College football line moves and best bets for Week 5
Clemson Tigers (-7, 49.5) at Syracuse Orange
Clemson outgained Florida State by 118 yards, earned nine more first downs and went 6/14 on third downs, but still walked away on Saturday 0-2 in ACC play. Dabo Swinney’s conservative decision making at the end of regulation allowed the Seminoles to force overtime and eventually win the game, and as a result the market seems to be turning on the Tigers.
Circa Sports opened this line at Clemson -7 and the immediate move was toward Syracuse by a point. Professional handicapper Paul Stone and VSiN analyst Matt Youmans both joined College Lines Revealed on Sunday and echoed an interest in the Orange in this spot as well.
Syracuse has been impressive thus far this season. The program improved to 4-0 SU/3-0-1 ATS with its win over Army on Saturday, and the hire of Rocky Long is paying off. The Orange are 19th in opponent yards per play (4.3) and tied for 11th in turnovers forced per game (2.3). They will present a challenge for a Tigers team that is 72nd in yards per play this season (5.2).
Utah Utes (-1, 47.5) at Oregon State Beavers
Quarterback Cam Rising sat out the Utes’ win over UCLA on Saturday despite reports that he had recovered from the torn ACL he suffered last season. Utah has the second-lowest overall offensive grade from Pro Football Focus in the Pac-12 , and it is 107th in the country in yards per play (4.5). The Utes could certainly use Rising under center, but is a road game against a ranked opponent the time to bring him back?
The betting market seems to be playing it safe with Rising’s status here. Circa Sports opened this game at Utah -1 while DraftKings hung PK on Sunday. The consensus number as of Sunday evening is Oregon State -2.5 with a low line of -1.5 at DraftKings. It’s safe to say that if Rising plays this line will head in Utah’s direction, but the degree of that line move is in question.
USC Trojans (-21, 72.5) at Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado was one of the teams that oddsmakers and handicappers alike had upgraded the most through the first two weeks of the season. However, the Buffaloes have since failed to cover as 20.5-point favorites against Colorado State, and they were blown out by Oregon on Saturday. The last two results have Colorado’s rating in flux heading into a Big Noon kick-off with USC.
The first number posted for this game was USC -27 on Saturday night, but DraftKings put up -24 on the board. Circa Sports was lower on its opener at -21 but all of the numbers met in the middle at -23 by the time Sunday evening rolled around.
Many bettors - including my co-host Pamela Maldonado - have expressed skepticism when it comes to USC in this spot. However, Colorado has its own issues. The Buffaloes’ offensive line is hanging Shedeur Sanders out to dry. Sanders was sacked eight times against Oregon, has been sacked 23 total times on the season and has been pressured on 36.5% of his dropbacks. Until that issue is fixed Colorado is going to have trouble against elite competition.
Boise State Broncos (-3, 58.5) at Memphis Tigers
This game is an incredible example of why paying attention on Sunday matters. DraftKings was the first to market on this game and hung Memphis as a three-point favorite. Circa Sports went to market about an hour later with Boise State as a three-point favorite, and for a brief moment a bettor with the ability to bet at both shops could have grabbed a field goal with both teams. Neither team has been overly impressive this season, but a six-point middle in a field goal game would be a nice spot to be in on Saturday.
Baylor Bears at UCF Knights (-9, 48.5)
John Rhys Plumlee is still nursing a leg injury which has caused him to miss the last two games for UCF, but this is about the time he was expected to be back. His potential return could be why the market came in on the Knights and the over on Sunday, or it could be due to the poor play of Baylor. The Bears were gouged for 503 total yards and 38 points at home by Texas, and they have dropped to 66th in Bill Connelly’s SP+ rankings. Outside of Plumlee’s status, bettors should be aware of the total here which was bet up 7.5 points from the open.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at UTEP Miners (-3, 48.5)
UTEP fell to 1-4 SU and ATS on the season when it lost to UNLV at home on Saturday night. The Miners are among the lowest rated teams in the country right now, and the market immediately coming in and backing Louisiana Tech despite quarterback Hank Bachmeier’s questionable status is evidence to that fact. This line is now UTEP -1 and it won’t be shocking if they end up as a home underdog come Saturday, and the total was bet up 4.5 points as well.
Bets To Make
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-2, 54.5) at Duke Blue Devils
Last week Ohio State was the recommended play in this column, and the Buckeyes luckily came back to win on what was essentially the final play to push the number. That play was mostly about fading Notre Dame and the perception of the Irish by the betting market, and I will go back to that well once more.
Notre Dame had a tough time with its passing attack on Saturday. Their outside receivers combined for four receptions and 62 yards against the Ohio State secondary, and they will face a similar challenge in Durham against Duke.
The Blue Devils are an elite coverage team with a great trio of corners in Joshua Pickett, Myles Jones and Brandon Johnson. They are 24th in defensive SP+ (19.4) and second in the country in opponent yards per pass attempt (4.4). This is also a brutal spot for the Irish to have to go on the road and lay points after a physically taxing and emotional loss at home. This line could get back to 6.5 by the time Saturday comes around, and I will be on the Blue Devils when it does.
Bet Recommendation: Duke (+5.5)