College Football Picks - Short Spreads In Early Games Worthy Of Your Bet

Kansas St. Wildcats Player Rushes With Football

Matthew Jordan

Friday, September 30, 2016 8:05 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 30, 2016 8:05 PM UTC

Saturday's early games for College Football Week 5 action offer some interesting matchups, but none as profitable as these selections by our betting expert. Read on for his NCAAF picks against the spread.


A 1-2 mark on my early picks last Saturday, hitting on Florida State (-5) over USF and just missing Kent State (+44) vs. Alabama. Flashes almost scored a TD to cover.  Here are three early Saturday picks on college football odds for Week 5, provided by Heritage sports


Virginia vs Duke -3.5

This would be a heck of a college basketball matchup! Hey, Midnight Madness is only a few weeks away. It's the first ACC game for new Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall, who surprised many by leaving BYU last year to take this job even though he had no East Coast ties. The Wahoos got Mendenhall his first win last week with a 49-35 victory over a pretty good Central Michigan team that won at Oklahoma State earlier this season. Virginia did blow a 28-0 lead, which is concerning. But quarterback Kurt Benkert threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes to secure the win and finished with a school-record 421 yards along with five TDs to give Mendenhall his 100th career victory. 

There are two reasons I'm not super high on Duke this week. First, I think the Blue Devils might be in a letdown game following last Saturday's stunning upset of Notre Dame in South Bend. Shoot, now you are hearing Duke coach David Cutcliffe might be a candidate for the open LSU job after the season. Second, the Blue Devils also are dealing with some key injuries this week. Top tailback Jela Duncan is out with a leg injury. He had a career-high 121 yards rushing and a TD vs. the Irish. Duncan has rushed  for 314 yards and four scores on the season. Junior Shaun Wilson will replace him. Defensively, Duke will be without end Dominic McDonald and linebacker Tinashe Bere (season over).

Free College Football Pick: Virginia, which beat Duke 42-34 last year. The underdog is 5-2 ATS in College Football Odds in the past seven meetings.

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Navy vs Air Force -7.5

The winner of this game probably takes the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy this season, which goes to the winner of the triangular series between Air Force, Army and Navy each year. Army is much improved in 2016 but likely will be an underdog against Air Force and Navy. The winner of this game has gone on to capture the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy each of the past 19 years. Navy holds the Trophy currently. For the first time in series history, both the Midshipmen and Falcons are undefeated going into their matchup. Navy is coming off a bye week after beating Tulane on Sept. 17. 

Air Force played last week and beat Utah State 27-20. Jacobi Owens scored what would prove to be the winning 1-yard TD run with 5:06 left. That drive was set up by a sack and forced fumble by Air Force's Haji Dunn Jr. on Aggies QB Kent Myers at the Utah State 14. The Falcons will be without arguably their best defensive player for the first half in safety Weston Steelhammer (what a great football name!) He was penalized for a targeting penalty vs. Utah State and thus must sit a half.

NCAAF Free Pick: Navy, which has won 10 of the past 13 meetings and has won 19 straight vs. unranked opponents. The Midshipmen have covered 14 of the past 17 meetings.

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Kansas State vs West Virginia -3

It's the Big 12 opener for these two and West Virginia joins Baylor as the only teams in the conference still with a zero in the loss column. West Virginia has defeated every member of the Big 12, with the exception of Oklahoma and Kansas State, as the Wildcats are 4-0 vs. WVU. Kansas State lost its opener at an excellent Stanford team 26-13 but held the Cardinal to 272 total yards. The Wildcats have played two cupcakes since then and rolled; last week's 35-0 win over Missouri State was called at halftime due to lightning. KSU leads the Big 12 in most defensive categories. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen entered this season very much on the hot seat and is slightly off it thanks to decent non-conference  wins over Missouri and last week BYU -- although the Mountaineers nearly blew a 35-19 fourth-quarter lead vs. the Cougars. West Virginia ranks 13th in the FBS in total offense at 533 yards per game, with quarterback Skyler Howard ranked No. 8 nationally in total offense and receiver Shelton Gibson No. 4 in all-purpose yards. KSU has given up only 537 yards all season. Last year in Manhattan, West Virginia had a 13-3 at halftime advantage but Kansas State got a 76-yard TD pass from a backup wide receiver and later a 97-yard TD kickoff return for the game’s deciding score in a 24-23 win.

Remember to drop by SBR's list of the best-ranked bonuses, and find out which of the top sportsbooks is offering the top rated sportsbooks.

NCAAF Free Pick: Kansas State has covered 16 of its past 21 under Bill Snyder as a road underdog with eight outright wins, but I like WVU at home. The Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their past five road games. 

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