CFB Week 5 big games: A bona-fide encore to a wild Week 4
Week 4's college football schedule was loaded with chart-topping bangers, and the betting could have been even better than a 3-1-1 effort. While Week 5 doesn't have anything on the level of Florida State-Clemson and Ohio State-Notre Dame, some really interesting matchups are rife with value if we can get the right number - and for the first time all season, it starts with some Friday night lights.
The premise for this handicap - as it was last week in Pullman - is that Washington State is sneaky good. What do the Cougars have to do with this game? Their home win over the Beavers last week was well-earned as Cameron Ward threw for over 400 yards on Oregon State. Fortunately for the Beavers, Utah doesn't have that kind of offensive weaponry.
The Utes got to 4-0 by shutting down offenses run by Graham Mertz, Blake Shapen, and freshman Dante Moore in his first road start. Now Utah goes on the road - with a young quarterback - to take on a team that can match up with it in the trenches. Oregon State has the fourth-most yards per carry rushing and has allowed the seventh-fewest in the country.
The prospective return of Cameron Rising looms, but if he makes his season debut, we can expect a better line than -3.5, and there's no guarantee he's up to speed. This line is creeping toward my projection of Beavers -4, so you can secure -3.5 now or wait to see if Rising's risen and potentially get a better number.
Pick: Oregon State (Wait for -3 to come back, bet -3.5 by kickoff)
Sometimes the best bets are the ones you don't make. If we talked you out of Colorado last week, that's a win. Oregon has been building depth and strength on the offensive and defensive lines for decades, while Colorado's still in its talent-acquisition infancy.
USC has offensive skill, but Alex Grinch's defense leaves something to be desired - although that's been camouflaged by the Trojans' opponents this season. San Jose State, Nevada, Stanford, and Arizona State all rate much worse than Colorado.
Giving USC the same spread at Colorado as the Ducks got in Eugene is an overreaction to a predictable blowout. The Trojans - who coughed up yards and points to the abysmal Sun Devils - won't be as successful at stopping Shedeur Sanders. A shootout is in the cards, so grab over three touchdowns while you can as we swoop in while everyone is jumping ship on Coach Prime.
Pick: Colorado (+21.5)
The Kansas resurgence started with a massive upset of the Longhorns in 2021, but in the rematch last season, Texas got its revenge by blowing out the Jayhawks. Jalon Daniels was still banged up and Kansas surrendered 427 rushing yards to Bijan Robinson and Co.
Both Jayhawks entities look a lot better this season. Kansas has allowed just 93 yards per game on the ground so far, and Daniels has been efficient with an improving supporting cast.
The Jayhawks will continue to limit turnovers and won't get pushed around by Texas, allowing them to stay in touch into the fourth quarter.
Pick: Kansas (+17)
LSU saved its season with a dramatic win over Arkansas, while Ole Miss ran out of gas in an ugly game at Alabama. Now both teams have a loss, making this matchup pivotal but difficult to get up for after last week's hard-fought battles.
The Rebels' rating rose before the Alabama game, so even a downgrade puts them back to where they were before the season. For LSU, nothing suggests it was inappropriate to downgrade the Tigers after they lost to Florida State in the opener. This matchup should be closer to pick'em, so any points are valuable and a moneyline of +110 or better is worth a look. However, we can be patient in case the opening line of Ole Miss +3 comes back.
Pick: Ole Miss (Wait for +3, take +2.5 by kickoff)
Notre Dame got way up for a game it probably should have won against Ohio State in Notre Dame Stadium. Now the Fighting Irish visit an ex-Notre Dame defensive coordinator and a Duke team that's surpassed expectations each week, covering all three FBS games it's played.
Mike Elko's team had an easy go of it at UConn on Saturday and has a bye week on tap. The Blue Devils should be completely focused on this game against Sam Hartman, who they faced in last season's finale with Wake Forest. Meanwhile, you wouldn't blame the Irish if that last-second loss took enough wind out of their sails to affect a trip to Durham that they didn't circle on the calendar.
Pick: Duke (+5.5, but wait for a better number and take +4.5 if necessary)
Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.
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