Skip to main content

Betting Against the Spread: College Football Week 5 Picks and Odds


There are quite a few big college football matchups this weekend without the SEC's influence. It's quite funny to see that the best games will feature Pac-12, ACC and Big Ten teams. It probably doesn't mean much on a larger scale, but I think it's great the other conferences get the spotlight from time to time. We're pretty much in conference play right now so it's time to see if some of the surprising squads can maintain their early success.

Image placeholder title

Record: 10-13 (4-3 last week)

Note: All games on Saturday, all times ET

Georgia State (0-3) at Appalachian State (2-2), 12 p.m.

Georgia State has some odd numbers that are both good and bad. The Panthers have held teams to just 136.7 passing yards, but they've managed only 45.7 yards per game on the ground. The Panthers nearly knocked off Wisconsin in Madison last time out two weeks ago, but also lost by 34 points at Air Force. Georgia State is getting healthier with top wide receiver Penny Hart most likely coming back. The Panthers haven’t really been able to find a consistent passing game, something that is exacerbated by their anemic ground game. Appalachian State hasn't been able to put it all together yet this year. The Mountaineers nearly won at Tennessee, but then they laid a huge egg at home against Miami. The Mountaineers’ defense can be beaten, as evidenced by the 83 points allowed the last two games. Georgia State is coming off a bye and has covered in 11 of its last 14 road games. I'm playing a hunch here, but I think the Panthers hang around. SELECTION: Georgia State +19

Image placeholder title

Florida (3-1) at Vanderbilt (2-2), 12 p.m.

Florida has won 23 of its last 24 in this series including the last 12 at Vanderbilt. The Gators figure to win again despite struggling with the Commodores last year at home before escaping with a 9-7 victory. Florida lost last week at Tennessee and is staring at a home matchup with LSU next week. The Gators struggled in the second half and collapsed under an avalanche of Volunteer points. Florida has put up a lot of good numbers on defense, but I'm pretty sure a lot of teams would against UMass, Kentucky and North Texas. Vanderbilt has to have some confidence after winning at Western Kentucky. The defense is better than the numbers show, especially since the Commodores allowed 289 yards rushing to Georgia Tech. Austin Appleby figures to get another start at quarterback for Florida in place of an injured Luke Del Rio. The Gators have covered just half of their last 30 games. Whenever you see a low total and a big number, the underdog is worth a look. SELECTION: Vanderbilt +10

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Image placeholder title

Virginia (1-3) at Duke (2-2), 12:30 p.m.

Both teams are feeling good after getting victories of different degrees last week. The Cavaliers finally got their first win of the season after blowing a 28-point lead. Their offense showed up and the defense made just enough stops in the end to knock off Central Michigan out of the MAC. Duke is coming off a huge win at South Bend and should be feeling good. The Blue Devils weren't that impressive offensively leading up to the game against Notre Dame, which seemingly every team is getting fat and happy against. I can see why this number is pretty high, but I'm not ready to buy consistency from either team's offense. Duke has gone under in 13 of its last 19 games as a favorite and 11 of their last 15 at home. Virginia has gone under in 12 of its last 16 ACC games. SELECTION: Under 61

Two similar offenses face off as Air Force hosts Navy. Both teams rely heavily on the option meaning the clock will be running in this one. The good thing is that each squad knows how it wants to defend the other. Air Force has allowed just 51.7 rushing yards per game this season, something that will be truly tested by Navy (316.3 ypg, 5th in the FBS). Air Force has been even better on the ground, leading the nation with nearly 375 yards per game. These two have played 10 unders in their last 12 lined matchups including five of six in the altitude. Navy is even a little bit tempting considering the Midshipmen are coming off a bye week. I hope I didn't miss the value in the under, but we'll take it. SELECTION: Under 47

Houston Baptist (2-2) at Western Kentucky (2-2), 7 p.m.

Western Kentucky is either going to be unfocused after a big loss to Vanderbilt at home or pissed off. Either way I think plenty of points will be scored. Houston Baptist’s defense has been awful giving up 56 points to Central Arkansas and 52 to Sam Houston State, a pair of FCS teams. The Huskies have some offensive weapons in RB Terrance Peters (4 rushing TDs) and QB Tony Dawson. Still, Mike White should be able to pick this team apart. It's rare for you to be able to bet on the totals of FCS/FBS games, but if you find it, take the over. I think this one has 49-21 written all over it. SELECTION: Over 66.5


— I have some questions about this Northern Illinois vs. Ball State game. Are the Cardinals really as good as their 3-1 record and if the answer is yes, then why are they only a 4.5-point favorite over the winless Huskies? Is Vegas giving the Huskies respect because of their past? Northern Illinois quarterback Drew Hare’s injury has made a difference, but then the number should be bigger. I give caution to those who consider Ball State. It might be the easiest play on the board, but why isn't this number larger?

— I lean strongly to East Carolina, but couldn't make the Pirates an official play. They are 2-2 on the season and coming off of a horrible effort at Virginia Tech in which nothing really worked. They are better at home and I'm not really convinced by what we've seen from UCF. The Knights looked really good at FIU, but that caused the school to fire their head coach. I think ECU is the better team, but I also don't like that the Pirates have covered just three of their last 16 conference games. ECU has been on my card two previous times going 1-1 in those scenarios.

— As you guys know, I don't touch on big games very often in this article, but I like Clemson on Saturday night. Yes, the Tigers haven't played like that team we saw last year yet, but to expect Louisville to win in Death Valley is asking a lot. Clemson has allowed just 44 points in four games and will be using the underdog thing as motivation all week. Louisville has taken care of business in every game, but I don't think the Cardinals have had a challenge as stiff as this. The Tigers have been an underdog just five times the last three seasons covering four of those games while winning just two outright. If you like Clemson, maybe wait a little longer and see if you can get a little more value.

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.