If I Were A Betting Man: Week 5 picks
On the morning of Aug. 26, when Stanford was preparing to play Rice in Australia and seven other FBS teams were ready to kick off their season, all 130 teams had a big fat ‘0’ on the right side of the W-L ledger.
The number of teams remaining with no losses as we head into Week 5 stands at 24 and will shrink by a minimum of four this weekend. Friday night, 4-0 Washington State hosts 4-0 USC. And on Saturday, Clemson (4-0) visits Virginia Tech (4-0), Miami (2-0) is at Duke (4-0) and Memphis (3-0) travels to UCF (2-0).
All four of these matchups will be intriguing, with the winners clearing a significant hurdle as they continue perfect seasons and dream of keeping that ‘0’ in the loss column all season.
The lines listed are from Covers.com
Week 4 record: 1-4
Week 4 net payout: -$220
Season record: 7-12
Season net payout: $-350
Memphis (+4) at UCF
Scott Frost is doing wonders at UCF after taking over a team that was 0-12 in 2015. The former Nebraska QB took the Knights to a bowl game last season and is 2-0 this year after thumping Maryland 38-10 on the road. Memphis has a nice, shiny win over UCLA, but its defense is ranked No. 117 in the nation and is giving up nearly 500 yards per game.
The Bet: $100 UCF to cover
Indiana (+17.5) at Penn State
Indiana impressed in an opening night loss at Ohio State, and has reeled off two straight wins. The Hoosiers, behind QB Richard Lagow, feel they are in position to end their 35-game losing streak against top 10 teams. But this Penn State team looks charmed, avoiding the Iowa trap with a walk-off TD pass last week. No way Penn State gives one away on its home field.
The Bet: $100 on Penn State to win (-875)
North Carolina (+9.5) at Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall is one of the sneaky good stories of the season. Marshall played running back in Tech’s option offense as a freshman, then was a third-string QB as a sophomore. He won the job in the spring, and he has rushed for 386 yards and eight TDs through three games while completing 14 of 23 passes in Tech’s run-first offense. North Carolina has beaten Tech three years in a row, but trotting out the No. 114th-ranked defense against this group does not bode well for extending that streak to four.
The Bet: $50 on Georgia Tech to win (-175)
Vanderbilt at Florida, Over/Under 42.5
Vanderbilt was beaten every way a team can be beaten in a 59-0 loss to No. 1 Alabama and saw its defensive ranking drop from No. 1 to No. 31 in the process. Florida amazingly escaped at Kentucky with a one-point win thanks to a late borderline holding call and some miscommunications on defense. It is tempting to take Vandy here as the Dores have covered in their last four trips to the Swamp and the line has climbed from seven to 10. But I’ll stick with two excellent defenses shutting down two inconsistent offenses. The winning team in this game the last two years did not crack 14 points.
The Bet: $100 on the under
Navy (-7) at Tulsa
Tulsa surrendered 338 rushing yards at home to New Mexico last week in a 16-13 upset loss. Now here comes Navy, the No. 2 rushing team in the nation with 393 yards per game. Not a good formula for Tulsa, which ranks No. 130 in overall defense. Navy is 3-0 overall, 2-1 against the spread and 2-0 vs. Tulsa the last two years.
The Bet: $100 on Navy to cover