Another Saturday CFB slate is here and we are getting fully into conference play. That means competitive games and lower spreads pretty much across the country. There are a few top-25 matchups on the schedule, as well as some spots for potential upsets for some ranked teams.
There is a full DFS slate to breakdown so make sure to check out the DFS Week 5 College Football article, where we will talk about some individual players that you may want to roster on Saturday. This article is going to focus on a few games from a betting perspective and where I am leaning in the betting market.
SMU at South Florida 4 PM EST : SMU -7.5 O/U 62.5
Conference game in the American as 4-0 SMU goes to 1-2 South Florida and hopes to stay undefeated. Both teams are hard to read and this is an interesting game to breakdown.
SMU has found something at quaretrback with former Texas signal-caller Shane Buechele taking over and getting this offense in rhythm. So far this season, SMU is averaging over 40 points per game and doesn’t seem to be afraid to get into a shootout. Offensively, it is a balanced attack for the Mustangs and they will test this South Florida defense and force them to defend across multiple positions.
Defensively, they certainly don’t look strong as they have allowed multiple teams to move the ball effectively. In the last game, TCU hung 38 on them and gashed them on the ground, which is something to monitor going forward. SMU is either going to have to shore up their defense or hope that Buechele can continue to keep this offense as high powered as possible.
South Florida is a wildcard as their lone victory came against FCS South Carolina State, which means next to nothing. In two games against better competition, they got dismantled 42-0 by Wisconsin and lost 14-10 to an average Georgia Tech team. I’d be lying if I said I have a ton of confidence in head coach Charlie Strong, but this is a roster that does have plenty of talent.
After a horrible start to the season, the Bulls decided to turn to freshman quarterback Jordan McCloud and so far, so good. Now, we have to take it with a grain of salt as he did most of his work against South Carolina State, so this will present a much tougher test. Keep an eye on if original starter Blake Barnett is to be involved at all as South Florida seems like they aren’t divulging much info on the subject. No matter who is under center, they will have plenty of home run play-makers around them as South Florida has speed across this entire offense.
This is a tricky spot for SMU, who hasn’t left Texas yet this season and comes off a road game at TCU. Now they head to South Florida against a team that has been resting as the Bulls were on a bye in Week 4. The new quarterback should provide a jump start for the offense, and with the talent they possess they are an extremely dangerous dog sitting at +7.5. If Charlie Strong can avoid terrible decisions, I lean to the home team here, despite the discrepancy in records and will take the points in this one.
My Pick: South Florida +7.5
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Mississippi State at Auburn 7 PM EST : Auburn -10 O/U 46.5
SEC battle between 3-1 Mississippi State and seventh-ranked 4-0 Auburn Tigers. This is a game Auburn clearly can’t mess around with as they have their sights set on SEC Championship and possibly trying to be a dark horse to get into the playoff.
Mississippi State’s lone loss this season was two weeks ago when Kansas State came into Starkville and grabbed an upset 31-24 victory. Expectations weren’t sky high for this Mississippi State team given some of the key losses they suffered from 2018. Specifically, this defense really sent some big names to the NFL and it wasn’t hard to imagine there being a drop off in production.
The good news for the Bulldogs is quarterback Tommy Stevens looks to be ready to return after a one-game absence with a bad shoulder. The former Penn State player is their best shot to be able to hang in against what is a top D-line from Auburn. Points are going to be at a premium and offensively, it could be a long day if Mississippi State can’t provide protection or get a push up front.
So far the Tigers have two impressive wins on the resume as they’ve beaten Oregon and Texas A&M. They sit at 4-0, and although I don’t actually think they can hang with LSU or Alabama, they will get their chance soon enough. Freshman quarterback Bo Nix is coming along and they have enough around him to keep him in advantageous situations. The other benefit is their defense is fast, athletic and have the ability to totally dominate most teams’ offensive lines. That makes life easier for every other aspect of this team and so far it’s been enough to maintain the perfect record.
Auburn should dominate the line of scrimmage and I think Mississippi State is in for a rough SEC season. They don’t have the talent and it doesn’t help they play some of the best teams in the country. Mississippi St hasn’t been on the road so far this season, so that is another issue they will be facing this week. To me, Auburn will cruise to victory at home, and as long as they avoid turnovers, they can cover this -10 spread.
My Pick: Auburn -10
Stanford at Oregon State 7 PM EST : Stanford -4, O/U 57.5
PAC-12 battle between two team that look to have more questions than answers so far this season. Neither are relevant on the national stage, but there is some value in this game when we look at where the line sits.
Stanford is a mess this season with a defense that isn’t up to the usual Cardinal standard. In their defense, they’ve played four quality teams so far with their lone win coming in the opener against Northwestern. They are already 0-2 in the conference with losses to USC and Oregon and they seem to really be searching for an identity.
As if Stanford didn’t have enough problems, they are also very banged up with quarterback K.J. Costello currently questionable with a hand injury. They have a number of other contributors, all with questionable tags, so they could be thin across the board in this game against Oregon State.
Oregon State had the lowest expectations for any PAC-12 team coming into the season. They sit at 1-2 in 2019 with losses against Oklahoma State and Hawaii and the lone victory against FCS Cal Poly. I will say, Oregon State hung in for most of the game against Oklahoma State, finally losing 52-36, and came up just short against Hawaii 31-28. They have a competent quarterback in Jake Luton and if RB Jermar Jefferson could return healthy for this game, it would be a big boost (sat against Cal Poly). Oregon State got to rest up during Week 4 as they were idle and that could help them get a little healthier before this game.
Oregon State has been overwhelmed by a talent gap the past few years, but this year that gap has shrunk with some of their play-makers on offense. They still are destined for a sub-.500 finish, but they are a dangerous dog, especially against the lower end PAC-12 teams. Corvallis is never a fun trip as Oregon State always is better at home and they catch a wounded Stanford team at the perfect time. I am calling for the upset here and I think Oregon State has the advantage at home with Stanford unable to find answer on either side of the ball.
My Pick: Oregon State +4 , OSU ML +160
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Good Luck everyone!
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