Week 5 College Football Odds, Predictions: How We’re Betting Friday’s NCAAF Games (Sept. 29)

Week 5 College Football Odds, Predictions: How We’re Betting Friday’s NCAAF Games (Sept. 29) article feature image

Design by Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network.

It wouldn't be a Friday night without some college football action.

In that spirit, our college football writers broke down all four of Friday's NCAAF games with a full betting preview that culminates in a pick.

From Utah vs. Oregon State and Louisville vs. NC State to Cincinnati vs. BYU and Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP, we have you covered.

So, click on a matchup below to navigate directly to a betting preview for that game. Now, let's start making our way to Green Dot City.

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Friday NCAAF Betting Previews

The team logos in the table below represent all of our betting previews from Friday's slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific preview.

GameTime (ET)Pick
7 p.m.
9 p.m.
9 p.m.
10:15 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Louisville vs. NC State

Friday, Sept. 29
7 p.m. ET
Louisville -3.5

By Doug Ziefel

The ACC takes center stage Friday night as the undefeated Louisville Cardinals go on the road to take on the 3-1 NC State Wolfpack.

The Cardinals have been rolling early on this season, as their offense looks revitalized with transfer Jack Plummer under center.

However, Plummer is not the only prized QB transfer in this matchup, as the Wolfpack are led by Brennan Armstrong. Armstrong is back under coordinator Robert Anae, who was the mastermind behind Armstrong's breakout season at Virginia.

We have yet to see Armstrong return to form under Anae this season, but that could all change in this matchup.

With the stage set and the lights shining bright, let's dive into this matchup to see which side you should be on.

Louisville Cardinals

I mentioned Plummer in the intro, and while he's had success early on, much of it has to be credited to running back Jawhar Jordan and the offensive line.

The Cardinals run the ball at the 16th-highest rate in the country, and how could you not feed Jordan? He's averaging a staggering 9.6 yards per carry while also finding paydirt six times in four games.

Jordan and the Cardinals should continue to find success on the ground in this matchup. The big boys up front will have the edge in Line Yards, and the Wolfpack haven't been all that great against the run, ranking 82nd in yards per carry allowed.

However, NC State can't just load the box because the run game has done a great job of setting up the Louisville passing game this season. Plummer is third in the country in yards per pass, averaging over 11 yards per completion.

The Wolfpack are 81st in coverage rating and rank 97th in yards per pass allowed, so the Cardinals are in line for offensive success, no matter what scheme they deploy in this matchup.

NC State Wolfpack

When you look at the NC State offense, you have to key in on Armstrong. I highlighted the connection he has with his offensive coordinator, but we haven't seen a renaissance from Armstrong thus far.

He's 118th in completion percentage and 110th in yards per pass. While he'll have a solid matchup in front of him against the Louisville secondary, it remains to be seen if he can capitalize.

The biggest issue is NC State's offensive line. The unit is 45th in pass blocking and 69th in run blocking, per PFF. This has caused Armstrong to scramble on many dropbacks, and it has led to the Wolfpack averaging just 3.9 yards per carry on the ground.

While the Cardinals' defensive line hasn't generated much pressure on the quarterback, it'll have the Line Yards advantage, so NC State needs Armstrong to get going if it wants to hang around in this one.

Louisville vs NC State

Betting Pick & Prediction

This matchup has been hovering around the key number of three all week.

However, it's been bet up to 3.5 at the time of writing, and that's a testament to the market's confidence in Louisville on the road here.

They have good reason to be confident, as Louisville has been firing on all cylinders offensively and should face very few roadblocks in this matchup.

As for NC State, Armstrong will have to prove himself, but he hasn't given us much to be inspired by.

Back the Cardinals to get the job done on Friday.

Utah vs. Oregon State

Friday, Sept. 29
9 p.m. ET
Under 45

By Collin Wilson

The Pac-12 is often thought of as a defense-optional, high-powered offensive finesse conference.

Friday night will provide a different narrative, as the two most physical teams are set to battle in the trenches at a potentially rainy Reser Stadium.

While the all-time series between Utah and Oregon State shows a 12-12-1 mark, it's the Utes that have had extreme success over the past decade. Head coach Kyle Whittingham continues to produce the best defenses west of the Mississippi River as Utah seeks its third straight Pac-12 Championship.

As the Utes' star quarterback Cam Rising continues to sit with injury, the defense led the way in a conference-opening victory over UCLA.

Meanwhile, a loss in Week 4 put a dimmer on the hopes of Oregon State winning the Pac-12 in its final season with the conference. The Beavers failed to force interceptions, allowing Washington State to take a comfortable home lead into the fourth quarter.

Oregon State returns to the friendly confines of Corvallis this week, where head coach Jonathan Smith has accumulated a 13-1 against-the-spread mark since the 2021 season.

For the Beavers to have any chance at a conference title, Friday night is a must-win in a game that will have plenty of pads popping for all consumers.

Utah Utes

The quarterback situation remains unclear for Utah, but the Utes nearly pitched a shutout on the defensive side to beat UCLA in Week 4. The Bruins were held to 3.6 overall yards per play, with 60% of rushing attempts stuffed and an average third-down distance of 10.3 yards.

Utah forced 11 tackles for loss with seven sacks on the afternoon, and the opening pick-six proved to be the difference in the low-scoring affair.

Like Oregon State, the Utes shred opposing rushing attacks with top 10 ranks in nearly every advanced statistic.

The key difference between the two teams is the back seven of Utah, as it ranks top-25 in coverage and Passing Success Rate. Utah is the top-rated defense nationally in terms of Passing Downs Success Rate.

Both starters on the edge have terrorized opponent quarterbacks, as Logan Fano and Jonah Elliss have combined for 27 pressures and nine sacks on the season.

And that's why all the questions surrounding the future of Utah are centered at the quarterback position.

Rising spent the summer recovering from an ACL injury, which he suffered midway through the Rose Bowl against Penn State. Expectations for the season opener against Florida were tempered, but now the senior quarterback is rumored to redshirt with all eyes on 2024.

Nate Johnson started the 2023 campaign behind Bryson Barnes on the depth chart but now has taken over the starting role in the absence of Rising. Johnson has struggled with his passing attempts, generating three turnover-worthy plays this season.

Despite three fumbles against UCLA, the best attribute Johnson has under center is his ability to contribute to a run game led by Ja'Quinden Jackson.

At 4.8 yards after contact, Jackson has posted eight explosive runs and one of the highest elusive ratings in the conference.

Oregon State Beavers

The Beavers were in cruise control coming into conference play, as they allowed 16 points in their previous two games to San Diego State and UC Davis.

Oregon State acted as a brick wall to opposing rushing attacks, ranking top-15 in Defensive Line Yards and Stuff Rate.

Defensive interior Sione Lolohea ranked as one of the highest individual players in tackles for loss, but a date against Washington State's explosive pass unit set the Beavers back in the loss column.

Quarterback Cam Ward shredded the Oregon State secondary for 400 yards and four touchdowns, as the Havoc-minded Beavers were unable to force any interceptions.

The specialty of this defense remains defending the ground game and limiting explosives in passing downs.

Linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold leads the team in tackles, assists and stops.

While the defense has been lethal against the rush, it's the offensive ground game that makes the headlines. Oregon State boasts the highest-ranked offense on the ground in terms of Rushing Success Rate, led by sophomore bulldozer Damien Martinez.

The combination of Martinez, running back Deshaun Fenwick and Clemson transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has made this the top red-zone offense in the nation. In 27 drives past the opposing team's 40-yard line, the Beavers are averaging 5.1 points per scoring opportunity.

The key to stopping the Beavers is knocking them off schedule, as their efficiency takes a plunge in Passing Down Explosives and Passing Success Rate.

Any opposing defense that can't stop the run will have a long night against Oregon State.

oregon state vs san jose state-college football-odds-picks-predictions-betting-sunday september 3
Ali Gradischer/Getty Images. Pictured: Oregon State running back Deshaun Fenwick.

Utah vs Oregon State

Betting Pick & Prediction

While most viewers tune into the Pac-12 for high-flying offenses, Friday night will be anything but an air show from Corvallis.

Both teams excel at running the ball and each has a quarterback well-versed in zone-read schemes to move the chains.

The handicap in this game is about which defensive front seven is better equipped to stop the ground game at the line of scrimmage.

While both teams have had a similar strength of schedule, Utah has played the better rushing attacks, as Baylor and UCLA are in the top 35 in run-blocking grades. Baylor was more successful against the Utes' defensive front, averaging 4.2 yards per play on 29 rushing attempts in a Week 2 game at Waco.

The Utah defense has the advantage in terms of Quality Drives, with a top-10 rank against an Oregon State team that's 41st offensively in the same category.

If there's an area Utah can be exposed in, it's an inefficient offense that has trouble taking care of the rock. Johnson has six fumbles on the season, with three against UCLA alone.

Oregon State has forced seven fumbles this season, just one shy of the national lead. The Beavers' high Havoc rank is powered by fumbles and tackles for loss, both troublesome areas for a Utah team that ranks 93rd in Havoc Allowed.

The Action Network Betting Power Ratings place Utah as a one-point favorite, but inefficiency and turnovers have contributed to a steam number in favor of the Beavers.

There may be no greater home-field advantage than Oregon State in Reser Stadium, a factor that contributes to market love for the home team.

While the number may be inflated on the Beavers' side, there's no reason to think this game goes over the total. Both offenses play a slow, grinding tempo and each defense specializes in stopping the rush.

The Beavers and Utes excel at stopping the big play on passing downs, signaling that each drive will be methodical.

Expect the defenses — which rank in the top 30 in Finishing Drives — to be a contributing factor to a low-scoring total.

Look to scoop the key number of 45 in a totals market that's sure to steam with weather pending.

Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP

Friday, Sept. 29
9 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Louisiana Tech +1

By Cody Goggin

This Friday night, Louisiana Tech (2-3) will travel to the Sun Bowl to take on the UTEP Miners (1-4). This will be the second CUSA game for both squads as they both look to creep back toward .500.

One of these teams may have recently found the spark it needed to set itself apart in a backup quarterback. With this game basically set at a pick'em, there's one team that I think is more talented with more upside than the other.

So, where does the betting value lie in this Friday night matchup? Let's dive into the odds for Louisiana Tech vs. UTEP and make a pick and prediction in this college football betting preview for Saturday, Sept. 30.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

The big question heading into this matchup for Louisiana Tech is in regard to the health of quarterback Hank Bachmeier. He missed last weekend’s game against Nebraska due to a shoulder injury, paving the way for Jack Turner to make his first career start.

Turner was very impressive, especially playing against a defense the caliber of Nebraska’s. Turner went 27-of-41 for 296 yards with an EPA per play of 0.19 in this matchup against a Power 5 opponent. He also added another six carries for 28 yards and a touchdown.

The status of Bachmeier for this weekend is still unknown, but sticking with Turner may be wise for the future of this program.

On the year, Louisiana Tech ranks 90th in Offensive Success Rate and 91st in Finishing Drives. While the Bulldogs haven’t been the most efficient unit, they have been explosive, ranking 35th in offensive explosiveness.

This may not be a great offensive unit, but they've shown some promise and they do seem to have much more upside if Turner were to play.

Defensively, this has been one of the worst teams in the country so far. LA Tech ranks 129th in SP+ and 109th in rushing Success Rate.

Its major bright spot has been the passing defense, which ranks 22nd in PPA and 14th in Success Rate. However, big plays have been an issue on this side of the ball, as the Bulldogs come in at 120th in passing explosiveness allowed.

UTEP Miners

UTEP has started the year 1-4 with its lone win coming over FCS Incarnate Word. Outside of this game, only one other contest has even been close. The Miners have been beaten down by Northwestern, Arizona, and most recently, UNLV.

Dana Dimel's squad ranks 119th in SP+, and its offense is among the worst in the country at 127th. The Miners have the 85th-best Offensive Success Rate and rank 67th in Finishing Drives.

They run the ball at the 58th-highest rate — which is almost directly in the middle of the pack — and they have the 68th-best Success Rate in the country when doing so. Avoiding Louisiana Tech's strong secondary will be crucial, so finding success on the ground will be key.

The Miners rank 85th in Success Rate, but they've been ultra-explosive, ranking 35th in passing explosiveness and 50th in PPA. While these aren’t terrible numbers, Louisiana Tech’s passing defense is the best unit in the game and should be able to shut down Gavin Hardison and Co.

Defensively, UTEP has struggled as well, sitting 104th in Success Rate and 106th in Finishing Drives. The Miners are also just 123rd in Havoc, making things even easier on opposing offenses.

Louisiana Tech vs UTEP

Betting Pick & Prediction

The X-factor for me in this game is Turner. If he plays and does as well as he did last weekend, I think Louisiana Tech could run away with this game.

Even if the Bulldogs' passing attack doesn’t perform as well, their passing defense is still the biggest strength of either team in this game and will be able to keep them in this.

I think LA Tech is the better team here and would take it to emerge victorious on the road. I'd bet the Bulldogs up to -2.

Pick: Louisiana Tech +1 (Play to -2)

Cincinnati vs. BYU

Friday, Sept. 29
10:15 p.m. ET
Cincinnati ML -126

By BJ Cunningham

Cincinnati and BYU meet for the first time as Big 12 members in Provo on Friday night.

Cincinnati lost to Oklahoma last weekend, but it put together a strong defensive performance by holding Dillon Gabriel and the high-powered Oklahoma offense to just 20 points.

The Bearcats have now lost two straight after getting upset by Miami (OH) in Week 4, so they will be desperate for a win on Friday.

BYU lost its first game of the season on Saturday at Kansas, 38-27. The Cougars have an impressive road win at Arkansas already under their belts, but they're in danger of starting 0-2 in conference play if they don't beat the Bearcats.

Find a betting preview, pick and prediction for Cincinnati vs. BYU on Friday, Sept. 29 below.

Cincinnati Bearcats

It's very clear at this point that for Cincinnati's offense to be successful, the Bearcats have to run the ball effectively.

Emory Jones has shown us over his career that he's simply an average passer, consistently putting up PFF passing grades around 70. This season is no different, as his PFF passing grade through four games sits at just 67.8.

The Bearcats don't need him to be an elite passer because they're running the ball on 58.1% of their offensive plays.

When Jones was healthy in 2021, he averaged 6.2 yards per carry, forced 27 missed tackles and tallied 30 runs over 10 yards on 106 carries. He already has nine runs over 10 yards in only four games this season.

On the other side, Cincinnati lost its first-team All-American linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. — who recorded 137 tackles a season ago — to the NFL. The loss is massive, but Cincinnati remains stout in the trenches, as it brought back its two best defensive linemen in Jowon Briggs — who was first-team All-AAC — and Eric Phillips.

The Bearcats are a little weak in the secondary, but their performance against Gabriel and the Sooners should give them a lot of confidence heading to Provo. Yes, Gabriel threw for over 300 yards and 8.0 yards per attempt, but they shut him down in the red zone.

Oklahoma crossed Cincinnati's 40-yard line six times — and got inside the 20-yard line five times — but it scored only 20 points.

cincinnati bearcats vs byu cougars-odds-picks-predictions-college football betting-friday september 29
James Black/Getty Images. Pictured: Cincinnati quarterback Emory Jones.

BYU Cougars

Kedon Slovis has been pretty strong through his first four starts, but his numbers have been a bit inflated by a solid performance against Southern Utah.

Overall, he has a PFF passing grade of 76.6, but he hasn't posted a grade over 70 against an FBS opponent.

However, Slovis showed in the last game against Kansas that the more time he has to throw, the worse he gets. He threw for 347 yards against a bad Jayhawks defense, but that took 51 attempts, and he also committed three turnover-worthy plays, per PFF.

As BYU reworks its offensive line, he's also been under pressure on 33.3% of his dropbacks.

The two players with starting experience on the line had to change positions to allow several transfers to play their natural positions. The offensive line did a better job in protection against Kansas, but Cincinnati has a better pass rush.

Basically, all of BYU's offense against Kansas had to come through the air because the Cougars have struggled to run the ball. They ran for just nine yards against the Jayhawks and are averaging only 2.3 yards per carry against FBS opponents this season.

They also rank outside the top 100 in both Rushing Success Rate and EPA/Rush.

BYU's defense has been decent through four games, but in this game specifically, the Cougars are going to have to stop the run to be successful. They couldn't do that against Kansas last Saturday, as the Jayhawks ran for 6.0 yards per carry.

More specifically, Jalon Daniels ran for 54 yards on nine carries, which is important since they're facing another running quarterback in Jones.

Cincinnati vs BYU

Betting Pick & Prediction

In their last two losses, the Bearcats have failed to capitalize on their scoring opportunities. Against Miami (OH) and Oklahoma, Cincinnati drove inside its opponents' 40-yard line on 13 drives but scored only 29 total points.

BYU's offense has become completely one-dimensional, as it no longer has the ability to even try to rush the ball, ranking last in Rushing Success Rate.

That puts a lot of pressure on Slovis and an inexperienced offensive line that's allowing pressure on a third of dropbacks.

Plus, Cincy owns the 26th-best PFF pass-rushing grade and ranks 14th in Havoc, so the Bearcats should put pressure on Slovis.

I have Cincinnati projected as a 5.1-point favorite, so I like the value on the Bearcats on the road in Provo on the moneyline at -126.

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