2018 CFB Picks: Week 5

My allocation of units last week was regrettable. I’m sorry I failed you. We’re going 2 units across the board this week.


Army (+7.5) over BUFFALO

I really like Buffalo this year, but this is far too many points. This should be closer to a field goal because I really don’t think there’s a big difference between the two. If you’ve followed along closely with this blog the past couple years, you know Army has been the biggest moneymaker around here. They’re 7-2 ATS since 2015 when they’re dogs on the road by more than a touchdown.

It should be noted that stud WR for Buffalo, Anthony Johnson, has a hamstring issue. He’ll either be hampered (hamstrings seem important for a skill position) or out.

DUKE (-4.5) over Virginia Tech

I would’ve told you a week ago that I thought Duke was better than Virginia Tech. And then VT lost to ODU and lost Josh Jackson in the process. And, yes, I’m aware that Duke is also starting Quentin Harris. Two things: 1. Quentin Harris is a better, more stable QB than Ryan Willis. And 2. VT is more reliant on their offense to win games.

The concern with VT heading into the season was that the Hokie defense would struggle after losing so many pros. That concern was soothed when they absolutely dominated FSU on opening night. Turns out, that might’ve been fool’s gold because FSU’s offense is struggling against everybody. Outside of that game, VT appeared to do well against FCS William & Mary, but they were one-upped by a shutout by James Madison the next week against the Tribe.

Then of course, the Hokies gave up 632 yards and 49 points to Old Dominion. I don’t care if they didn’t take ODU seriously, that’s horrendous. That’s not something that is fixed in a week’s time, especially going on the road against a good team with a really good head coach.


Utah’s offense has just been so remarkably inefficient. The Ute defense has been elite, but I like where the Wazzu offense is headed with Gardner Minshew. James Williams isn’t a game-breaking back, but he does a little bit of everything for them. They’ve got seven guys who already have double-digit catches through four games.

Ever since Leach turned the corner here in 2015, the Cougs are 4-1 ATS as a home dog and have won three of those games outright. Every analytics measure I respect – including mine – has Washington State winning the game. I’m sure the bye week will help out Utah, but I’m not sure that’s long enough to give them a competent offense.

FRESNO STATE (-7.5) over Toledo

Fresno is coming off a bye, which was preceded by a blowout win at UCLA. Toledo is hitting the road for the first time this year, with an inexperienced QB,  and it’s a long trip. I think it’s a two touchdown game.

PENN STATE (+3.5) over Ohio State

It scares the hell out of me, but I don’t think there’s a ton of separation between the two. Once again, the analytics say Penn State should be favored in this game. Dwayne Haskins is really good, but Trace McSorley has established himself as one of the best in the game and has a lot more experience in these big games.

GEORGIA SOUTHERN (+3) over Arkansas State

GSU has taken a step this year and they might just be the better team between these two. Arkansas State’s passing game was supposed to be lethal this year and it just hasn’t been. And the Red Wolves have been terrible at stopping the run this year, which is problematic going against an option team. The Eagles are coming off a bye.

GEORGIA STATE (+7.5) over UL Monroe

ULM was also supposed to be a team that could rack up the points this year, but they’re only averaging 23 per game so far. It’s not easy taking Georgia State, but they’ve played a tough schedule so far. If you look at last week, they were 9 point dogs to WMU at home. Obviously you adjust ratings week-to-week, but it insinuates that WMU is only 1.5 points better than ULM. I’ve got it more like 10. I think the Panthers can win this outright.

Coastal Carolina (+14) over TROY

This game should be around 5 or 6. Even if you adjust for CC probably not having their QB, it’s maybe 7 or 8. But I’ll still take the Chanticleers here. Freshman Bryce Carpenter stepped in during the ULL game and led a huge couple of drives to ice away the game on the road. He was 5-for-5 for 82 yards and a touchdown in the process. I still think Troy is overvalued as a team and they wouldn’t have covered last week against ULM if ULM didn’t shoot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions.

NORTH TEXAS (-7) over Louisiana Tech

I’m not gonna lie, the line stinks out loud. But I have a passion for running into bear traps. Based on performance this year, you could make the argument that the line should be double this. Not that La Tech has been bad, but NT has been rolling people over. My biggest fear is that the Mean Green start to get a little full of themselves, but if it was going to happen, you feel like it would’ve been last week at Liberty after they trounced Arkansas.

Also a little comforting, NT is 9-2 ATS their last 11 as a one score favorite at home with those wins coming by an average of more than 20 points per game.

SAN JOSE STATE (+11.5) over Hawaii

Pretty simply, I think Hawaii is overvalued and SJSU is undervalued. SJSU is also coming off a bye, which is always big, but especially big when you’re preparing for a unique system, which in this case is the Run and Shoot.

This is also a tough stretch for Hawaii in a couple of ways. Not only are they playing a rested team, but they’ve also played more football than anyone else so far, starting in Week 0 and now playing their sixth straight week.

They’re also in a three game stretch that started with a half day trip all the way to Army, flying all the way back to the islands, and now back on the road again. Last year they faced three stretches like this – road game, home game, road game – and they went 0-3 SU, 0-3 ATS and they missed the spread number by an average of 18.2 PPG in those three.

YTD: 18-19 (-7.1u)


UMass (+13.5) over OHIO

Ohio is just overvalued for what they’ve shown through the first few weeks. I’d like to take UMass, but there’s uncertainty at QB with injuries, they’ve been really bad on the road so far, and it feels like Ohio is going to break loose soon and get back to their level of expectation.

CAL (+2.5) over Oregon

It feels like a trap.

Texas (-8.5) over KANSAS STATE

Also feels like a trap. I just don’t think a Bill Snyder team can be this bad for a whole season.

Cincinnati (-17) over UCONN

Cincinnati should cover this, but I wonder if UConn will have their full attention.

TULANE (+14) over Memphis

Tulane can be scrappy, but they haven’t shown much yet and Memphis blew their doors off last year.

EMU (-3.5) over NIU

Maybe if it was 2.5. I believe Chris Creighton has a personal creed that every football game should be decided by a field goal or less.

ECU (-7) over Old Dominion

Not sure how ODU responds this week. Didn’t get a good feeling when I heard an interview with HC Bobby Wilder this morning – Thursday – and he was still going on and on about the VT game. Got another game in two days, chief.

Temple (+13.5) over BOSTON COLLEGE

Temple’s playing a lot better, but BC might have something to prove after laying an egg last week.

APPALACHIAN STATE (-26) over South Alabama

I’m just afraid to pull the trigger and give 26.

LOUISVILLE (+6) over Florida State

Still tough to trust FSU giving points on the road, no?

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