College football predictions Week 5 from Wes Reynolds

September 28, 2023 07:15 PM

College football expert betting picks for Week 5

Wes Reynolds is on VSiN Tonight (9 p.m.-12 a.m. ET / 6-9 p.m. PT) and will be posting his weekly college football and NFL best bets for us. He is also one of the hosts of our Long Shots golf betting podcast. He also writes weekly golf previews 

College Football Odds | College Football Betting Splits | College Football Power Ratings

(odds as of September 14, 9:35 p.m. PT)

No. 6 Penn State (-27; 46) at Northwestern

Penn State dominated Iowa 31-0 in the "White Out" game last weekend in State College and held the Hawkeyes to just 76 total yards.

Northwestern trailed 31-10 at home heading into the fourth quarter vs. Minnesota but rallied for a 37-34 victory behind quarterback Ben Bryant's near four-hundred-yard game and four touchdown passes.

While Penn State currently ranks as the nation's top defense only allowing 219.5 yards per game, this is a bit of a tricky spot for the Nittany Lions off a big win in what had been a highly competitive series until last Saturday. Penn State also has a bye week on deck, which is followed by a tune-up with UMass before the big game in Columbus on October 21.

Not much was expected of the Wildcats with the late dismissal of Pat Fitzgerald over the summer due to hazing violations. The Wildcats program is still seeking a long-term direction, but they finally got something to feel good about with the comeback win last Saturday night, and some positive momentum could carry over here. The first half at +14.5 could be worth a look here as well.

Bet: Northwestern +27 (to +25.5)

No. 1 Georgia (-14.5; 45.5) at Auburn

"The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" was first played in 1892. Georgia has taken a 63-56-8 lead in the series courtesy of a six-game winning streak.

Auburn started off 3-0, but as we mentioned last week, the Tigers had benefited from an easy early season schedule and some fortune in their 14- 10 victory at Cal.

Last week, the Tigers were out-gained 402-200 in a 27-10 defeat at Texas A&M. Auburn's only touchdown was on a 67-yard fumble return early in the fourth quarter.

Michigan State transfer quarterback Payton Thorne was pulled in the third quarter in favor of Robby Ashford, but neither moved the ball very effectively last week.

Meanwhile, Georgia is off to a 4-0 start with all of its wins coming at home, but they are also 0-4 ATS (the nation's Top 5 are just 4-13-2 ATS thus far this season). The Bulldogs are still good, but they have not been their usual dominant selves. In fact, they rank 17th nationally in total defense and have only finished out of the national top ten once in the last four years.

This is also the first road start for quarterback Carson Beck. He and the Georgia offense have been fine, but they have clearly taken a bit of a step back under first-year offensive coordinator and former Georgia quarterback (1993-1997) Mike Bobo, who replaces Todd Monken, now in the same role with the Baltimore Ravens.

Granted, this is a buy-low spot on Auburn based on how they looked last week in College Station, but this is a big number to lay against a good defense on the road in what should be a low-scoring game.

Hugh Freeze is also 28-12 ATS as an underdog, including going 13-5 ATS versus undefeated foes.

Bet: Auburn +14.5 (to +14)

Iowa State at No. 14 Oklahoma (-20; 48.5)

Iowa State's season was turned upside down before it even began due to multiple suspensions, including to starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers, for sports betting (in Dekkers' case on Iowa State football games).

The Cyclones dropped the CyHawk game to rival Iowa and lost the following week at Ohio (out-gained Ohio 271-247; -2 TO Margin) and had a food poisoning outbreak the week of that game.

Nevertheless, Iowa State got back on track with a 34-27 last weekend against Oklahoma State. Freshman quarterback Rocco Becht, the son of 12-year NFL veteran Anthony Becht, threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns en route to winning National Freshman of the Week honors.

Oklahoma comes into this game with both a 4-0 SU and ATS record after a road win at Cincinnati. However, it is still unsure how good the Sooners are. They crushed Arkansas State and Tulsa as expected, but the wins over SMU and Cincinnati were closer than the final scores indicated.

The Sooners also have the Red River Showdown on deck with Texas, and they took a 49-0 beating last year.

Historically, this has not been a good spot for the Sooners, and they have lost outright as favorites in each of the last two years before playing the Longhorns.

Iowa State looks like all of the bad early-season energy is behind them, and Matt Campbell is 12-3 ATS (80%) as a double-digit underdog.

Bet: Iowa State +20 (to +18)



Georgia Tech at Wake Forest (-4; 58.5)

The disparity in records (Georgia Tech 1-2, Wake Forest 3-0) is misleading here as Georgia Tech has had to face Louisville and travel to Ole Miss early while Wake has played Elon, Old Dominion, and at Vanderbilt.

Wake did cover against Vanderbilt but benefited from three Vanderbilt turnovers, including a muffed punt that Wake returned for a touchdown. And last week against Old Dominion, Wake had to overcome a late third-quarter 24-7 deficit.

Georgia Tech, under new offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner, has put up 488 yards against Louisville and 474 at Ole Miss last week.

The Yellow Jackets should have beaten Louisville and should have covered at Ole Miss before the usual Lane Kiffin point spread shenanigans.

Bet: Georgia Tech +4 (to +3.5)

Colorado State at Middle Tennessee (-3; 51.5)

Colorado State was going to put an end to the hype machine around Colorado and had the Buffaloes beat before some questionable late coaching decisions from Jay Norvell. While the Rams had almost 500 yards of offense, they also had 17 penalties for 182 yards.

Now the Rams have to take to the road and get over the disappointment of letting one slip away last week. Awaiting the Rams are Middle Tennessee, who is 1-2 on the season. The Blue Raiders were predictably blown out at Alabama, only lost by four at Missouri (and had the ball late to win outright), and earned their first win over FCS Murray State last week.

While Middle Tennessee is a drop in class from Washington State and Colorado, Colorado State has still allowed 814 yards through the air in two games.

This is such a tough spot for the Rams to get off the mat.

Bet: Middle Tennessee -3 (or -145 ML)

North Carolina (-7.5; 50) at Pittsburgh

Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec and offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti have not been able to duplicate what they had back in 2020 at Boston College. Through three games, Jurkovec has gone an abysmal 35-of-75 (46.7%) for 474 yards (158 per game) with only four touchdowns to three interceptions.

Meanwhile, North Carolina is 3-0 and although Drake Maye has thrown for nearly a 300-yard per-game average thus far this season, he has only thrown for four touchdowns and already has four interceptions (38 to 7 TD to INT ratio in 2022).

The Panthers are likely to go back to basics here by running the ball and playing good defense. The Tar Heels allowed 5 and 5.5 yards per carry vs. Appalachian State and Minnesota respectively.

North Carolina is just 1-7-1 ATS as a Road Favorite since 2020, while Pittsburgh is 6-1 ATS as a home underdog of 3 or more in ACC games under Pat Narduzzi.

Bet: Pittsburgh +7.5 (to +7)

UNLV (-2.5; 50) at UTEP

UNLV is off its first victory over a Power Five opponent (at Vanderbilt) since 2019 with a wild 40-37 back-and-forth affair also over Vanderbilt.

The Miners sit 1-3 and have zero wins over FBS competition. They were close for a half last week at Arizona before the Wildcats put it away in the third quarter.

The Rebels may be without starting quarterback Doug Brumfield again for this. Last week, freshman Jayden Maiava, out of Liberty HS in Las Vegas, was ready to step in (19/33, 261 yards, TD, INT, 1 rushing TD) at a crucial point early in the second quarter down 17-0. Can he do it on the road this week knowing that he's the guy for this one?

This feels like a "back against the wall" spot for a veteran UTEP team.

Bet: UTEP +2.5 (to +1.5) or +125 Money Line


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Follow The Money: The Army-Navy game is the only CFB game this weekend. The total sits at 28 and has gone under 16 of the last 17 years with the one over happening because of overtime. Consider the under again Saturday. View more tips.

Greg Peterson: Virginia (-21.5) vs NC Central. View more picks.