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CFB Week 5 big games: October brings a superior slate

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Our early look at last week's big games went 5-1, offsetting our dealer's choice "Saturday Seven," illuminating the nature of small sample sizes. All told, a 7-6 week moves us to 29-23-1 overall on the season despite one of our games showing up on a high-profile segment about "Bad Beats."

With apologies to two legitimately fun matchups in Texas Tech-Kansas State and Oregon State-Utah, we've got a loaded slate of big games, befitting of the first day of October football.

No. 4 Michigan @ Iowa (+10.5, 42.5)

Michigan got its closest thing to a challenge from Maryland last week and failed to cover a big number. Iowa does what it always does - ride its defense and special teams to stay competitive and hope for the turnover margin to fall its way to give itself a chance to win. The Hawkeyes' offense gets mocked, but that's only creating some value on Kirk Ferentz as a big underdog at Kinnick Stadium.

Line outlook: Iowa +10.5

No. 18 Oklahoma @ TCU (+7, 68)

Oklahoma's defense got found out by a mobile quarterback last week, as Adrian Martinez and Kansas State marched up and down the field in Norman. TCU can do the same thing at home, especially if it has a solid package for backup quarterback Sam Jackson. A win for the Horned Frogs would put them in play for the Big 12 title, while a loss for the Sooners would really hurt their chances.

Line outlook: TCU +7

No. 7 Kentucky at No. 14 Ole Miss (-6.5, 54.5)

Kentucky's already gone on the road against a team perceived to be better, and we saw what happened at Florida. The same might be the case here against an undefeated Ole Miss team that hasn't had anything close to a high-level opponent. The Wildcats have the better defense, coach, and quarterback, and more experience in this type of game.

Line outlook: Wait for Kentucky +7, bet +6 or better before kickoff

No. 22 Wake Forest @ No. 23 Florida State (-7, 66)

If Wake Forest had won in overtime and pulled off the upset over Clemson, this game would be a real doozy. It also likely would have meant the line would be under a touchdown. Florida State continues to get a ton of credit for what it's done this season, but Sam Hartman and the Demon Deacons' offense will provide a different look for the Seminoles.

Line outlook: Wake Forest +7

No. 9 Oklahoma State @ No. 16 Baylor (-2.5, 56.5)

The rematch of last year's Big 12 Championship Game has both teams believing they can get back to Dallas. Baylor showed out in a small upset win at Iowa State last week and came as close as you can to winning at BYU. This is the first road game of the season for Oklahoma State, so its market rating is built on home wins over Central Michigan, Arizona State, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I'll take the battle-tested Bears to cover under a field goal.

Line outlook: Baylor -2.5

No. 2 Alabama @ No. 20 Arkansas (+17.5, 61)

If you're going to get over a heartbreaking loss, Alabama coming to town should splash some water on your face. Arkansas should have beaten Texas A&M to set up an undefeated showdown this week.

As they always seem to be, the Crimson Tide are 17-point favorites on the road against a decent SEC team. Arkansas lost by seven at Tuscaloosa last year despite giving up 671 yards. If the Razorbacks can trim that down and get the same production from K.J. Jefferson, they can at least cover this big number in Fayetteville.

Line outlook: Arkansas +17.5

No. 17 Texas A&M @ Mississippi State (-3.5, 45.5)

Speaking of the Aggies, Saturday's win came courtesy of an all-time fumble recovery return for a touchdown. If that didn't happen, we might be seeing things crumbling in College Station. Instead, we're getting some value on Mississippi State since its last spotlight game was a loss at LSU. The Bulldogs provide a much different set of tasks for Texas A&M, and their defense can shut down the Aggies' offense.

Line outlook: Wait for Mississippi State -3, bet -3.5 before kickoff

No. 10 North Carolina State @ No. 5 Clemson (-6.5, 40.5)

One of our favorite Saturdays in 2021 was cashing a moneyline ticket on North Carolina State in its home upset of Clemson. NC State was a 10-point underdog that day, but this line is down around a touchdown with the game in Death Valley. The Tigers' offense made major headway last week in a shootout with Wake Forest, but it's the defense that will be the difference this week. At -6.5, Clemson is the play.

Line outlook: Clemson -6.5

Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.

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