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College Football Week 5 Mega Betting Guide: Picks, Analysis for 4 Marquee Matchups

Sep 29, 2018 6:47 AM EDT

Welcome to college football’s Week 5, where rivalry games will begin to shape the College Football Playoff picture.

Below, we’ve previewed four of the biggest games of the season, like only The Action Network can. Trends from our Bet Labs database. In-depth metrics. Situational spots. Pointed analysis.

If you’re looking to bet West Virginia-Texas Tech, Florida-Mississippi State, Penn State-Ohio State or Notre Dame-Stanford, you can find all the insights you need here.

College Football Betting Picks, Week 5

West Virginia at Texas Tech Betting Odds, Pick

  • Odds: West Virginia -3.5
  • Over/Under: 72
  • Time: Noon ET, Saturday
  • TV Channel: ESPN2

>> All odds as of 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.


Start your Saturday with some electricity in Lubbock between two of the highest-scoring offenses in the country.

No. 12 West Virginia travels to No. 25 Texas Tech in a pivotal early Big 12 showdown. The Red Raiders are coming off an upset over Oklahoma State as 14-point dogs, but will have to contend with quarterback Will Grier, one of the most prolific passers in the country.

Based on our power ratings, AP voters are overrating West Virginia. The Mountaineers are 21st by our measures, yet 12th in the AP poll. Texas Tech is also overrated at 25th in the poll, sitting at No. 35 in our power ratings.

Market Moves for West Virginia-Texas Tech

By Danny Donahue

Despite Tech’s impressive upset win last week, more bettors are backing the Mountaineers on Saturday, as West Virginia has picked up 52% of bets thus far.

More of the money being wagered, however, is behind Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are accounting for 58% of dollars bet, and have fallen to +3.5 after opening at +4.

The high total has drawn mixed feelings from bettors, as 53% have taken the under. Those bets are accounting for 75% of dollars, however, so the number plummeted from 75 to 72 on Thursday afternoon.

Trends to Know

By John Ewing

Keep an eye on the weather. The forecast is calling for average wind gusts of 11 mph throughout the game. Since 2005, it has been profitable to bet the under in windy games.

Back to Texas Tech moving from +4 to +3.5: Since 2005 in matchups of ranked teams when the line moves in the direction of the underdog, that team has gone 91-111-3 (45%) against the spread in the regular season.

By Evan Abrams

We have a total of 77 in a Big 12 showdown. … Shocker.

Since 2005, games with a total of 70 or more are an almost even 154-155-1 (49.8%), but when the game is played between two Big 12 teams, the over is 56-41-1 (+12.2 units).

When both Big 12 teams enter the game averaging 40+ points per game (PPG), the over is 26-13 (+11.7 units).

Key Metric

By Steve Petrella

Texas Tech has been excellent on special teams, ranking 33rd overall in special teams S&P+ and in the top half of FBS teams in every category — field goals, punts and all returns.

Texas Tech Getting Healthier on Defense

By Steve Petrella

Texas Tech returned the second-most production in the country on defense this season, and we finally saw the results last week against Oklahoma State as the Red Raiders got healthier.

Senior safety and captain Jah’Shawn Johnson returned and made a huge impact, helping limit the Cowboys to 386 total yards and 6.8 yards per pass attempt. Johnson had five tackles and one sack.

Grier averages an absurd 11.8 yards per attempt, second in the country.

Bet to Watch

By Ken Barkley

College football is in some ways remarkable because we can play one-third of the season and still have almost no clue about certain teams’ true abilities. The way nonconference schedules are designed can frequently produce unjustified hype or aggressive negativity, both of which tend to be proven wrong in the long run.

In the case of West Virginia’s defense, I think there’s an argument that we have absolutely no idea what it is yet. Tennessee was breaking in a brand-new everything in the opener, and even since then has struggled to score on mostly everyone.

Youngstown State is Youngstown State. The N.C. State game was canceled. And last week against Kansas State, it was remarkable how poor Skylar Thompson was at quarterback.

It was apparently so bad that SB Nation’s Ian Boyd captured on Twitter a play where Thompson had two receivers crossing each other who were both wide open, and yet the play was still unsuccessful.

To say the Mountaineer defense was untested would be an understatement. There’s a reason why Bill Snyder was so salty about his offense after the game. It was borderline non-competitive.

All of that is to say that I think Texas Tech has been tested much more, by Ole Miss, Houston and Oklahoma State, and that those tests are a good thing for the Red Raiders here.

Against the Cowboys, freshman quarterback Alan Bowman has faced a conference game on the road — against a reasonably good defense — and thrived. There will be no shock factor or a step up in weight class.

Really, what this comes down to for me is West Virginia being rated like a team that has proven something, when in reality it’s played a glorified preseason thus far. I doubt the difference in these teams is what the spread indicates, so even though it’s dropped to 3.5 from 4.5, I think Texas Tech still has some value.

In a game where there should be buckets of points, rather than take +3.5 or +4 at -110, I’d prefer Tech on the moneyline at +150 because with a million projected possessions those points aren’t quite as valuable.

Florida at Mississippi State Betting Odds, Pick

  • Odds: Mississippi State -7
  • Over/Under: 50
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET, Saturday
  • TV Channel: ESPN

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Credit:

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Miles Sanders and Bryce Love

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