All wagers at -110 odds unless otherwise noted. Visit Odds Shark for updated lines throughout each game week.
Season record: 33-51 (41 percent)
Would you believe that my record has improved two weeks in a row? Finally over 40 percent for the season.
Last week should have been better. Northwestern missed a 27-yard field goal and an extra point, and my wager lost by ... 3.5 points. West Virginia took a 16-point lead to the fourth quarter, its center snapped the ball before the QB was ready on first-and-goal from BYU’s 4, and WVU had to hold on for dear life. Marshall QB Chase Litton was a scratch for the Herd, and Louisville covered by a score. And the bad beat in Stanford-UCLA was one of the most talked about of the season, though spreads varied by place.
At some point, my luck in close games (3-9 in spreads decided by a field goal, 14-26 in spreads decided by a single score) has to start to even out. If you’ve been fading my bets, you’ve made some cash. I need to hit a lot of volume to get back in the black.
So, Week 5. Let’s get to it.
1. Kansas +29 at Texas Tech: I’m grabbing this with the idea that KU’s defense is somewhat improved and the hope that Kansas can score 30 on a bad defense.
2. UConn at Houston -28: UConn’s offense has been generally awful and is not good playing from behind. Houston will probably be too much here.
3. Stanford at Washington -3: Stanford is down two cornerbacks, and its offensive line looked very poor against UCLA. Washington has the better QB and is at home.
4. Louisville at Clemson +3: I think this is the game that Clemson stops trying to make Deshaun Watson into more of a pocket passer and unleashes his legs. Clemson’s defensive front is incredible, but if there is a worry, it is the Tigers’ inexperienced secondary, which has not faced a strong passing attack yet.
5. Wisconsin at Michigan -10: I have had a good feel for betting on and against Wisconsin this year, and while Michigan has had some luck (Colorado QB injury), this is a very tough spot for the Badgers.
6. Michigan State at Indiana +7.5: Indiana threw five interceptions last week and was still unlucky to lose to Wake Forest. Michigan State’s offense is a mess.
7. Oregon at Washington State +2: The Cougars seem to have turned things around the the Ducks are spiraling down.
8. Miami at Georgia Tech +7.5: Miami has three freshman linebackers facing Georgia Tech’s option attack for the first time.
9. North Carolina at Florida State Under 70.5: Three injured FSU defensive starters (Derrick Nnadi, Trey Marshall, and Josh Sweat) returned to practice Wednesday, and the 'Noles defense should be better at home.
10. Arizona at UCLA -11: UCLA has had two hard-luck losses this year and is one of the best 2-2 teams in the nation.
11. Baylor at Iowa State +17: Why isn’t this line higher? It feels like a trap. I’ll take the other side of the trap.
12. Texas +3 at Oklahoma State: The wager is that Texas used its bye week to correct some of its issues. Oklahoma State comes off a tough loss at Baylor.
13. Oregon State +18.5 at Colorado: I’ve been very impressed with Colorado on the year but this is a major sandwich spot between the Oregon and USC games.
14. Florida at Vanderbilt +10.5: Vanderbilt plays decent defense, and this is a sandwich spot for the Gators between their Tennessee and LSU games.
15. Minnesota at Penn State -2.5: While I do not trust James Franklin much as a coach, I do think Penn State’s passing attack gets things together in order to win by double digits. If Penn State loses this I cannot see how Franklin keeps his job.
16. Purdue at Maryland -10: Maryland is off a bye. Last week Purdue won as a favorite, but its run defense is poor and Maryland could rush for 300 yards.
17. UCF +4 at East Carolina: I’ll take these points in a shootout and believe the Knights will be able to run the football effectively.
18. UCF at East Carolina Over 60: See above. Expect this final score to be in the 70s.
19. Memphis at Ole Miss -14.5: While I am impressed with Memphis this year, this is a revenge game for Ole Miss after losing to the Tigers last year. And Ole Miss has a bye next week, so the look-ahead situation is eliminated.
20. Ohio -2.5 at Miami (Ohio): Ohio has a strong defense, and while this seems like a trap with such a low number, this rivalry game should keep UO’s focus.
21. Tulane at UMass +3: Grabbing three points with the home dog in what should be an ugly game of bad offenses.
22. FAU -6 at FIU: FIU just fired its coach, and FAU is well coached, so the Owls are the play in a contest of teams with similar talent levels. FIU’s offense is awful.
23. Virginia +4 at Duke: Virginia seems to be hitting its stride while Duke is in a prime emotional letdown spot.
25. San Diego State at South Alabama +20: This is simply too many points to lay in a cross-country game.
26. Wyoming +7 at Colorado State: Colorado State has yet to crest five yards/play against an FBS opponent while its defense is pretty poor.
27. Louisiana Monroe at Auburn -32.5: Louisiana Monroe cannot run the football at all and has one of the worst run defenses in the country. Auburn has Mississippi State next week, which is not exactly an awful look-ahead spot.
28. Western Michigan -3 at Central Michigan: CMU has the notoriety, but Western Michigan is the better team, and the Oklahoma State win by CMU probably pushed this line down a point or two.
29. Kentucky at Alabama -34.5: I have successfully bet on or against Kentucky three times this year, and the Wildcats’ rush defense is terrible. Look for the Tide to roll.
30. Wake Forest at NC State -10: Wake Forest has been extremely lucky to get to 4-0
31. Navy at Air Force -7: Perhaps this is a trap, but while Navy seems to have adjusted to personnel losses on offense, Air Force’s run defense is nasty, and the team can hit some big pass plays.
32. USF at Cincinnati -5.5: This is a prime letdown for USF, after getting trounced by Florida State. The uncertain status of Bearcats QB Hayden Moore does concern me, though.
33. Kansas State at West Virginia -3: I’m going back to the WVU well, as the Mountaineers should have covered last week. But WVU’s run defense is scary.
34. Marshall +16.5 at Pitt: Pitt’s pass defense is bad, Marshall can sling it, and Pitt is due for an emotion letdown after seriously tough games against Penn State, Oklahoma State, and North Carolina.
35. UTEP +20 at Louisiana Tech: For some reason, Louisiana Tech is one of the most popular sides of the week on OddsShark, so I’ll take the full 20 and go against the grain.
Thoughts on games I didn’t bet
Buffalo at Boston College -18: This line is begging to take Buffalo, but I won’t take the bait. The reason I am not taking BC is because it has Clemson on deck Friday. Also I struggle to trust BC’s offense.
Notre Dame at Syracuse +10: I don’t want to put lines in the column that are really stale. I liked Syracuse +13, but I now have no idea if QB Eric Dungey is playing.
Tennessee -3 at Georgia: This number seems spot on for a letdown spot for Tennessee, and I don’t see value. I would love Georgia and closer to a TD.
Georgia State +19 at Appalachian State: The best value was early in the week with GSU and +21.