Week 5 of the college football season features four matchups between teams ranked in the latest AP Top 25.
The SEC has a pair of blockbuster matchups this weekend. No. 2 Georgia meets No. 8 Arkansas at 12 p.m. in an unexpected top-10 showdown. No. 1 Alabama welcomes No. 12 Ole Miss at 3:30 p.m. ET in the latest installment of Nick Saban vs. Lane Kiffin.
That is in the same window as another top-10 showdown between No. 7 Cincinnati and No. 9 Notre Dame, a game with huge College Football Playoff implications. Surprise Big 12 unbeatens No. 19 Oklahoma State and No. 21 Baylor meet in prime-time.
This is the most-loaded weekend of the season so far and a chance to improve our record against the spread:
- Straight up: 61-14 (17-3 in Week 4)
- Against the spread: 32-43 (9-11 in Week 4)
- Upsets: 4-1 (1-0 in Week 4)
With that in mind, a look at this week’s picks:
Week 5 picks against the spread
Friday, Oct. 1
No. 5 Iowa (-3.5) at Maryland (8 p.m., FS1)
Taulia Tagovailoa has led the Terps to a surprising 4-0 start, and they won the last home meeting against the Hawkeyes in 2014. Iowa, however, hasn’t allowed more than 17 points in a game this season. That over (48.5) is enticing, too.
Pick: Iowa wins 31-26 and COVERS the spread.
No. 13 BYU (-8.5) at Utah State (9 p.m., CBSSN)
Jaren Hall (ribs) might return this week, but Baylor Romney proved a capable backup against South Florida. The Cougars are 0-2 ATS as a favorite this season, and the Aggies have been in some shoutouts. Utah State can be loose with the football, too.
Pick: BYU wins 35-23 and COVERS the spread.
Saturday, Oct. 2
No. 8 Arkansas at No. 2 Georgia (-18.5) (12 p.m., ESPN)
The Bulldogs are 3-1 ATS this season and have allowed just 23 points. The Razorbacks are 4-0 ATS, and that includes two covers as an underdog. Georgia trailed Arkansas 7-5 at halftime last season before the Bulldogs blew the game open. We think Arkansas can compete for four quarters in this one, even if it’s at arm’s length.
Pick: Georgia wins 30-13 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 14 Michigan at Wisconsin (-0.5) (12 p.m., FOX)
It’s a pick-em, and with good reason. Wisconsin has two losses and has struggled in the passing game, but their run defense will test Michigan. The Wolverines have not won at Wisconsin since 2001. Michigan is 0-12 S/U as an underdog under Jim Harbaugh since 2015. They break the streak in a slugest.
Pick: Michigan wins 23-20 in an UPSET.
Louisville at No. 24 Wake Forest (-6.5) (12:30 p.m.)
The Demon Deacons are ranked, but the Cardinals have bounced back nicely from the season-opening loss to Ole Miss. Malik Cunningham makes the difference with another standout performance for the Cards on the road.
Pick: Louisville wins 34-31 in an UPSET.
No. 7 Cincinnati (-2.5) at No. 9 Notre Dame (2:30 p.m. NBC)
The Bearcats have an opportunity to pick up a huge road win, and they will challenge the Irish with the combination of Desmond Ridder and Jerome Ford. The Irish, however, erupted in the fourth quarter against Wisconsin and will play up as an underdog again.
Pick: Notre Dame wins 27-24 in an UPSET.
UL-Monroe at No. 16 Coastal Carolina (-34.5) (2:30 p.m., ESPN+)
If the Bearcats lose, then the Chanticleers will become the Group of 5 darling. Coastal Carolina has been favored by double digits in every game, and they are 3-1 ATS. The Warhawks are 3-0 S/U in this series.
Pick: Coastal Carolina wins 48-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 12 Ole Miss at No. 1 Alabama (-14.5) (3:30 p.m., CBS)
The line hasn’t moved much, and Ole Miss had an extra week to prepare for the Crimson Tide. This shootout between Bryce Young and Matt Corral should be fun. The Crimson Tide are 9-3 ATS with a rest disadvantage in the CFP era, but we think that half-point hook is enough to take Ole Miss.
Pick: Alabama wins 44-33 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 3 Oregon (-8.5) at Stanford (3:30 p.m., ABC)
This used to be the big game in the Pac-12. The Cardinal have been a hit-or-miss team, and the line has jumped two points as a result. This is Oregon’s first game as a single-digit favorite, and they take advantage with another victory on the road.
Pick: Oregon wins 31-20 and COVERS the spread.
No. 6 Oklahoma (-10.5) at Kansas State (3:30 p.m., FOX)
The Wildcats have won the last two meetings, and Oklahoma’s offense has been stuck in neutral the last two weeks. K-State is coming off a loss against Oklahoma State, but the Wildcats are 6-2 ATS as a home underdog under Chris Klieman.
Pick: Oklahoma wins 33-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 11 Ohio State (-15.5) at Rutgers (3:30 p.m., BTN)
The Buckeyes rank second in the FBS with 559.3 yards per game, and the defense bounced back with eight sacks against Akron. Rutgers is an improved team under Greg Schiano, but the Scarlet Knights’ closest loss to the Buckeyes since joining the Big Ten is 22 points. Ohio State makes a statement to the rest of the Big Ten East.
Pick: Ohio State wins 45-17 and COVERS the spread.
No. 10 Florida (-8.5) at Kentucky (6 p.m., ESPN)
Kentucky is 4-0 and will look to beat the Gators in Lexington for the first time since 1986. The Gators are 1-2 ATS as a favorite this season, but this is the first single-digit spread. Florida’s defense makes a difference late, and the Wildcats lose another heart-breaker at home.
Pick: Florida wins 28-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Louisiana Tech at No. 23 N.C. State (-19.5) (6 p.m., ESPN+)
N.C. State coach Dave Doeren will have to guard against the hangover game after beating Clemson, and that’s going to be tough. Louisiana Tech lost to Mississippi State and SMU by a combined total of three points. Take those points.
Pick: N.C. State wins 30-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Mississippi State at No. 15 Texas A&M (-8.5) (7 p.m., SECN)
Mississippi State lost a pair of heart-breakers to Memphis and LSU, and now they travel to face an Aggies’ team looking to bounce back after a loss to Arkansas. Texas A&M has won the last two meetings in convincing fashion, but this feels like a dogfight given the inconsistent offenses.
Pick: Texas A&M wins 29-23 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 21 Baylor at No. 19 Oklahoma State (-3.5) (7 p.m., ESPN2)
Surprise Big 12 unbeatens match up in prime time. The Bears lead the Big 12 with 273.3 rushing yards per game, and they will be motivated after losing 42-3 to the Cowboys last season. We’re still trusting the home team in a coin-flip game. Oklahoma State has won three one-score games this year. Make it four.
Pick: Oklahoma State wins 30-23 and COVERS the spread.
Indiana at No. 4 Penn State (-10.5) (7:30 p.m., ABC)
The Hoosiers beat Penn State in a 36-35 thriller last season, and chances are nobody in Happy Valley has forgotten about that. Indiana enters a brutal part of the schedule, and this just hasn’t been the same team as last year.
Pick: Penn State wins 34-17 and COVERS the spread.
Western Kentucky at No. 17 Michigan State (-9.5) (7:30 p.m., BTN)
Michigan State continues to surprise with star running back Kenneth Walker III, and this line looks low. The Hilltoppers are 3-0 ATS, but the defense allows 224.7 rushing yards per game. The Spartans roll with that.
Pick: Michigan State wins 35-20 and COVERS the spread.
Boston College at No. 25 Clemson (-15.5) (7:30 p.m., ACCN)
The Tigers are 0-4 ATS but remain double-digit favorites against Boston College, a team that had a double-digit lead on the Tigers at halftime last season. Boston College is 4-0 and will come in playing with a lot of confidence. Everybody in the ACC thinks they have a shot at Clemson until the Tigers blow somebody out. We’ll have to wait another week.
Pick: Clemson wins 31-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 22 Auburn at LSU (-3.5) (9 p.m., ESPN)
Auburn must weather a trip to Death Valley at night, and it’s a place where they haven’t won since 1999. That’s a lot of history to overcome, and LSU has picked up the pieces since the Week 2 loss at UCLA. Who made Auburn’s schedule again?
Pick: LSU wins 27-20 and COVERS the spread.
Arizona State at No. 20 UCLA (-3.5) (10:30 p.m., FS1)
The Bruins have won the last two meetings, and this is a game that could determine the winner of the Pac-12 South. The Sun Devils have the top defense in the Pac-12, however, and Jayden Daniels learns from the loss at BYU. Stay up late for this one. It will be worth it.
Pick: Arizona State wins 31-30 in an UPSET.
No. 18 Fresno State (-10.5) at Hawaii (11 p.m., CBSSN)
The Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS, and Jake Haener continues to get more attention with each victory. Hawaii has committed 11 turnovers this season and a hit-or-miss passing attack. Fresno State caps a fun week with a late cover.
Pick: Fresno State wins 36-22 and COVERS the spread.