Week 5 college football schedule situational betting spots

By Adam Burke  ( 

September 25, 2023 09:49 PM

College football schedule Week 5

Week 5 may not have the pizzazz that Week 4 had, but we’ve still got four Top 25 vs. Top 25 games on Friday and Saturday. Utah vs. Oregon State is the signature game for Friday night and we’ll see Kansas vs. Texas, LSU vs. Ole Miss, and Notre Dame vs. Duke on Saturday. A lot of T25 teams are on the road in hefty favorite roles this week, so it will be interesting to see how they fare in those contests.

While the blue-blood programs grab the headlines, don’t forget about some of the other really intriguing situational spots in Week 5. We’ve got several of them and they should be considered in the handicap, but I wouldn’t advocate for them to be sole justification for a play. Coaching matters a lot in these situations and some teams can overcome them, while others will not.

Week 5 Hub | College football odds | College football betting splits

(Games sorted by Kickoff Time; odds as of September 25, 8:00 p.m. PT)

Cincinnati Bearcats at BYU Cougars (-2.5, 50)

Friday, 10:15 p.m. ET

Two Big 12 newcomers meet on Friday night in Provo, as the Bearcats head to the Beehive State. Provo is about 4,550 feet up in elevation, so this is a tricky spot for Cincinnati, who lost 20-6 against Cincinnati to begin conference play. BYU also lost to a Big 12 fixture with a 38-27 road loss at Kansas one week after going on the road to Arkansas and beating the Razorbacks. It’s a short week with travel for UC and playing in elevation two time zones west for what is effectively a 10 p.m. Friday night kickoff certainly qualifies as a tough spot. Cincy’s only road game thus far was a short trek to Pittsburgh.

Florida Gators at Kentucky Wildcats (-2.5, 46)

Saturday, Noon ET

There was a time when this was arguably the most one-sided rivalry in college football. Kentucky has won two in a row over Florida for the first time since 1976-77. Kentucky’s win in 2018 was the first for the program since 1986. The Gators would win the next two, but now Kentucky has what’s called a “winning streak”, to paraphrase the late, great James Gammon as Lou Brown in Major League. The last time Kentucky won three in a row? You have to go back to 1948-51 when the Wildcats won four in a row. In fact, Kentucky won 12 of the first 16 games beginning in 1917. Florida has won 48 of the last 57.

Utah State Aggies (-4.5, 51) at UConn Huskies

Saturday, Noon ET

Utah State was involved in one of the most obvious situational spots last week, as James Madison came to Logan on the heels of two very emotionally-charged games against Virginia and Troy. The Dukes were up to the task and won, but did blow a 38-14 lead, only to score the game-winning TD with 5:52 left. Now Utah State makes a long trip east to Hartford to take on the Huskies. The Aggies are laying a road number here for a bright and early kickoff as the Huskies are 0-4 and haven’t scored more than 17 points in a game. The Aggies beat UConn 31-20 to open last season.

Clemson Tigers (-7, 52.5) at Syracuse Orange

Saturday, Noon ET

This may have been a tough spot for Clemson no matter what. Five of the last seven games have been decided by six or fewer points between these teams. Syracuse actually won in the Carrier Dome in 2017 and will look to repeat that feat. The last two games have been Clemson wins by 6 and by 3, so they’ve been tightly-contested ballgames. What makes this spot even more interesting is that Clemson, who was the better team against Florida State, lost in overtime and also had a 29-yard field goal miss with 1:45 left to take the lead. It is a tough spot for the Tigers to say the least.

Buffalo Bulls at Akron Zips (-2.5, 55.5)

Saturday, Noon ET

The Noon ET timeslot is full of situational spots, eh? Akron lost in four overtimes by a 29-27 score to Indiana last week. The Zips have not beaten a Power Five opponent since 2014 when they won on the road at Pitt. Honestly, that game shouldn’t have been close, as Akron finished the game with 192 more yards and ran 84 plays to Indiana’s 60. The Hoosiers scored on a pick-six and Akron missed a 32-yard FG at the end of regulation.

The last time the Zips were favored, they were laying 22 against Morgan State and won 24-21 at the end on a scoop and score with 52 seconds left in Week 2. They haven’t been favored over a FBS team since Week 14 in 2020. They were only favored once over a FBS team in 2019. So, this is a tough spot for the Zips and also a very rare spot to be favored against a conference opponent.

Eastern Michigan Eagles at Central Michigan Chippewas (-7.5, 48)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET

Let’s stay in the MAC, where the first game of the Michigan MAC Trophy rivalry series takes place in Mount Pleasant. Eastern Michigan beat Central and Western Michigan to win the trophy last year for the first time since 2012. The 38-19 win over CMU was the first since 2018 for the Eagles. They look to be one of the worst teams in FBS this season, so holding on to the crown may be tough, but both teams will be charged up for this one.

Houston Cougars at Texas Tech Red Raiders (-10, 51.5)

Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET

This is now a conference game, as Houston joined the Big 12 for this season and will look for its first conference win against Texas Tech. NC State QB Brennan Armstrong admitted how weird it was to play on the road against Virginia, where he played for five seasons. While Houston QB Donovan Smith wasn’t at Texas Tech as long, this will still be a weird sensation heading back to Lubbock. Smith was in the program for three seasons and played 23 games over the last two years before transferring out. The Red Raiders have some QB issues of their own, as Tyler Shough broke his fibula and Behren Morton now slots in. 

As an aside, Houston will not play a game outside the state of Texas until October 28 against Kansas State. This will be their second road game, both in Texas.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at UNLV Rebels (-11, 59)

Saturday, 4 p.m. ET

Las Vegas is lovingly referred to as “The 9th Island”, as a large Hawaiian presence can be felt all over the valley. While this won’t may not feel totally like a home game for the visiting Rainbow Warriors, it should be a pretty fun atmosphere for this one at Allegiant Stadium. “Atmosphere” and “UNLV” aren’t generally used in the same breath, as the team plays in a gigantic NFL stadium and the Rebels haven’t been good for a long time, but they look dramatically improved under first-year head coach Barry Odom. Hawaii has actually won four of the last five head-to-head and beat the Rebels 31-25 in Honolulu last season for just their third win of the season. UNLV beat Nevada the following week, but that game cost them a shot at bowl eligibility.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-6, 52.5) at Duke Blue Devils

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET

I’m a Cleveland sports fan and I feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen depressing losses. I’m deeply and irreparably scarred. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a loss as brutal and painful as what happened to Notre Dame last week. The Fighting Irish have to collect themselves in a hurry because they go on the road and take on a really good Duke team with College Gameday in Durham for what will be the biggest Duke home game on a football field in a long time. This is the most obvious spot of the week and it will be really interesting to see how the betting markets react.

South Carolina Gamecocks at Tennessee Volunteers (-12.5, 63.5)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET

The most obvious revenge spot of the week just might be this one, as South Carolina heads to Rocky Top. Seemingly out of nowhere, South Carolina beat Tennessee 63-38 last season to end the Volunteers’ College Football Playoff hopes. The hopes were slim two weeks removed from a loss to Georgia, but that outcome removed all doubt. Josh Heupel doesn’t have to look far to find bulletin board material this week.

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