College Football Odds & Futures for Week 5: Betting Value on Penn State & Texas Tech?

College Football Odds & Futures for Week 5: Betting Value on Penn State & Texas Tech? article feature image

John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Texas Tech running back Clazarion Campbell.

Another week, another major upset in college football. Seven days after being upset by Tulane at home, Kansas State went into Norman and upset then-No. 6 Oklahoma, 41-34. Kansas State has now beaten the Sooners three times in the last four years.

Oklahoma entered Week 4 as the favorite to win the Big 12, but it now sits third in conference odds. The loss also changed how our Mike Calabrese thinks about the Big 12.

There were a few other close calls as well.

No. 5 Clemson needed double overtime to pull off a 51-45 victory over No. 21 Wake Forest. The Tigers get another tough test this week when it welcomes No. 10 NC State to Death Valley.

Meanwhile, No. 1 Georgia was never in danger of losing, but it did look human for the first time this season. It led Kent State by just six at halftime before ultimately winning, 39-22. The Bulldogs didn’t come close to covering the 44.5-point spread. However, reinforcements may be on the way, as wide receivers AD Mitchell and Arian Smith and star defensive lineman Jalen Carter may be back against Missouri this week.

No. 4 Michigan got all it could handle from Maryland. The Wolverines won, 34-26, though failed to cover as 17-point favorites. They will head to Iowa this Saturday for a rematch of last year’s Big Ten Championship game.

I’m not giving up on my Wolverines. However, does more value lie with a Big Ten East rival in the National Championship picture?

Alex Hinton

National Championship Picture

Penn State to Win National Championship (+8000)

By Alex Hinton

It’s a down season in the Big Ten in terms of overall conference depth.

Michigan State has struggled to maintain its momentum from an 11-win season in 2021. Wisconsin is already 2-2 following its blowout loss to Ohio State, and it’s a weekly struggle for the Badgers to score against Power Five opponents.

Minnesota looks like the best team in the West, outscoring opponents, 183-24, en route to a 4-0 start.

Iowa is 3-1 and has a big opportunity on Saturday when it hosts Michigan. However, like Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes struggle to score and rank 120th in scoring offense at 17 points per game.

However, in the Big Ten East, there are two College Football Playoff contenders with Ohio State and Michigan both ranked in the top four.

It’s time to add Penn State to that list.

The Nittany Lions are 4-0 after defeating Central Michigan, 33-14, on Saturday. They already have two true road wins, outlasting Purdue, 35-31, in West Lafayette and dominating Auburn, 41-12, on the Plains. Penn State now faces Northwestern on Saturday before its bye week.

Then comes a three-game gauntlet that will make or break Penn State’s hopes as a CFP contender. It travels to Michigan on Oct. 15 before hosting Minnesota and Ohio State the following two weeks. I like the Nittany Lions to beat the Golden Gophers at home

When Penn State last won the Big Ten in 2016, it also had Michigan on the road — which it lost — while it beat Ohio State at home in its White Out game. That year, Penn State won the East Division because of the head-to-head tiebreaker with Ohio State.

If PSU splits with Michigan and Ohio State, it can put itself in position to finish 11-1 barring upsets.

college football-odds-picks-betting-best bets-penn state vs. ohio state-virginia vs. byu-october 30
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: A Penn State football helmet.

Penn State’s easiest path to the Playoff is by winning the East and then the Big Ten Championship. However, I believe two Big Ten teams make the CFP this year, particularly with the Buckeyes and Wolverines already in the top four.

The Big 12 could have a two- or three-loss champion, as the conference lacks a great team this year. The committee has rarely shown much love to the Pac-12, and Utah already has a loss on its résumé to a two-loss Florida team.

I expect USC’s defense to cost it a game or two eventually. An 11-1 Penn State team would be in the mix for one of the final spots along with the Alabama-Georgia loser, the Michigan-Ohio State loser, Clemson, NC State, Utah and USC.

Penn State can get there because it has a veteran quarterback in Sean Clifford. The sixth-year QB is in his fourth year as the Nittany Lions’ starter.

In the passing game, Parker Washington and Western Kentucky transfer Mitchell Tinsley have stepped up to replace the production of Jahan Dotson. On the ground, Clifford has gotten more support from a running game that was dormant last season.

The Nittany Lions would also benefit from putting the ball in Nick Singleton’s hands more often. The five-star freshman leads the team in rushing with 376 yards and four touchdowns on nine yards per carry.

PSU also boasts a top-25 scoring defense, led by cornerback Joey Porter Jr.
Ohio State sits at +230 to win the national title, while Michigan comes in at +3000 and Penn State is +8000 on FanDuel. The value lies with the Nittany Lions here. They have just as good of a shot of reaching the CFP as their Big Ten East rivals.

FanDuel is also offering a value with this price, as the Nittany Lions are +6000 on Caesars, +6600 on BetMGM and +7000 on DraftKings.

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Conference Championship Picture

Texas Tech to Win Big 12 (+4000)

By Mike Calabrese

If you listen to head coach Joey McGuire, “Everything runs through Lubbock.” Presumably, that includes the Big 12 title.

So far, the Red Raiders have knocked off a pair of nationally-ranked opponents in overtime (Houston, Texas) and put together a solid defensive performance against No. 16 NC State on the road.

Offensively, they’re slinging it all over the yard. Texas Tech is averaging 52.7 attempts per game (2nd) for 327 yards (11th) with Donovan Smith providing above-average quarterback play. His added element on the ground (rush TD in last 3 games), propensity to spread it around (6 receivers with 8+ catches), and stellar play in the fourth quarter and overtime have made Tech a very difficult out.

Defensively, the Red Raiders have been a pleasant surprise in 2022.

Tim DeRuyter entered with the task of turning around one of the nation’s worst pass defenses. Through four games, the TTU secondary has held up, improving from 119th last season to 65th against the pass.

From a Havoc perspective, the Red Raiders rank 33rd in tackles for loss per game but just 97th in turnovers forced under DeRuyter. That will be the metric to monitor moving forward if they hope to upset the four remaining ranked teams on their schedule in Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma.

To make the conference title game, they’ll likely need to reach a 7-2 conference mark, which would mean splitting the games against those four opponents at the very least.

But that’s where the value lies in this bet.

The Red Raiders get Baylor at home a week before the Bears travel to Norman to play Oklahoma. And they also get Oklahoma at home in the season finale a week after Bedlam. A split there, given the situational advantages at play, is doable.

So, what about a split in the next two weeks with back-to-back road trips at Kansas State and Oklahoma State?

The Wildcats have opened as an eight-point favorite in Manhattan, but it’s worth noting that KSU would be at an extreme disadvantage should they spot Texas Tech an early lead. The Wildcat passing attack is horrific, averaging just 5.7 yards per attempt (111th). This explains their struggles on third downs (31.1%, 98th) and their lack of faith in Adrian Martinez through the air.

If Texas Tech’s decent run defense (3.7 YPC, 50th) slowed down Texas star Bijan Robinson (103 yards), it’ll have a puncher’s chance to do the same against KSU and Deuce Vaughn.

Oklahoma State is a much harder team to project given its light opening schedule. The Pokes allowed 44 points to a MAC offense at home and then played Arizona State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Yes, Spencer Sanders and the offense have looked great, but the competition has been nonexistent.

In a conference as wide-open as the Big 12, I’ll take the battle-tested team with multiple top-25 wins and a surprisingly competent defense over the field at this price.

Conference Bet to Watch

Kent State to Win MAC

By Mike Calabrese

Some say there’s no such thing as moral victories in sports, but when it comes to Group of Five schools collecting paychecks, I tend to disagree.

Kent State scheduled Washington, Oklahoma, Long Island and Georgia to fill its September. The expectation was a 1-3 start, and that’s what we got with losses at all five Power Five programs and a blowout win over the LIU Sharks.

Digging into the box scores, it’s clear to see that the Golden Flashes are ready to pop offensively.

Despite the daunting slate, Kent moved the ball well against Washington and Georgia. So well, in fact, that Collin Schlee enters conference play sixth nationally in QBR.

Dante Cephas and Devontez Walker acclimated themselves nicely against elite cornerbacks and finished the month averaging 15.6 yards per reception as a duo.

Marquez Cooper found the sledding more difficult against much larger front seven competition, but he still eked out four rushing touchdowns. His 21-90-1 line against Georgia has him in line for a huge October.

Defensively, what was one of the worst defenses in all of college football last season took a few baby steps forward against fantastic competition. The run defense that was gouged in 2021 ranks 94th against the run through four games. That may not seem like much of an improvement until you realize it just faced three top-seven offenses already.

I’m expecting a hot start to MAC play, as Ohio comes to visit on Saturday (KSU -11). Then, a trip to Miami (OH) awaits with Brett Gabbert on the shelf. Without their starting quarterback, the RedHawks have been unable to throw the ball at all. If Kent State can stuff the box, a 2-0 start in MAC play is on the table.

Beyond a road trip to Toledo, there’s a chance Kent will be favored in every conference game it plays this season. That’s music to my ears at nearly 7-1 for the defending MAC East champions.

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