Each week, I use this space to tell you what I think are a few of the best bets heading into the weekend. I will also throw in an upset of the week, which will feature a team that is at least a touchdown underdog that I am picking to win outright. I will also give you picks on other games involving potential College Football Playoff teams. Just about everybody is technically a CFP candidate this early in the season, so for the first few weeks, at least, I'll go with teams currently ranked within the top 12 of the AP Top 25.
Unfortunately, we have our first week where weather could impact the ability of teams to play their games as Hurricane Ian hits the East Coast. Teams have already begun to announce alternate plans for their scheduled games, and you can track the changes as they are announced at this link here.
I got back on track last week. My Week 4 picks were 2-1 with a near miss on the upset special, which is now 1-2 winning outright but has covered all three times. Here are this week's picks.
Week 5 Picks
No. 17 Texas A&M at Mississippi State
Texas A&M wins games by shutting down the opposition and hoping its offense can manage enough points to win. The Aggies have an average score of 18-16 in their three FBS games so far. Now, they are without their top receiver Ainias Smith, who is out for the season with a leg injury suffered last week. Mississippi State's offense has not really been tested yet, but the Bulldogs only managed 16 points on the road at LSU. The total in this game is trending down but it is still too high. Pick: Under 44.5
Illinois at Wisconsin
These are arguably the two Big Ten teams most committed to the running game outside of Minnesota. Only the Golden Gophers have run the ball more times than Illinois this season, while Wisconsin has thrown the fewest passes of any Big Ten team. This might not quite have the feel of a matchup between service academies, but the clock should move quickly and points will be hard to come by. Pick: Under 43.5
Purdue at No. 21 Minnesota
Sometimes, one team just has the other team's number. That is the case in this series, where the Golden Gophers have won eight of the last nine. This time, Purdue is banged up and could be without its starting quarterback, running back, second-best receiver and top defensive player. The Boilermakers are also one of the most penalized teams in the FBS and, in particular, their defense has already committed eight penalties with automatic first downs to keep opponents' drives alive. The Gophers are rolling and will likely continue that roll this week. Pick: Minnesota -12
Upset of the Week
San Diego State at Boise State
This game features two offenses that are struggling. Boise State's offense has gotten so bad that the Broncos fired their offensive coordinator this week and their starting quarterback, Hank Bachmeier, entered the transfer portal. The Aztecs have yet to score more than 20 points against FBS competition, but they may not need to score much to spring an upset here. Pick: San Diego State +6, +222 ML
Other CFP candidates
- No. 1 Georgia (-28) at Missouri Pick: Under 62
- No. 2 Alabama (-17.5) at No. 20 Arkansas Pick: Alabama
- Rutgers at No. 3 Ohio State (O/U 59) Pick: Over 59
- No. 4 Michigan (-10.5) at Iowa Pick: Michigan
- No. 10 NC State at No. 5 Clemson (-6.5) Pick: Clemson
- Arizona State at No. 6 USC (-26) at Oregon State Pick: USC
- No. 7 Kentucky (+6.5) at No. 14 Mississippi Pick: Kentucky
- No. 9 Oklahoma State (+2.5) at No.16 Baylor Pick: Baylor
- No. 20 Florida at No. 11 Tennessee (-11) Pick: Florida
- Northwestern at No. 11 Penn State (-26.5) Pick: Penn State
- Oregon State at No. 12 Utah (-10.5) Pick: Oregon State
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 5, and which top-10 favorite will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned more than $3,100 in profit over the past six-plus seasons -- and find out.