NCAAF Week 5 Top Picks Include Ohio State, Penn State and Texas A&M

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Wide receiver Aron Cruickshank #1 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights is congratulated by Shameen Jones #7 and Ireland Brown #57. Rich Schultz/Getty Images/AFP.

Time for another batch of Week 5 college football picks, with Ohio State, Penn State, and Texas A&M all up for consideration.

What’s better than making college football picks? Making more college football picks.

We’ve already got three FBS teams lined up for Week 5 here at the ranch, but why stop there; this trio of Saturday matinee games features three more big-name programs, starting with the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Saturday, October 1, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at Ohio Stadium

Rutgers vs. Ohio Analysis

Ohio State Buckeyes

We tried fading the Buckeyes (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) last week, but despite all the good things our models had to say about the Wisconsin Badgers, it was Ohio State prevailing 52-21 as 19-point home faves at the close.

The models don’t like OSU this week, either, at least not on the spread, where they’re giving up 41 points to the Scarlet Knights (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) on the NCAAF odds board at Heritage (visit our Heritage Sports Review).

The potential profit margin for this matchup is pretty small, though, and the early consensus figures at top-rated sportsbooks show 100% support for the Buckeyes. Maybe they’re that good after all.

The Week 5 F+ Ratings are up at Football Outsiders, and they’ve got Ohio State ranked second overall (No. 1 offense, No. 11 defense), with Rutgers way, way down the list at No. 102 (No. 117 offense, No. 70 defense).

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

There isn’t too much to complain about with the Buckeyes. But their defense still doesn’t stack up as one of the best in college, and old-school handicappers should already be inclined to fade the public team and take Rutgers instead.

The key for the Scarlet Knights will be to grind as much clock as possible, thus keeping the score low and allowing Rutgers to sneak away with the cash. Overcast skies and 10-mph crosswinds at the Horseshoe should help our cause, if the forecast holds up.

NCAAF Pick: Rutgers +41 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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Rutgers +41 (-108)
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Northwestern Wildcats vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 03:30 PM EDT at Beaver Stadium

Team Analysis

Penn State Nittany Lions

Staying in the Big Ten, we’ve got another very chalky team in the Nittany Lions (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS), but this time, the models say we should take Penn State and let them lay those 26.5 points at GT Bets (visit our GTBets Review) to Northwestern (1-3 SU and ATS), again for a small wager.

The Lions have done quite well for bettors in recent years:

  • 2021: 7-5 SU and ATS
  • 2020: 4-5 SU and ATS
  • 2019: 10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS
  • 2018: 9-3 SU, 7-5 ATS
  • 2017: 10-2 SU, 7-4-1 ATS
  • 2016: 11-2 SU, 9-3-1 ATS

This is all with James Franklin as their head coach. He took over the program in 2014, when it was still trying to recover from the Jerry Sandusky scandal that saw the termination of beloved coach Joe Paterno in 2011.

Frankin has done well, and he’s done so in relative anonymity, which helps PSU retain their betting value.

Northwestern Wildcats

As for the Wildcats, they’re No. 96 overall (No. 97 offense, No. 76 defense) on the F+ charts, miles behind Penn State in seventh (No. 23 offense, No. 5 defense).

And Northwestern had to start the 2022 campaign in Dublin, Ireland, where they got their only cover of the season thus far in a 31-28 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers (-12). The ‘Cats might never get their sea legs back after that epic journey.

NCAAF Pick: Penn State -26.5 (-109) at GTBets

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Penn State -26.5 (-109)
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Texas A&M Aggies vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 04:00 PM EDT at Davis Wade Stadium

Team Analysis

Texas A&M Aggies

Switching to the SEC, our models are somewhat torn between taking Texas A&M (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) as 3.5-point road dogs on the spread, or +160 on the moneyline.

These lines are pretty close, but Wizard of Odds says +3.5 is about the same as +165, so we’re inclined to stick with the spread for this one.

We can thank the sharps for helping us get above that magic number three. The consensus reports at press time show 72% support for the Bulldogs (3-1 SU, 2-1-1 ATS), who opened as 2-point home faves at Bookmaker before steaming all the way to +4.

So why aren’t we taking the Aggies at +4? Because they’re a better buy at +3.5, at least when you compare these two lines:

That 12-cent difference in vigorish makes all the... difference. Wizard of Odds says you should only spend 6.9 cents to tack on that particular half-point.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are a tricky team, and they’re No. 22 (No. 29 offense, No. 14 defense) on the F+ charts, ahead of the Aggies at No. 26 (No. 67 offense, No. 20 defense), but as long as we’re getting more than a field goal, we’re not doing too badly.

Bet accordingly, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

NCAAF Pick: Texas A&M +3.5 (+100) at BetOnline

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Texas A&M +3.5 (+100)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.