After an exciting Week 4, I have four games that I like in Week 5. After four full weeks of games, there is less value to be found betting wise for college football games.
More data coming in on all 130 FBS programs, and as a result, the lines are becoming sharper. However, that happens every year, and there is still value to be found. That is because most September games are lopsided non-conference games, and starting in October, most games are conference games where teams are more evenly matched.
Below, I discuss four games I am betting that are expected to be close.
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CFB Week 5 Predictions
#14 Michigan (4-0) vs. Wisconsin (1-2)
Before the season started, sportsbooks offered “game of the year” odds where you could bet on games far in advance. For this Saturday’s matchup between Michigan and Wisconsin, Wisconsin was set as a 9.5 point favorite.
On Sunday, Wisconsin opened as a one-point underdog at home, and this was not a surprise. Wisconsin has started the season with a 1-2 record, while Michigan is undefeated with a 4-0 record.
The Badgers have looked vulnerable so far this season, but they have played a much tougher schedule than the Wolverines. They lost Week 1 to Penn State as a 5.5 point favorite and lost last week to Notre Dame as a six-point favorite.
While Wisconsin was supposed to win both games, it is important to note that both Notre Dame and Penn State are in the top 10 of the most recent AP Top 25 poll.
Michigan has had a much different trajectory than Wisconsin as they are undefeated. However, their schedule has been loaded with more cupcakes than a toddler’s birthday party, as they have only had to defeat Western Michigan and Northern Illinois. The Wolverines also beat Rutgers and Washington, who, while good, is nowhere near Wisconsin in strength.
This year under head coach Jim Harbaugh, Michigan’s identity is clear in that they like to run the football. The Wolverines run on 73.7 percent of their plays, which is the 4th most in the FBS and the most among teams that don’t run the triple option. This is a radical departure from 2020, where Michigan ran on only 43.8 percent of their plays.
Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the Badgers, despite their struggles, have a strong run defense. Wisconsin allows only one yard per carry, which is the fewest in the FBS. Against Notre Dame, Wisconsin allowed only nine rushing yards on 32 attempts, and they allowed only 50 rushing yards against Penn State.
The question for Saturday is if a surging Michigan team that likes to run the ball can get through Wisconsin’s rushing defense on the road in Madison.
Michigan vs Wisconsin Prediction: Wisconsin 17, Michigan 10
Best Bet: Wisconsin -2.5 (-110) at DraftKings (would bet up to -2.5)
Wager: 0.5 Units
This summer, I bet on Michigan’s moneyline at +270 in this game at DraftKings. I figured that Wisconsin could lose to either Notre Dame or Penn State and that by Week 5, Michigan won’t be a heavy underdog.
Even though Wisconsin has been a disappointment this season, I believe that at home with a strong running defense, they should win. As a two-point home favorite against a run-heavy Michigan offense that hasn’t been tested, I would bet the Badgers up to 2.5 points.
- Read our full CFB Week 5 Michigan vs Wisconsin predictions and bet picks.
#7 Cincinnati (3-0) vs. #9 Notre Dame (4-0)
Usually, for my best bets, I tend to avoid high-profile games and instead focus on games between minor teams. For Week 5, I am making an exception for the matchup between Cincinnati and Notre Dame.
If the winner of the game finishes the season undefeated, then they are likely to make the college football playoff. Both the Bearcats and Fighting Irish are ranked in the top 10. Despite being expected to receive a high volume of bets, I believe that betting lines for this game can be beaten.
Both teams are built similarly in that they have okay offenses and strong defenses. Cincinnati is currently allowing only 19 points per game, while Notre Dame is allowing 23.2 points per game.
Notre Dame year after year quietly contends to qualify for the College Football Playoff. Under long-time head coach Brian Kelly, the Fighting Irish have finished in the AP Top 25 in seven out of the last nine seasons. In two of the last three seasons, Notre Dame qualified for the College Football Playoff.
Against Wisconsin last week, the Irish won as a six-point underdog. In that game, Notre Dame’s defense had four interceptions and a fumble recovery. In Cincinnati’s last game against Indiana, they had three interceptions.
The question for Saturday’s matchup is which team’s defense can win what is expected to be a low-scoring game.
Cincinnati vs Notre Dame Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Cincinnati 17
Best Bet: Notre Dame Moneyline (+115) at PointsBet (would bet up to -115)
Wager: 1 Unit
How Notre Dame can be an underdog at home after their decisive victory against Wisconsin last week is beyond me. The Fighting Irish are normally dangerous to back against the spread, but in big games, Brian Kelly has a good record.
Cincy has looked weak offensively, and I expect Notre Dame’s defense to eat them up alive. It will be a close game and a sweat, but I feel comfortable backing the Irish.
Syracuse (3-1) vs. Florida State (0-4)
In an ACC conference matchup, Florida State hosts Syracuse in a late Saturday afternoon game. Last week, I faded Florida State at home against Louisville and was rewarded with a handsome profit. Currently, the Seminoles are winless this season after four games.
Last week as a one-point favorite against Louisville, FSU lost 31-23. The week before against Wake Forest, they lost 35-14 despite being only a 4.5 point underdog. Shockingly, those were not their most embarrassing losses as they lost at home to Jacksonville State 20-17 as a 27.5 point favorite.
When you pay an FCS program like Jacksonville State $400,000 to play you at home, you should win by a large margin.
Oddly enough, Syracuse, a basketball school with a football problem, has a decent team this season. Despite a preseason win total set at only 3.5 wins, the Orange have a 3-1 record after two upsets this season.
In Week 1, Cuse beat Ohio 29-9 as a 2-point underdog. Last week against Liberty, the Orange won 24-21 as a 6.5 point home underdog. The Liberty win was impressive because Liberty is one of the best Group of Five schools.
What was most impressive about Syracuse’s win over Liberty is how their defense contained dynamic quarterback Malik Willis. Willis was limited to only 205 passing yards and 49 rushing yards.
Against Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton, it will be interesting to see how the Orange do. In the past for UCF, Milton was one of the country’s most dynamic quarterbacks. However, after a three-year layoff from a potentially career-ending injury, Milton has not been the same.
In 2018, Milton had 25 passing touchdowns to only six interceptions. This season, Milton has only two passing touchdowns to four interceptions after four games. While Syracuse’s defense only has one interception this season, they haven’t allowed many passing yards. Milton is averaging only 166.7 passing yards per start, and he should struggle against the Orange.
The question for Saturday is if a surging Syracuse team can win on the road against a sinking Florida State ship.
Syracuse vs Florida State Prediction: Syracuse 34, Florida State 24
Syracuse vs Florida State Best Bet: Syracuse Moneyline (+170) at Caesars (would bet up to +135)
Wager: 1 Unit
Last week, I faded Florida State, and this week I am doing it again. I don’t believe much in motivation as a factor in sports. In professional sports, players are trying their best to make more money on their next contract, and in college, sports players are trying to get drafted.
However, Florida State has played so much worse than what they are capable of that Syracuse at +170 is too compelling to ignore.
McKenzie Milton should have trouble against Syracuse’s defense. After the Orange’s victory against Liberty, I do not understand how the oddsmakers haven’t set the line as close to a tossup. That is why I like Cuse to win outright rather than covering as a slight underdog.
Old Dominion (1-3) vs. UTEP (3-1)
From a non-betting perspective, you would be absolutely nuts to watch Saturday night’s game between Old Dominion and UTEP. I watched last week’s UTEP game and got nauseous from the poor camera work. Additionally, both teams are among the worst in the FBS.
Despite playing mainly cupcakes, Old Dominion hasn’t beaten an FBS opponent since 2018. The Monarchs have been a royal disappointment to their fans as they are 1-3 this season, skipped the 2020 season, and had a 1-11 record in 2019.
UTEP, like ODU, has had a poor recent track record. From 2017 to 2019, the Miners went 2-34, but things have looked better for them recently. In 2020, UTEP had a 3-5 record, and this season they shockingly have a 3-1 record despite a preseason win total of only three wins at WynnBet.
While all three of UTEP’s wins have come against cupcakes, ODU is a cupcake as well. Last week against New Mexico as a 2.5 point home underdog, the Miners won 20-13 as they limited New Mexico’s quarterback Tom Wilson to only 160 passing yards, no passing touchdowns, and 16 completions off of 38 passing attempts.
Against New Mexico State in Week 0, UTEP limited both of their quarterbacks to only 92 passing yards and a combined 9 completions off of 33 passing attempts.
This Saturday night at home, the Miners should be fine against Monarch’s quarterback D.J. Mack Jr., who has struggled this season. In four games, Mack has three passing touchdowns, four interceptions, and a completion percentage of only 51.4 percent.
The question for Saturday night’s toilet bowl between Old Dominion and UTEP is if UTEP can flush away Old Dominion with a royal flush.
Old Dominion vs UTEP Prediction: UTEP 24, Old Dominion 10
Best Bet: UTEP -3.5 (-110) at BetRivers (would bet up to -6.5)
Wager: 1 Unit
At less than a touchdown, any price on UTEP covering against Old Dominion is worth taking. UTEP could very easily qualify for a bowl game this season just by beating bad teams like Old Dominion.
ODU is the college football equivalent of a deer in the headlights as they have been unprepared this season after skipping last year. UTEP’s defense has looked like a Big Ten defense against quarterbacks from cupcakes, and they should continue their strong performance against UTEP on Saturday night.