College Football Week 5 Betting Preview: We’re Fading Alabama Again

  • We’re looking at Week 5 of college football, and making picks
  • Yes, we’re fading Alabama again
  • Why is Oklahoma a huge favorite again?

We went 3-1 last week! That brings us to 9-7-0 for the season, and it marks the first time we’ve moved off .500.

As per usual, we’re mostly picking underdogs. This has proved to be a winning strategy so far, so there’s no reason to abandon it now.

Ohio State (#4) at Penn State (#9)

Team Spread
Ohio State (#4) -4.0 (-105)
Penn State (#9) +4.0 (-105)

You know that we like to stay away from road favorites. You know how much we like Penn State. You know how skeptical we are about Ohio State, as a program.

Ohio State vs Penn State Statistical Comparison

2018 Stat Ohio State Penn State
Record 4-0 4-0
S&P+ Defensive Rank 18th 22nd
S&P+ Offensive Rank 2nd 5th
S&P+ Overall Rank 2nd 6th

The Buckeyes have yet to trip up, but Penn State will be their biggest challenge yet. The Nittany Lions looked awkward in their debut against App State, bu then trounced Pittsburgh, Kent State, and Illinois. Any tricks James Franklin has up his sleeve will be deployed in this home effort.

Also, sometimes you just have to bet on the better quarterback. And Trace McSorley is proving himself to be one of the best in the country.

Betting Tip: Penn State plus the points.

South Carolina at Kentucky (#17)

Team Spread
South Carolina +1.0 (-110)
Kentucky (#17) -1.0 (-110)

Kentucky has been consistently impressive this year, beating Florida and Mississippi State in games that honestly were not competitive. Bettors are still a little allergic to the Kentucky brand, the Wildcats have been near the bottom of the SEC East since time immemorial, but this is a good team.

South Carolina at Kentucky Statistical Comparison

2018 Stat South Carolina Kentucky
Record 2-1 4-0
S&P+ Defensive Rank 36th 7th
S&P+ Offensive Rank 25th 57th
S&P+ Overall Rank 25th 14th

I don’t like Will Muschamp’s chances at all here. South Carolina have broadly failed to live up to their hype, and have only a win over Vanderbilt to be very proud of. Getting blown out by a Georgia team that just wanted to go home doesn’t say much for your big-game ability.

Man, it feels good to bet against Will Muschamp again.

Betting Tip: Kentucky at home, and I’ll happily give you the point.

UL Lafayette at Alabama (#1)

Team Spread
UL Lafayette +49.0 (-110)
Alabama (#1) -49.0 (-110)

Alright, no.

Alabama gets big spreads, and I understand that. Usually, they cover these big spreads. That’s fine.

Alabama is very nearly a 50-point favorite to win this game. I cannot abide a 49-point favorite, and picking Alabama to cover here goes against everything I stand for.

There is no statistical comparison between UL-Lafayette and Alabama, but here’s one anyway:

UL Lafayette vs Alabama Statistical Comparison

2018 Stat Alabama UL Lafayette
Record 4-0 1-2
S&P+ Defensive Rank 12th 125th
S&P+ Offensive Rank 1st 35th
S&P+ Overall Rank 1st 99th

And yet, I’m still picking UL-Lafayette to cover. Because this line is too long, and I can’t support the laying of this many points.

Interestingly, S&P+ doesn’t quite project Alabama to cover here. That’s promising, as S&P+ doesn’t account for factors like “pulling the starters in the second quarter” and running power twenty times in the second half.

Betting Tip: When the spread exceeds the over/under of a good NFL game, take the points.

Baylor at Oklahoma (#6)

Team Spread
Baylor +24.0 (-115)
Oklahoma (#6) -24.0 (-105)

Oklahoma went up against a huge spread last week, and it didn’t work out for them. They were dragged into overtime by Army, but that wasn’t the important thing.

Baylor vs Oklahoma Statistical Comparison

2018 Stat Baylor Oklahoma
Record 3-1 4-0
S&P+ Defensive Rank 75th 52nd
S&P+ Offensive Rank 26th 3rd
S&P+ Overall Rank 47th 8th

The important thing was the defense. Oklahoma struggled to get Army’s undersized, one-dimensional offense off the field, and the Black Knights controlled the ball for almost 45 minutes. Baylor has a better, more multi-dimensional offense than Army, and can (if they want) do something very similar. Kyler Murray’s heroics won’t be worth much if he only has twenty minutes to show them off in.

This was a deeply worrying performance for Oklahoma. Don’t bet on them to cover any kind of spread for a while.

Betting Tip: Until Oklahoma develops a capable defense, expect opponents to drag them into long, tough games.

Geoff Johnson

MTS co-founder Geoff Johnson is a lifelong Mets fan, something he can't do anything about. He has a great track record when it comes to wagering on baseball – largely because he's more than willing to bet against the Mets. His career profits are impressive, but not quite as good as his handsome friend Frank Lorenzo. He wishes he hadn't let Frank write his profile.