College Football Dogs: Week 5 Bets And Predictions
LB looks at some huge underdogs in crucial ACC and SEC match-ups with three Top 15 games in CFB Week 5
Oh boy. I told you Notre Dame would light up Wisconsin and they did exactly that. I’ve been saying for weeks that Clemson are overrated and they duly lost to NC State. Two comfortable bets up ATS as well as +200 and +300 moneyline wins meant last weekend was very profitable. The big name schools continue to lay points and we’ll happily hoover up the underdogs.
This weekend it is a question of quality over quantity, or at least size over quantity. There are two huge underdogs that I really like, and both are picking up more than 2 TDs on the road to teams that made last season’s College Football Playoffs. When I look at these games individually I can see both road teams winning but when I take a step back it looks like quite an ask. Lets dive in.
Boston College @ Clemson
Clemson fell for their second loss of the season against North Carolina State, 27-21 in Raleigh, after double overtime. This game was not close. Or at least it should not have been close. How Clemson managed to get that far is simply beyond me. They had two scoring opportunities (drives that go beyond the opponent’s 40 yards line) and scored two TDs. That was it. Every other possession ended in a punt, bar one, when DJ threw an interception. The Tigers converted just two of eleven third downs and managed just 214 yards of total offense. It was comical that NC State was +300 here and the nature of the win made victory all the sweeter.
Boston College went to overtime too in Week Four, beating a middle-of-the-road Mizzou, to keep their perfect record intact. BC are many people’s dark horses in the ACC and this is their chance to lay down a landmark performance. They are a whopping 14.5 point dogs here and honestly if this game was in Boston I would make them favourites. This will be the toughest game of their schedule to date, but BC have been knocking on this door for some time. They lost by less than a score to both #12 NC State and #1 Clemson last season despite being massive underdogs in both games. In fact, they were 26 point outsiders at Clemson in 2020 and lost by just six, after coughing up a touchdown, a fumble, an interception and a safety – all in the last quarter!
A Incomprehensible Line
Clemson are all over the place this season and their 2-2 record includes a late 14-8 win against Georgia Tech, currently lingering around #72 in the CBS/NCAAF rankings. Two scores against GT, two scores against NC State and a field goal against Georgia. That is all the Tigers have managed in 3 hours of football against FBS schools but somehow they are more than two TD favourites against BC? I just do not understand it. I think Boston College will win this game outright but I’ll eat my hat if they lose by more than two scores.
The only reason I am not putting the house on this one is the huge outpouring of emotion after the Eagles OT win last week. The crowd stormed the field and I often worry that the occasion can get to these young players. That being said, I am still very hot on BC this week. This game will mean so much more to Boston, they have the talent and are playing to a much higher level.
Ole Miss @ Alabama
This fixture last season was one of the most entertaining games of college football I have ever seen. There was nearly 1,400 yards of total offense, 111 points and 14 consecutive scoring drives to finish the game. There was only four non-scoring drives in the entire thing. It was an astounding spectacle. So buckle up for a disappointing, boring game this week!
Alabama are not as good as they were last season. That is an indisputable fact. They were lucky to come away from the Swamp with a win in Week Three and at some point things will not go their way. The question here is whether or not Ole Miss are as good as last season. Personally, I think they might be better. The Rebels are 3-0 (having enjoyed a rest last weekend) but, admittedly, those wins have come against Louisville, Austin Peay and Tulane. Those schools are hardly world beaters, but only Tulane managed to score against the Rebels before garbage time.
I am honestly not sure yet if Lane Kiffin and his staff have given Ole Miss a defense yet. If the Rebels can stop ‘Bama scoring on a couple of drives I think they win this straight up. Their offense is rocking and they are averaging over 50 PPG against FBS schools.
Alabama Are Regular Winners
Going against ‘Bama can feel like walking out into traffic with your eyes closed. They are 61-3 in the regular season going back to 2016. They only have one post season loss in that time too. The reversals came against LSU (Joe Burrow), Auburn (Bo Nix) and Clemson (Trevor Lawrence) – all teams with high ceiling, electric QBs. Is Matt Corral at that level? Only time will tell, but considering the flood of money that has come for him to win the Heisman (into +160 from +50,000 in the summer) I’m willing to take a chance.
Mercer and Southern Miss each hit the Crimson Tide for 2 receiving TDs and Florida caused them some serious problems when they had the mettle to go for it. Miami barely threw the ball in the first half and still nearly got 200 air yards in Week One. None of these have the talent at QB that compares to Matt Corral and Mississippi has the ability to light up this ‘Bama secondary.
The Tide will eventually turn and at 5/1 moneyline and +14.5 ATS I’m willing to bet it will happen this weekend.
Side note: the total in this game is 80 points. That is the highest line I can remember and is ludicrous in its own right. Obviously it is still well below the total from last season but the over here does not tempt me. Generally, only a fool would bet the under when these two teams take to the field but I have a feeling Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss might surprise us all. The best way to stop the Tide is to keep the ball and chew up the clock. Going toe-to-toe with ‘Bama almost never works and Kiffin has been targeting this game all year.
Cincinnati @ Notre Dame
When this line opened with Cincy as road favourites I was all over the Fighting Irish. My mantra was “if the bookies keep making the Irish underdogs we’ll keep backing them”. I have since cooled on that. The Bearcats opened as 1.5 point favourites. Then 85% of the bets came for Notre Dame but the line moved against the Irish to 2 or even 2.5 in some places. I am always suspicious when this happens. Maybe the continued disrespect of Brian Kelly and his charges is the cause but my worry is the bookies know something I don’t. This should be a low scoring defensive game and my heart says ND, but my head say walk away.
— SportsRunDown (@S_R_DOfficial) September 25, 2021
Arkansas @ Georgia
A moneyline upset here would put a big ol’ smile on my face but I can’t see it. Georgia have done nothing but impress this season. That being said, 18.5 points against an Arkansas side that bulldozed the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M looks way too high. There are injury worries about KJ Jefferson and if is fit then who knows what these Razorbacks can achieve here. If is doesn’t play or isn’t fully fit then risk the 18.5 and leave it at that.
Auburn @ LSU
What a game this will be. Auburn’s mercurial Bo Nix started this season on fire. He was great in two opening wins and impressed against Penn State in a loss that had nothing to do with him. Then came Georgia State. The Panthers are one of the poorest teams around and Bo Nix made them look like the Dallas Cowboys. Auburn were 24-12 down in the third quarter having not scored a single TD. Nix completed just 13 of 27 attempts before being replaced by TJ Finley. Who will start at LSU is anybody’s guess. The confusion around QB might even help Auburn as it will hamper LSU’s preparation.
You could say LSU look to have turned the corner. Three wins on the bounce has helped banish memories of the UCLA debacle but I am not so sure they are all that improved. They were somewhat lucky to come away with the win last week and are still very weak on the ground.
In fact, I expect this game will be settled by the rush. Auburn are phenomenal on the ground and if their running game starts well LSU are doomed. They will be forced to defend the line and leave themselves open to Nix or Finley through the air. Miss State racked up 486 yards of total offense against LSU last week (for that very reason) and Auburn should prove too strong.
Arizona @ UCLA
I’m a bit upset because I was meant to be at this game. UCLA excised some ghosts last week and will lay down a marker here. They are 3 point home favourites and should cover that comfortably.
Oregon @ Standford
Standford were brought back down to earth by UCLA last week and the win over USC could feel like a distant memory come Sunday night. We haven’t spoken much about #3 Oregon here but they are formidable. They might not be as flashy as Alabama or get the hype that Georgia do but they would give any team in the SEC a run for their money. The 8 points they are laying to Stanford here will be covered with ease.
Best of the Rest
There are so many more great games this weekend and we cannot go into all in such detail. Virginia (+5.5) are as unpredictable as the Irish weather but they have more than enough talent to beat Miami on Thursday night. Utah State (+8.5) are home underdogs on Friday night and that alone is enough to back them. In fact it might be the only reason to back them! Maryland are also home dogs on Friday but I’m not sure why the line is so low. Iowa (-3.5) are the real deal with two Top 25 wins this season. Oklahoma @ Kansas State is an interesting match-up. If Skylar Thompson was playing this would be a guaranteed moneyline upset. Without him I’m going to pass, although 16/5 is very tempting.
Boston College @ Clemson – BC moneyline win @ 5/1
Boston College @ Clemson – BC + 14.5 Points @ 10/11 2U
Ole Miss @ Alabama – Ole Miss moneyline win @ 5/1
Ole Miss @ Alabama – Ole Miss + 14.5 Points @ 10/11
Auburn @ LSU – Auburn moneyline win @ 31/20
Auburn @ LSU – Auburn + 4 @ 10/11 2U
Arkansas @ Georgia – Arkansas + 18.5 @ 10/11
25/1 Parlay of Oregon (-8), Iowa (-3.5), UCLA (-3), Virginia (+5.5) and UTAH State (+8.5). 0.5U
Moneyline Trixie of Boston College, Ole Miss and Auburn (up to 95/1). 0.25U