NCAA Football Predictions: Week 5 Opening Line Report and Picks
For the teams that should have easily beaten their opponents last week, it was rather straightforward. No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Georgia combined to beat their foes by 125-14. Georgia won 62-0, and Alabama snuck by with a 63-14 win. No. 3 Oregon made light work of Arizona, while No. 4 Oklahoma was given all they could handle against a plucky West Virginia team and barely escaped with a 16-13 win. We also had several ranked teams losing, with No. 7 Texas A&M falling to No. 20 Arkansas, No. 9 Clemson falling to unranked North Carolina State, and No. 14 Iowa State losing to unranked Baylor. As for No. 18 Wisconsin, well, they got steamrolled by No. 12 Notre Dame, and I would be shocked if ND isn’t inside the Top 10 this week. What’s more important, though, is that the loss by Clemson puts them at 2-2 on the year, and their run in the College Football Playoff is likely coming to an end.
Doc’s Sports offers college football picks against the spread for every game on our college football predictions page.
As far as last week’s results go, we connected on just one of three selections, with Boston College getting the upset win over Missouri as 2.5-point underdogs. Wisconsin got blown out of the water, and we missed our totals by a few points. On to this week.
Air Force Falcons at New Mexico Lobos +10.5, 49
I wrote about the Air Force Falcons in my weekly piece following Florida Atlantic all season long. I trust that the FAU defense would be good enough to stop the Falcons’ triple-option run game, and boy was I wrong. Air Force is a really good football team with an incredible running game. They accumulated 446 yards rushing against the Owls. And as they come up against a New Mexico team that is 2-2 on the year and coming off a loss, I see the Falcons continuing to run the ball down the throats of their opponent and get out to big early leads that allow them to bleed the clock down. This line opened up as Falcons -7. However, with the recent results, it’s been bet up to -10.5, and rightfully so. New Mexico doesn’t have the run defense or offensive firepower to keep up with the Falcons or push the ball downfield and try and force Air Force to play from behind and get them out of their game plan. It’s tough laying this many points with a triple-option team, but it’s the right side.
Pick: Air Force -10.5.
Mississippi Rebels @ Alabama Crimson Tide -15, 77.5
Typically, when I plan out this piece, I try to include teams that never really get any national media attention. As seen by the above, I think I do a pretty good job of that. However, the next three games, including this one, leave me no choice but to include them. No. 13 Mississippi travels to Tuscaloosa to take on No. 1 Alabama in what I would expect to be a one-sided affair. Not many teams beat Alabama in general, let alone on their home soil. This line opened as Alabama -17.5. However, thanks to Matt Corral and the Ole Miss offense, the line has dropped a few points and now hovers around -15 or -15.5, depending on where you look. Both teams on offense are the real deal. Ole Miss has scored 43, 54 and 61 points in their three games, and Alabama has scored 44, 48, 31 and 63 in their four games. Now, both teams have not played teams with any sort of defensive resistance, so those numbers are definitely influencing this total. I see this game being much lower scoring than most would think as I believe Ole Miss will want to try and control the time of possession and I think Alabama’s defense is suspect against the run. I see this game staying under the number in what will be a very College Football Playoff type atmosphere.
Pick: Under 77.5
Michigan Wolverines at Wisconsin Badgers +1, 43.5
The Wisconsin Badgers were steamrolled by Notre Dame last week, yet here they are seven days later getting just one point on their home field against No. 14 Michigan. Maybe I missed something, but Wisconsin is 1-2 and looked atrocious against Notre Dame. They couldn’t move the ball for the life of them. And what was once the focal point of the team, the defense, crumbled under pressure. Now they have to regroup and take on a ranked Michigan team that has aspirations of sneaking into the CFP. Michigan hasn’t exactly beat a who’s who of teams. However, the win against Western Michigan looks better since they went into Pitt and beat them on the road. Michigan has the potential to run the table until the final week when they take on Ohio State in “The Game”. I don’t see how Wisconsin rebounds from that crushing defeat knowing very well that their CFP dream is done and dusted.
Pick: Michigan -1
Cincinnati Bearcats at Notre Dame Fighting Irish +2.5, 51 (opened ND -1, 47.5
And lastly, this game is going to be one of the best of the week. Cincinnati, who typically garners very little respect, has now put themselves on the map as they rank No. 7 in the country and are currently 2.5-point favorites on the road against the mighty Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Those are words I never thought I would type, but Cincinnati is for real. They have a good offense and an elite defense. Will it hold up on the road against an Irish team that also has a very good offense? Time will tell, but I do think the value is with the home side, especially if you can get it to +3 or +3.5 by kickoff. Notre Dame has it all to play for, and a win here could propel the Irish to run the table and get into the CFP.
Pick: Notre Dame +2.5 (prefer +3 or +3.5)
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