NCAA

College Football Best Bets: Top 5 Against the Spread Picks For Week 5

The Wisconsin Badgers crushed the Michigan Wolverines last Saturday, solidifying themselves as a legitimate Big Ten contender and leaving the Wolverines wondering if the Jim Harbaugh experiment has failed. The Badgers haven’t given us any reason not to believe in them across their 3-0 straight up and against the spread start to the season, so we’ll be kicking things off with them.

Wisconsin Badgers -24, vs. Northwestern Wildcats

Through the first three games of 2019, Wisconsin has outscored its opponents 145 to 14; and Michigan’s 14 points in last Saturday’s 35-14 Badgers win came after Wisconsin was already up 35-0. The Badgers are thoroughly dominating on both offense and defense, led by running back Jonathan Taylor who has 440 rushing yards and 10 total touchdowns thus far.

Northwestern has historically played Wisconsin tough, but this year’s team is off to a 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS season due in large part to an offense that is averaging only 15.7 points per game. Even if the Wildcats play well on defense, their offense won’t be able to keep this one close.

Clemson Tigers -27, at North Carolina Tar Heels

Trevor Lawrence should lead the Tigers to another big win
Trevor Lawrence should lead the Tigers to another big win | Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Clemson is a perfect 19-0 SU over its last 19 games, and over its last 14 games the Tigers are 11-3 ATS. Over the course of that 14-game stretch, Clemson has outscored its opponents by an average of 35 points per game.

North Carolina is trending in the right direction under new head coach Mack Brown, but the Tar Heels aren’t ready to be competitive in a game like this. Expect another Tigers blowout.

Notre Dame -11.5, vs. Virginia Cavaliers

Notre Dame looked good in a respectable 23-17 road loss to the Georgia Bulldogs as 16-point underdogs. The Fighting Irish still have a slim chance of making the playoffs if they win the rest of their games, starting with a matchup against the 4-0 SU and 2-1-1 ATS Virginia Cavaliers this Saturday.

If the Fighting Irish want to keep their playoff hopes alive, they will need to earn style points in a game like this against a ranked opponent. They should be gunning for a blowout in this one, and while the score isn’t likely to get completely out of hand, Notre Dame’s strong defense should be able to keep Virginia in check and lead the team to a double-digit win at home.

USC Trojans +10.5, at Washington Huskies

The USC Trojans running onto the field before their upset win over the Utah Utes
The USC Trojans running onto the field before their upset win over the Utah Utes | Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The USC Trojans are down to their third-string quarterback, but that may not be a problem with the way that Matt Fink played against Utah last week. Make no mistake about it; the Huskies are a significantly better team than the Trojans. But Washington is also just 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games against Pac-12 opponents.

USC has looked competitive across its 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS start to the season. An outright upset is unlikely, but keeping the game close is certainly within reason.

Washington State +6, at Utah Utes

An outright upset feels a lot more likely in Washington State’s road game against the Utah Utes this Saturday. Bettors might feel a bit nervous about trusting the Cougars after they gave up 67 points to spoil Anthony Gordon’s nine-touchdown game last week. But let’s not forget that the offense scored 63 points, and Utah’s defense struggled against USC’s spread attack last Saturday.

The Cougars are one of the few teams that have enjoyed consistent success against Utah in recent seasons with a 4-0 SU and ATS record in their last four games against the Utes. Six points are too many to pass up on here.