NCAA Football

Saturday From the Betting Window: Week 5 College Football Picks

For those that tuned into my hour with Bernie and Michelle or “The Turn” on Friday, you know I loved Colorado laying the 9.5 points versus UCLA. After a slow start, the Buffs rolled to a 38-16 victory, easily covering the spread.

I didn’t get a chance to write about the matchup, however, so I won’t count the pick as part of my overall record for this column. Thus, my season record for college football stands at 10-10 against the spread. Hopefully, the Colorado win suggests a good weekend.

Here’s what I like on Saturday…

113 Central Michigan at 114 Michigan State, 11:00 a.m. CT

Regular listeners of “The Turn” know I am a proud alum of Central Michigan, but I will be fading my beloved Chips today. Outside of hanging with Kentucky for a half, CMU has been awful this season. The Chippewas are averaging 15 points per game this season, which ranks 127th out of 129 FBS teams. The Chips lost to Kansas at home, which was the first time the Jayhawks won a road game since 2009, fell to Northern Illinois while scoring just 16 points, and barely beat Maine at home last week, 17-5. CMU is young and inexplosive on offense. Michigan State, meanwhile, has underwhelmed thus far, but can’t suffer a letdown after losing to Arizona State a few weeks ago. Sparty thumped Indiana on the road last week and they’ll roll today.

Prediction: Michigan State -28 (buy the hook if it’s 28.5)

161 Ohio State at 162 Penn State, 6:30 p.m. CT

This is a total “Joe Public” play but I do like the over. Granted, the total has dropped from 72 down to 67.5 so clearly, oddsmakers have been forced to adjust the line based on sharp action. But line movement is a tool for handicappers, not the end all be all. Take the Colorado-UCLA spread, for example. The Buffs opened as 11-point favorites and the line was driven down to 9 because the wiseguys were on the Bruins. A young UCLA team hang for a half, then faded in the fourth quarter as Colorado covered. My point in all this is: Make picks based on the teams, not the line. A lot of handicappers (including the pros) completely disagree with this line of thinking. They always play the line, almost like the stock market. But if the stock sucks why back it? I digress. Penn State entered the week leading all FBS teams in scoring at 55.5 points per game. Who was second? Ohio State at 54.5 points per game. Yes, some of that is based on these two teams playing blood donors, save for TCU, whom the Buckeyes beat a few weeks ago. But the bottom line is both of these teams are loaded offensively, I question the Nittany Lions young defense, and Nick Bosa won’t play for the Buckeyes.

Prediction: Over 67.5

195 Ole Miss at 196 LSU, 8:00 p.m. CT

I faded LSU a few weeks ago in Auburn and I got burned. The Tigers may get me again tonight but I’m doubling down on the line of thinking I had for that LSU-Auburn matchup. There’s no question the Tigers have been one of the more impressive teams in the nation, with wins over Miami and Auburn. That said, I think the perception of them being an elite top 10 team is overblown. Joe Burrow has had impressive moments this season, but he still ranks as one of the least-efficient quarterbacks in the nation. LSU also has some injuries along the offensive line and its stout defense surrendered 330 yards and three touchdowns to Louisiana Tech last week. Yes, I’m well aware of how bad Ole Miss defense is. But I still like the Rebels’ dynamic offense to move the ball tonight and I’ll take the 10 points.

Prediction: Ole Miss +10

Season Records

MLB: 54-31-2 (63%)

College Football: 10-10 (50%)