Over a month of the college football season has been completed and this week almost all teams are beginning to start conference play.
The spotlight this week is on Nebraska, as they make their Big Ten debut and travel to Wisconsin for a showdown that many people think will be a preview of the conference championship game.
And it’s not just the Big Ten; all major conferences around college football feature high profile games. This week provides some betting lines that are very tough because many teams are facing their first tough opponent of the season.
As conference play begins to heat up this week, here are my picks for the weekend’s top games.
College Football Picks and Betting Lines for Week 5
#16 South Florida v Pitt
- South Florida-Pitt spread: South Florida -2.5
- South Florida-Pitt over/under 52
The Panthers are currently on a two-game losing steak and look to bounce back in this game in front of a national audience on Thursday night. Both of these teams feature two very good offensive players that should have a major impact in this game.
South Florida is led by duel threat quarterback B.J. Daniels who leads the Big East with 158.4 QB rating and has thrown for 1,071 yards. Ray Graham has been one of best running backs in the country for Pitt this season and leads the Big East in rushing with 508 yards.
South Florida is the better team and that is why I like them to cover the spread in this one. South Florida-Pitt Spread Pick: USF -2.5
#18 Arkansas v #14 Texas A&M
- Arkansas-Texas A&M: spread: Texas A&M -3
- Arkansas-Texas A&M over/under 62.5
This game will be played on a neutral site in the Cotton Bowl as these two teams look to get back to their winning ways. Both these teams are coming off disappointing conference losses, as Texas A&M lost to Oklahoma State (30-29) and Arkansas lost to Alabama (38-14).
These teams have very good offenses and are averaging over 35 points-per-game this season. I like the over in this game, as both teams quarterbacks are completing nearly 67 percent of their passes and each team is going motivated not to bet their second loss of the season. Arkansas-Texas A&M Over-Under pick: Over
Michigan State v Ohio State
- Michigan State-Ohio State spread: Ohio State -3.5
- Michigan State-Ohio State: over/under 44
This game might not be getting a lot attention from the national media but still is a very important conference game for each team. Both of these teams are coming off blowout wins from last week and will be trying to carry that momentum into this week.
Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell and Edwin Baker are two very good running backs and will be need to have a big game if the Spartans want to get a win in Columbus. Ohio State has been suspect this season in stopping the run and against Miami gave up an average of 5.7 yards-per-rush.
I think this game will come down to quarterback play and clearly Michigan State has the advantage with Kirk Cousins. I like Cousin’s senior leadership to guide the Spartans to victory and that is why I am going to take Michigan State with the points. Michigan State-Ohio State spread pick: Michigan State +3.5
#3 Alabama v #12 Florida
- Alabama-Florida spread: Alabama -3.5
- Alabama-Florida over/under 44.5
Florida has shown they are the best team in the SEC East and will try defeat national title contender Alabama in The Swamp. Florida has one of the best offenses in the SEC so far this season, but they are going to struggle all night long against Alabama and the nation’s best defense.
This was the easiest line to pick this week and I am going to lay the points with Alabama. Alabama-Florida spread pick: Alabama -3.5
#8 Nebraska v #7 Wisconsin spread:
- Nebraska -Wisconsin spread: Wisconsin -9.5
- Nebraska-Wisconsin over/under 56
This game features the heavyweights in each division in the Big Ten and will be their first true test of the season after cup-caking the non-conference schedule.
These two teams might be the best rushing teams in the Big Ten and are averaging well over 200 yards-per-game. What separates these teams on offense is the passing game and the Badgers have a clear advantage over the Huskers. Russell Wilson leads the Big Ten in passing yards and touchdown passes, while Taylor Martinez has struggled completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes in two games this season.
The only thing Nebraska can do is run the football on offense and thier lack of ability to throw the ball is going to cause them to struggle in this game. Wisconsin will be too much for Nebraska to handle and that is why I like the Badgers to cover the spread in this game. Nebraska-Wisconsin spread pick: Wisconsin -9.5
* – Wisconsin Badgers photo credit: Bleacher Report