Week 5 of the college football season brings fans another loaded slate of action with a few top-25 matchups, along with numerous games with legitimate upside potential. But for Saturday’s top picks, we’re going to roll through the action by looking at the full week and breaking out five picks that stand out among the rest.
These five games check in as the NCAAF best bets today, and while there are numerous other plays on the board worth considering for these spots, each one has its own unique reason for landing on the list.
We’re going to jump into it first with the No. 2 ranked team in the country, the Michigan Wolverines, who’ll be on the road facing Nebraska.
Michigan Rolls Through Nebraska
Although the Michigan defense hasn’t faced an overly daunting opponent to this point in the season, it’s worth noting that it hasn’t allowed more than seven points in any single game. Through four games, that feat is impressive regardless of the competition, and their defense has been impressive.
This week, the Wolverines head on the road to face a Nebraska team coming off back-to-back wins against Louisiana Tech and Northern Illinois. But I’m more focused on the two games prior to that, a 13-10 loss to Minnesota and the infamous 36-14 loss to Colorado back in Week 2.
Michigan is laying 17 points here, but considering they Nebraska hasn’t faced an opponent anywhere close to the level of caliber of the Wolverines, the Cornhuskers are going to be playing catch-up early and often. Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy has completed an impressive 71-of-89 passes for 915 yards and eight touchdowns, and faces a Cornhuskers defense that’s allowed 251.8 yards per game through the air. I think McCarthy has a big game and wideout Roman Wilson adds to his already hot start to the year to give Michigan a four-touchdown win.
College football Pick: Michigan -17 (-110)
Notre Dame Gives Duke a Next-Level Test
The Duke Blue Devils have impressed through four games, as they remain undefeated and their defense has been great, allowing 35 points total. But on the flip side of that, Notre Dame has looked as impressive, if not more. Aside from a 45-24 win over NC State, the Irish have allowed no more than 17 points in any game, and 37 total points over the other four games.
The big key here is going to be Notre Dame’s offense heading to Durham as by far the toughest unit the Blue Devils have faced this year. Duke has allowed 133 yards on the ground per game, which isn’t awful by any means, but a date with running back Audric Estime (77 carries, 591 yards, five touchdowns) and Sam Hartman (14 passing touchdowns this season) will leave Duke’s defense in a brutal spot. Tack on the fact that the college football lines for this game are currently set at just -6 for the Irish, and I expect a double-digit win.
College Football Pick:Notre Dame -6 (-110)
Boston College? Yes, Boston College
The Boston College Eagles are 1-3, and yet, here they are on the top-five picks for the week. There are a few reasons for that, but one of which is the fact that their opponent, the Virginia Cavaliers, have struggled mightily this season.
Although Virginia nearly rallied late after NC State couldn’t shut down the door on the road, the Cavaliers still lost on a last-second field goal 24-21 in what I consider a “perfect scenario” for an upset. It was a primetime game at their home stadium, and Virginia still couldn’t get it done. Add on their two other losses by 36 (to Tennessee) and 28 (Maryland) along with a brutal blown lead to James Madison at home, and it’s a recipe for disaster.
But on the flip side, Boston College has started to figure it out offensively it seems, scoring 24 points or more in all four games this season,a long with a near-upset of Florida State two weeks ago. Neither of these teams are in the top-tier of the ACC, but Boston College QB Thomas Castellanos has played well of late, throwing for 305 and 265 yards over the past two games along with four touchdowns and just one interception.
College Football Pick:Boston College -3 (-110)
Time To Buy Stock in Missouri
The Missouri Tigers are off to an impressive 4-0 start, with recent wins over Memphis and Kansas State. They’ve scored 30-plus points in three of four games this season and now head to Vanderbilt to face a group struggling to find answers after three consecutive losses.
Vandy’s 17-point loss at home to Kentucky last week is noteworthy, and a road loss by 16 to Wake Forest also stands out. Now, Missouri, led by QB Brady Cook (1,073 yards, seven touchdowns), RB Cody Schrader (403 rushing yards, two scores) and wideout Luther Burden III (32 catches for an impressive 504 yards and three scores) should create issues from the word go for Vanderbilt.
On the season, the Commodores have allowed 234.2 passing yards and 150 rushing yards per game, and a date with the Tigers is highly unlikely to help either of those numbers. I think Missouri builds off what Kentucky did last week and wins by three-plus touchdowns.
College Football Pick: Missouri -13.5 (-110)
Washington Makes Statement, Penix Solidifies Heisman Candidacy
The Washington Huskies and Heisman candidate quarterback Michael Penix Jr. are on the road looking to extend their impressive 4-0 start. While Arizona’s 3-1 mark is worth giving a tip of the cap, the Wildcats haven’t seen anything remotely close to a unit like Washington.
Arizona pulled off a narrow one-point win over Stanford last week and lost to Mississippi State in their second game. The competition level faced hasn’t touched the realm of where Washington is as a group. While 18 points is a big number to lay on the road, there’s zero reason to believe Washington takes its foot off the gas in any fashion, as the College Football Playoff is within view for the No. 7 team in the country, and Penix is playing like the best player in the country.
College Football Pick: Washington -18 (-110)