College Football Week 5 Picks: Best Bets to Cover the Spread This Weekend

Mike HoagCorrespondent IISeptember 27, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 07:  Stephen Morris #17 of the Miami Hurricanes celebrates a touchdown during a game against the Florida Gators at Sun Life Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Last week’s college football action went as planned, but there’s some uncertainty heading into Week 5.

If you’re planning on betting, this week may not be for the faint of heart—or economically challenged. But that isn’t going to stop us, is it? We’ll see what we can do to provide you with some solid picks for this weekend’s action.

First, here’s a table with picks for every Top 25 matchup. Following that, I’ll break down three of the best bets I see out of the bunch.



No. 15 MIAMI (-19) at South Florida

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 21: Luther Robinson #93 of the Miami Hurricanes tackles Jordan Jackson #34 of the Savannah State Tigers on September 21, 2013 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Miami defeated Savannah State 77-7. (Photo by Joel A
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

This one features two teams at the very opposite of the success spectrum. While the Miami Hurricanes have flourished due to a large crop of gifted athletes, the South Florida Bulls have floundered.

Despite being favored twice, in large fashion, the Bulls dropped two of their three games decisively to NCAA “powerhouses” McNeese State and Florida Atlantic. They did cover a 21-point spread against Michigan State in between those two disappointing losses, but it’s hard to get excited about their chances this week.

The Hurricanes are much improved on defense and offense, and they scored a signature win already this season against the Florida Gators. USF is ranking near the bottom of the barrel in every statistical category and will start a new quarterback this weekend. You know what to do.


 Wake Forest at No. 3 CLEMSON (-29)

Wake Forest was beaten by a Louisiana-Monroe team that was annihilated by Oklahoma and utterly dismantled Baylor last week. That’s tough logic to use when heading into a game with a spread this high, but it’s not something to ignore.

RALEIGH, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers during their game at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 19, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Demon Deacons haven’t shown they can score points consistently enough to think they can keep up with Tajh Boyd and Co. at Memorial Stadium. Although they didn’t cover against North Carolina State during a midweek matchup last week, the Tigers are looking great.

Boyd has them ranked third in the country after upsetting Georgia early in the season.  And they’re tougher than any opponent the Deacons have seen to this point. Don’t be surprised if they hang 50-plus points.


No. 25 FRESNO STATE (-18.5) at Hawaii

Sep 20, 2013; Fresno, CA, USA; Fresno State Bulldogs quarterback Derek Carr (4) prepares to throw a pass against the Boise State Broncos in the third quarter at Bulldog Stadium. The Bulldogs defeated the Broncos 41-40. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

No one will confuse the Fresno State Bulldogs as a defensive powerhouse. They’re allowing 38.7 points per game after three contests against Rutgers, Cal Poly and Boise State. That’s not exactly inspiring for a team with 18.5 points to cover on Saturday night.

But where the Bulldogs have struggled, Hawaii has been even worse. The Warriors are averaging just 282 yards and 12 points per game and are winless to begin the 2013 season. They’re averaging a 19.3-point loss but haven’t really let any games get too far away from them.

Prepare for that first blowout. As poor as the Bulldogs have been defensively, they’ve made up for it with a high-powered offense orchestrated by senior quarterback Derek Carr. In three games, Carr has been one of the top passers in the nation, completing 68.9 percent of his throws for 1,121 yards and 12 touchdowns.