash in for a top payout with the betting line to fall further.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and loves college football. He's been handicapping and betting college football for more than two decades and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. FairwayJay chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Follow FairwayJay here at OSGA.com and on X (Twitter) @FairwayJay for more sports and betting insights.