NCAAF Week 5 dishes up a number of potential trap, lookahead and letdown games as well as a monster Big Ten showdown between Ohio State and Penn State from State College.
Why it’s a trap for Oklahoma: After facing independent Army (2-2 SU) in Week 3, Oklahoma finds itself in a potential trap spot against Baylor (1-11 SU in 2017) in Big 12 play at Gaylord-Family Memorial Stadium (grass) in Norman in Week 5 with Kyler Murray and the Sooners possibly looking past this game to their coming Big 12 dates in Week 6 vs. Texas in the Red River Showdown (Oct. 6) and in Week 8 at No. 17 TCU (OK 3-0 ATS L3) in a game which may determine Oklahoma’s CFP fate (Oct. 20) after a bye in Week 7.
BAYLOR 5-2 ATS L7 vs. OKLAHOMA
BAYLOR 7-1 ATS L8 vs. OKLAHOMA on road
BAYLOR had 54 players start at least 1 game in 2017, #1 in FBS
BAYLOR 4-18 SU L22 regular-season games
Last year, the Sooners beat Baylor 49-41 in Week 4, failing to cover ATS as big 27½-point chalks in Waco and have been extremely profitable in the series over the last decade. This year, head coach Matt Rhule (5-6 ATS) and Baylor are improved, but after last year’s near-miss and coming off a Week 1-4 slate of FCS Abilene Christian, UTSA, Duke and Kansas, this one in the Sooner State could be a really rude awakening.
OKLA 126-27 SU in Big 12 games since 2000
OKLA 6-3 L9 ATS as home favorites (1-2 this season, 5-1 in 2017)
OKLA 44.2 ppg, #11 in FBS
No. 19 Michigan at NorthwesternSaturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (FOX)
Why it’s a trap for Michigan: Former Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson and Michigan (3-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) head to Ryan Field (grass) in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago, to face Northwestern (1-2 SU/ATS) in Big Ten play in what could be a trap spot for the Wolverines, who will possibly be worrying about a coming stretch of challenging conference games against Maryland, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Penn State (Nov. 3) in one of the Big Ten’s best games of the season (MICH -4½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook 2018 Games of the Year) at The Big House.
NORTHWESTERN and MICH haven’t played since 2014 (MICH 10 NORTH 9)
NORTHWESTERN coming off bye week
MICH 3-1-1 ATS road favorites ins 2017
MICH 57-15-2 in all-time series (W19 straight from 1966-1992)
If oddsmakers are giving the Wildcats enough points, QB Clayton Thorson (6,000+ passing yards, 37 TDs last two seasons) and Northwestern may be a live dog to look at on Saturday with defense, turnovers and site possibly playing a big part in this game. Having to face Purdue in Week 1, upstart Duke in Week 2, upset-minded Akron in Week 3 and then getting a week off to game-plan for the Wolverines may be a good thing for 13th-year head coach Pat Fitzgerald (74-70 ATS) against a team simply looking not to lose in Big Ten play before having to face state rivals Michigan State, top-10 Penn State and No. 4 Ohio State at The Horseshoe on Nov. 24 in the conference’s most iconic rivalry.
USC at ArizonaSaturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Why it’s a trap for USC: Khalil Tate and Arizona (2-2 SU/ATS) host USC (2-2 SU, 0-4 ATS) in a Pac-12 matchup from Arizona Stadium (FieldTurf) in Tucson in a tough and trap-py spot for the Trojans (11-3 SU in 2017), who have their bye week coming up next in Week 6 before embarking on a nasty 3-game Pac-12 South Division patch between Colorado-Utah-Arizona State which will likely determine USC’s fate. And with a brutal set-up of a tough UNLV side (Week 1), games (and losses) at Stanford (Week 2) and Texas (Week 3) before facing Washington State in L.A. in Week 4 (USC -4½, 51), this squad could be a little bit tired and dismayed after such a milk-toast start and falling out of the Top 25 rankings.
USC 4-1 ATS L5 vs. AZ, 3-1 ATS L4 on road
USC L7 consecutive ATS (UCLA-STAN-OHIO ST-UNLV-STAN-TEX-WASH ST)
USC 1-5 ATS L6 road games
AZ 4-1 ATS L5 home games (BYU SU loss lone non-cover)
With the pressure on head coach Clay Helton (15-24 ATS) and his Trojans not to fall to 2-3, this could be a tough environment in the Arizona Sun Corridor, although USC rolled to a 48-14 win there in 2016, covering ATS as 14-point chalks.
4 Potential Week 5 Lookahead GamesSyracuse at No. 3 ClemsonSaturday, noon ET (ABC)
Why it’s a lookahead for Clemson: After this early game against Syracuse (4-8 SU in 2017), No.3-ranked Clemson (4-0 SU, 1-3 ATS) will play its final 7 regular-season games against teams who had winning records in 2017 (WAKE-NC ST-FSU-LOUIS-BC-DUKE-SO CAR), so the Tigers may be looking past the Orange, who are off to a great start (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) and who upset Clemson 27-24 in the Carrier Dome last season, winning outright as massive 24-point home underdogs in one of the biggest upsets of the 2017 season. So can they do it again in Death Valley? With Clemson QB Kelly Bryant hobbled, it may be in the cards, but head coach Dabo Swinney (66-56-2 ATS) and the Tigers have a very good backup in Trevor Lawrence.
South Alabama at Appalachian StateSaturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
Why it’s a lookahead for Appalachian State: This Sun Belt Conference affair vs. South Alabama (1-2 SU, 2-1 ATS) may be a lookahead spot for Appalachian State (2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS) with Arkansas State (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) up next, a team that has sharpened its knife by being dissected by No. 1 Alabama, although the Red Wolves played a solid game despite the box score, final score and stats. It’s hard for mortal men to beat the perennial FBS College Football Machine that is the Crimson Tide (ranked No. 1 108 straight weeks). In 2015, Appalachian State won at USA 34-27 but failed to cover ATS as big 19-point road favorites. The all-time series is 1-1.
Virginia Tech at DukeSaturday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Why it’s a lookahead for VT: With No. 8 Notre Dame up next in Blacksburg in Week 6 (Oct. 6) in a huge non-conference game for both teams, Virginia Tech may not get up enough for upstart Duke at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham in this huge ACC Coastal Division clash. The Hokies (+2.0 tpg, tied #5) had Week 3 off after Hurricane Florence forced the cancellation of their game with East Carolina in Blacksburg, and with no common week off in the immediate future, both teams will wait to make a final decision on its potential rescheduling. In Week 4, VT suffered one of the biggest upsets of the decade when FCS Old Dominion upset the then-23rd ranked Hokies in Norfolk as 32/1 moneyline underdogs. Four of the last 5 Duke-VT games have been close (3, 1, 2, 3, 21), and the way the Blue Devils are playing, this is definitely a game they can win, albeit in a likely low-scoring, chess-like game in the Tar Heel State.
Boise State at WyomingSaturday, 7 p.m. ET (CBS Sports)
Why it’s a lookahead for Boise State: Sandwiched between Oklahoma State (10-3 SU in 2017) in Week 3 and San Diego State (10-3 SU in 2017), this Week 5 date at War Memorial Stadium (Desso Challenge Pro) in Laramie against Wyoming (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) could be tricky even with former Cowboys QB Josh Allen now plying his wares for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL. When these two met last season in MWC play on the ugly Blue Smurf Turf in Boise, the Broncos won 24-14 but failed to cover ATS as big 15½-point home chalks. Wyoming is 3-0 ATS L3 in this series but just 1-3 ATS the last 4 at their Cowboy State home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play ...
8 Possible FBS (I-A) Week 5 Letdown Games
No. 20 Oregon at Cal: Ducks off nasty loss to No. 7 Stanford in Week 4, on road vs. down Cal
Michigan State vs. Central Michigan: Sparty off tough IU, ASU, Utah State games
No. 1 Alabama vs. UL Lafayette: Tide off Ole Miss, A&M, now non-conference
Oklahoma State at Kansas: Cowboys' last “easy game,” KU No. 1 in TO’s (+4.0)
Rice at Wake Forest: Demon Deacons off BC-ND w/CLEM next, now Rice (1-11 SU in ‘17)
Texas at Kansas State: Longhorns off USC-TCU , Wildcats 8-2 ATS L11 series
Florida at No. 14 Mississippi State: Bulldogs have SEC nasties Auburn, LSU, A&M up next
Iowa State at No. 17 TCU: Frogs face Texas Tech, No. 5 Oklahoma next two games
A Fine 9 Week 5 Must-See Matchups3 Week 5 Moneyline Dogs Worth Consideration?
NORTHWESTERN over No. 19 Michigan
Syracuse over No. 3 CLEMSON
No. 25 Brigham Young over No. 10 WASHINGTON
NCAAF WEEK 5 EARLY ATS PICKS: Syracuse, Duke