College Football Betting: Analyzing Week 5’s Point Spread Moves
With four weeks worth of games in the books, the college football betting markets are starting to formulate stronger opinions. Some of those opinions have clashed with those of oddsmakers. Let’s take a look at some of the more noteworthy early week point spread moves for Week 5.
Northwestern at Wisconsin
CRIS Opener: Wisconsin -21
CRIS Current: Wisconsin -24
Analysis: One would think this would be a ripe spot for a letdown from Wisconsin but the markets have clearly keyed in on fading Northwestern. We saw a big move against the Wildcats last week and they were outclassed by Michigan State. That being said, this is a big adjustment. Last week, Northwestern opened +6.5 and closed +8 at home vs. Michigan State. That means the game would be priced around -14.5 if it took place in East Lansing. Even if you downgraded the Wildcats after the loss, that’s a far cry from the -24 we’re currently seeing.
Wake Forest at Boston College
CRIS Opener: Wake Forest -4
CRIS Current: Wake Forest -6.5
Analysis: The Demon Deacons’ resume isn’t bad. Their narrow Week 1 win over Utah State looks good with the Aggies having since performed better than expectations. They then dominated Rice and beat North Carolina soundly from a box score perspective. And despite Boston College bouncing back with a win and cover over Rutgers, a closer look shows the Eagles were outgained 6.3-5.0 ypp — a red flag if there ever was one. Plus the stench of that infamous loss to Kansas still looms. However, it’s a pretty big adjustment compared to what we would have seen Week 1 or even Week 2. Despite it struggles, I still feel there will be some BC support at +7.
Indiana at Michigan State
CRIS Opener: Michigan State -15.5
CRIS Current: Michigan State -14
Analysis: This is an interesting move considering how much market support the Spartans received the last two weeks. And important to note that Indiana lost a key veteran offensive lineman and their starting quarterback is still banged up — not ideal against MSU’s front seven. The Hoosiers produced next to no offense in their 51-10 loss to Ohio State. Michigan State obviously can’t match the Buckeyes from an offensive perspective but are no strangers to shutting down opposing offenses. In the end, Michigan State laying over two touchdowns in a conference game probably seemed a bit rich to some bettors.
Kentucky at South Carolina
CRIS Opener: South Carolina -1.5
CRIS Current: South Carolina -2.5/-3
Analysis: From a spot perspective, this matchup favors South Carolina. The Gamecocks are 1-3 and 0-2 in SEC play. They got trounced by Alabama and with a frosh quarterback making his first-ever road start, stood no chance in a 34-14 loss at Missouri. With their backs up against the wall, they return home to face a very comparable Kentucky team. But before you rush to the betting window, I don’t like what I’m hearing about South Carolina. One of their ballyhooed recruits, an all-SEC caliber safety decided to transfer midseason — never a good sign. And former backup and now current starting quarterback Ryan Hilinski got banged up in that loss to Missouri. From afar, I’ve been waiting for a situation to bet on the Gamecocks but I currently don’t see enough in my favor to pull the trigger.
Colorado State at Utah State
CRIS Opener: Utah State -20.5
CRIS Current: Utah State -24
Analysis: Colorado State is down to its backup quarterback who showed well in last week’s 41-35 loss to Toledo. Patrick O’Brien threw for 405 yards and a touchdown. The problem is it’s nearly impossible for quarterbacks to not put up sexy numbers in CSU’s system. And that came at home against an ultra-soft Toledo defense. Now, he goes on the road to face a Utah State team that I admit, looks a lot stronger than what I had it pegged heading into the season. It’s scary to think how many yards and touchdowns USU quarterback Jordan Love is going to hang against one of FBS’s worst stop units.
Ohio State at Nebraska
CRIS Opener: Ohio State -14
CRIS Current: Ohio State -17
Analysis: The Buckeyes opened -10 back when the Golden Nugget posted its Game of the Year lines. It’s hard not to cover a point spread when you produce nearly 700 yards of offense — and even harder when the opposition gains only 299 — but that’s exactly what happened to Nebraska last week in its 42-38 win over Illinois. And in reality, the Cornhuskers were fortunate to come away with the straight up victory. I mentioned on Twitter that Nebraska reminds me of those Jim Leavitt coached USF teams; lots of talent, speed, and stupidity. The Cornhuskers simply have a difficult time getting out of their own way. And it doesn’t hurt that Ohio State has looked extremely good thus far. I still feel that this line is inflated but that theory is predicated on Nebraska playing a clean football game — something that isn’t a given. Since Scott Frost arrived on campus, the Cornhuskers have 33 giveaways in only 16 games.
Houston at North Texas
CRIS Opener: Houston -2.5
CRIS Current: North Texas -6.5
Analysis: It usually takes until October before we start to see teams take a knee on the season. Houston appears already there as quarterback D’Eriq King and wide receiver Keith Corbin are sitting the remainder of the year in order to preserve their eligibility. Backup quarterback Clayton Tune played some last year; most of which came in a 52-31 loss to Memphis and 70-14 loss to Army. This is an unfortunate situation from my standpoint because as I mentioned on last week’s BettorIQ Podcast, North Texas is a great bet on team right now. We saw the markets try to fade the Mean Green last week and they delivered their best showing of the season; a 45-3 win over UTSA. I’d actually prefer King and Corbin playing and +2.5 with North Texas rather than -6.5 though as mentioned, I don’t think we’re going to see much in the way of “fight” from the Cougars the rest of the year.
UCLA at Arizona
CRIS Opener: Arizona -7
CRIS Current: Arizona -7.5
Analysis: Nothing more needs to be said about UCLA’s historical comeback vs. Washington State. The question is, how do they respond? The Bruins were done no scheduling favors but is one well played half of football enough to erase the fact that they scored 14 points in three straight games? Plus you have Arizona coming in off of a bye week and a semi-impressive win over Texas Tech. Both Sumlin and Kelly have plenty of “clown” in them meaning you pick the outcome of Saturday’s game and I wouldn’t be shocked.
Andrew Lange is off to a tremendous 9-5 64% +5.4 unit start to the college football season including BEST BET winners in three of four weeks. Get Week 5’s selections exclusively at BettorIQ!