College Football Betting Pace Report: Week 5 Over/Unders to Watch, Including Michigan vs. Iowa & West Virginia vs. Texas
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Michigan Wolverines’ offensive line (left) and the Iowa Hawkeyes’ defensive line (right).
Week 4 is in the books after some crazy comebacks and upsets. Week 5 features five ranked matchups, which is the most in a single week since 2017. So, buckle up because college football is about to be insane on Saturday.
Since we have four weeks of pace data now on all 131 FBS teams, it's time to finally time to unveil it to the masses.
Using those metrics, along with a look at the weather and key injuries, the goal is to hopefully help bettors beat the market before Friday and Saturday morning.
Now, let's dive into a great Week 5 slate.
Michigan vs. Iowa
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Here we are again. Iowa hosts another top-five team at Kinnick Stadium, and things have not gone well for the visitors since 2008.
In Iowa's last 6 home games against AP top-5 foes:
2008 vs. 3. Penn State, W 24-23
2010 vs. 5. Michigan State, W 37-6
2016 vs. 2. Michigan, W 14-13
2017 vs. 4. Penn State, L 21-19
2017 vs. 3. Ohio State, W 55-24
2021 vs. 4. Penn State, W 23-20
This week, No. 4 Michigan
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 26, 2022
This is also a rematch of last year's Big Ten Championship game — one that Michigan completely dominated, 42-3.
Michigan has a ton of holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. It obviously lost Aidan Hutchinson but also defensive tackle Chris Hinton.
A defensive line that ranked top-20 in Defensive Line Yards last season will regress, and Hutchinson's 14 sacks won't be easy to replace.
The Wolverines also lost their top two linebackers in David Ojabo and Josh Ross, who combined for 141 tackles, 11.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. On top of the losses in the front seven, three secondary starters are gone.
Even with all of those losses in production, Michigan has the second-best defensive grade in college football, per PFF. The highest defensive grade in college football, you ask? Well, that would be the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Highest graded defences through four weeks this season:
🌽 Iowa: 93.5
〽️ Michigan: 93.1 pic.twitter.com/G5eosBQ90p
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 27, 2022
The Michigan offense has had the benefit of playing some of the worst defenses in college football to start the season. Putting up 7.4 yards per play against Colorado State, Hawaii, Connecticut and Maryland really isn't that impressive.
Additionally, Jim Harbaugh and new co-offensive coordinators Matt Weiss and Sherrone Moore are playing really slow and run-heavy. The Wolverines run a play every 28.01 seconds, which is 104th in the country, and are carrying the ball on 59% of their offensive plays.
Now, a lot of that has to do with the fact they've been blowing teams out, but establishing a consistent ground game is how you beat Iowa's defense. Trying to throw for big plays on the Hawkeyes' secondary is a death sentence.
People will call it "turnover luck" and says that Iowa is due for "regression." That's true, but dating back to the start of last season, Iowa is allowing only 5.9 yards per attempt and ranks top-10 in passing explosiveness allowed.
So even if the Hawkeyes don't snag the turnovers, teams are still struggling mightily to move the ball through the air. It's also why the Iowa defense has given up just two offensive touchdowns in four games.
As for the Iowa offense — it's bad. The Hawkeyes are gaining only 4.4 yards per play and rank 130th in EPA/Play. They also play at a slower pace than Michigan at 28.10 seconds per play. So, this is going to truly be a defensive slugfest.
I only have 35.7 points projected for this game, so I like the value on under 42.5 points.
Pick: Under 42.5
West Virginia vs. Texas
|West Virginia Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
I regret to inform you that Texas is not back. The Longhorns fell in overtime to Texas Tech last weekend despite having an 84% post-game win expectancy.
The question for Texas surrounds Quinn Ewers' availability. It was announced after the Alabama game that the earliest he could return is Oct. 8. But he dressed for the game against Texas Tech last weekend, and some of his teammates might be hinting at an early return.
Texas TE Ja'Tavion Sanders was asked if he feels like Quinn Ewers is ready to go this week:
"I feel like he is honestly. Quinn's a tough player for sure. I feel like if he was to come back this week, he's gonna be ready for sure."
— Joe Cook (@josephcook89) September 26, 2022
Whether it's Ewers or Hudson Card under center, this Texas offense should be able to break off a lot of big plays.
Bijan Robinson did have a dull game against Alabama, but he's already averaging 6.1 yards per attempt, has an 82.4 PFF rushing grade and has posted 11 rushes of 10-plus yards. West Virginia's front seven ranks 118th in rushing explosiveness allowed, so Texas should break off some big runs.
The Texas passing attack has actually been really effective even with Card playing 2.5 games. The Longhorns sit 11th in Passing Success Rate and are going up against a West Virginia secondary that ranks 78th in Passing Success Rate Allowed.
JT Daniels has been solid in his new home in Morgantown. Through four games, he has a 77.6 PFF passing grade and is averaging 7.2 yards per attempt.
He does have one of the best receivers in the Big 12 to throw to, as Bryce Ford-Wheaton has become his go-to receiver by commanding 33.83% of the targets. Ford-Wheaton already has 319 receiving yards and four touchdowns with a 78.4 PFF receiving grade.
Bryce Ford-Wheaton = a DB’s worst nightmare pic.twitter.com/zWBQQ4rSc7
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) September 2, 2022
Texas' secondary has been quite awful to begin the season, ranking 87th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 88th in EPA/Pass Allowed.
Texas plays at an above-average pace at 24.8 seconds per play, whereas West Virginia plays around the national average. However, if the Mountaineers fall behind early, they're going to be forced to play at a faster pace.
I have 68 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 61.5 points.
Pick: Over 61.5
UAB vs. Rice
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
This total is a little too low for me, and a lot of it has to do with UAB's rushing attack.
The Blazers are one of the most rush-heavy offenses that doesn't run a triple option. UAB runs the ball on 68.8% of its offensive plays, but it's incredibly effective and averages 6.2 yards per rush.
One of the lessons I hope everyone gets out of this weekly article is that pace isn't everything when it comes to totals. A lot of it has to do with efficiency.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it — these two teams play slow. UAB takes 30.97 seconds per play, while Rice comes in at 29.07. Both marks are in the bottom 10 of college football.
However, Rice possesses one of the worst run defenses in the country. The Owls allow 6.0 yards per carry and rank in the bottom 10 in nationally in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, rushing explosiveness allowed and Defensive Line Yards.
UAB star running back DeWayne McBride, who had a 90.5 PFF rushing grade and led college football with 4.72 yards after contact per attempt, is back and already torching defenses. He has put up a combined 395 rushing yards against Liberty and Georgia Southern.
Rice actually has a decent rushing attack. It brought back star running back Ari Broussard, who averaged 4.9 yards per carry a season ago. The Owls sit 24th in the country in EPA/Rush.
UAB's rush defense has been pretty bad in its two games against FBS opponents, allowing 5.5 yards per carry and ranking 99th in EPA/Rush Allowed. A lot of that has to do with the fact it lost three starters on the defensive line.
Even though these two play at a slow pace, I don't see how either defense is going to slow down the run game. I have 64.1 points projected, so I think there's tremendous value on over 51.5 points.
Pick: Over 51.5