The 2023 college football season has been a blast so far, and Week 4’s action was absolutely thrilling. Although the Week 5 card looks a lot less meaningful, there are still plenty of fun games on tap, including a ranked matchup on Friday night. Without further ado, let’s dive into my college football Week 5 predictions so that we can talk about the best Week 5 picks for Utah-Oregon State, Florida-Kentucky, LSU-Ole Miss, Arkansas-Texas A&M and more college football action.
College Football Week 5 Predictions: Picks for Utah-Oregon State, Florida-Kentucky, Arkansas-Texas A&M, LSU-Ole Miss and More
For updated Temple-Tulsa odds and picks, click here!
The Temple Owls will square off against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Thursday. You might be busy watching the Packers and Lions on Thursday Night Football, but you should consider flipping over to ESPN for at least a few minutes of this game. Tulsa is trading as a 3.5-point home favorite, but new head coach Kevin Wilson, formerly the offensive coordinator at Ohio State, has been doing such an excellent job with this team that they’re underrated at this price in their home stadium.
The Golden Hurricane have played a monstrous schedule to start the year, much more difficult than the one the Owls have played. Tulsa beat FCS Arkansas-Pine Bluff in Week 1 before getting blown out by No. 7 Washington and No. 14 Oklahoma. They bounced back with a road win over Northern Illinois last week. In contrast, Temple beat Akron in Week 1 but then got blown out by unranked Rutgers and No. 18 Miami, scoring a win over FCS Norfolk State between those losses.
Despite the tough schedule, Tulsa leads Temple in a few key metrics. Tulsa’s quarterback, Cardell Williams, ranks 48th in passing efficiency (145.5), far ahead of Temple’s 106th-ranked E.J. Warner (112.4). Williams also ranks 69th in yards per attempt (7.2), still far ahead of 98th-ranked Warner (5.9). Tulsa runs a fast-paced, pass-heavy scheme that should exploit a Temple defense that ranks 99th in yards allowed per pass attempt (8.3).
Tulsa will also benefit from home-field advantage. The Golden Hurricane are only 7-7 at home since 2021, but they’re 7-3 as a home favorite. Meanwhile, Temple has struggled on the road under head coach Stan Drayton. Drayton’s Owls are an awful 1-11 on the road since he took over. He also failed to beat the Golden Hurricane in his last two seasons. I’m playing a five-team, two-way moneyline round-robin this week, and Tulsa is one of the legs.
Temple-Tulsa College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Tulsa ML -170 at FanDuel (Round Robin)
For updated Louisville-NC State odds and picks, click here!
If you don’t have anything else going on this Friday night, this ACC battle might be of interest. The resurgent Louisville Cardinals will visit the NC State Wolfpack as a slight road favorite, and I expect head coach Jeff Brohm to keep winning in his first year at the helm of his alma mater. The Cardinals rank a ferocious fifth in yards per play (7.7), which far outranks 103rd-ranked NC State (4.6). It’s looking like Brohm brought the Spoilermaker magic to Louisville, and a big road win should be in the cards for him.
The Cardinals have a massive leg up on offense. Quarterback Jack Plummer, who looked like a solid but unspectacular product at Purdue before transferring to Cal, may finally be reaching his ceiling. He ranks seventh in passing efficiency (189.1) and third in yards per pass attempt (11.5) in Brohm’s offense this year. He’ll face Brennan Armstrong, who ranks 101st in passing efficiency and 98th in yards per pass attempt (6.4).
Although NC State has played a more challenging schedule and boasts a tougher defense, I’m fading the Wolfpack at home this week. NC State narrowly beat bad Connecticut and Virginia teams and suffered a blowout beatdown to Notre Dame. Louisville eked out one-possession road wins over Georgia Tech and Indiana but blew out Boston College at home just a week after they challenged Florida State.
I also just have more faith in Jeff Brohm as a coach than Dave Doeren, especially in this spot. Doeren’s Wolfpack have gone 48-22 at home under his leadership but are a terrible 4-16 as home underdogs. The Boilermakers went 14-14 on the road under Brohm but were 6-5 as road favorites, winning by 7.4 points per game. The game environment in Raleigh is somewhat concerning, but Plummer’s 150.5 road passing efficiency grade is still far better than Armstong’s 122.7 home grade.
Louisville-NC State College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Louisville ML -162 at FanDuel (Round Robin)
For updated Utah-Oregon State odds and picks, click here!
We don’t often get ranked matchups on Friday night, but we’ve got just that on FS1 this weekend. The No. 10 Utah Utes will visit the No. 19 Oregon State Beavers in a crucial Pac-12 battle. The Utes have been playing without star quarterback Cam Rising, whose status for Friday’s game remains up in the air. We probably won’t know if Rising is playing until close to kickoff, which makes this one difficult to handicap. Still, because Utah is operating on a short week and Rising’s return hinges on his doctor’s approval, I’m skeptical he’ll take the field in Corvallis this week.
The Utes have suffered a boatload of injuries this season, and, at tenth in the country, I think their current roster is hopelessly overrated. Last week, the Utes averaged a dreadful 3.4 yards per play against UCLA and tallied only 219. Their offense scored a single touchdown, and their defense nearly gave the game away at the end. The Utes rank 108th in yards per play (4.5) through Week 4, and while Rising’s return would help the offense immensely, he doesn’t have as good of a supporting cast as he once did.
The Utes draw a good Beavers team on the road this week. Utah has played on the road just once this year, and they barely scraped by a bad Baylor team, needing 14 fourth-quarter points to come back and take the lead. Meanwhile, Oregon State ranks an impressive 14th in yards per play (6.9) and is a nearly unblemished 13-1 as a home favorite under head coach Jonathan Smith. Utah blew out Oregon State in Salt Lake City last year but lost in Corvallis with Rising under center in 2021.
If Cam Rising can’t go — or if a concerning number of other starters can’t go for Utah — expect the spread to widen in Oregon State’s favor. Whittingham is a great coach, but Smith had his number the last time they met in Corvallis, and that was without the elite rushing combo of quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and running back Damien Martinez. The duo has led Oregon State to rank eighth in yards per rush attempt (5.9). Maintaining that against Utah’s defense will be tough, but short rest could limit their ability to maintain the unsustainable 1.7 yards allowed per rush attempt they have posted through four weeks.
Utah-Oregon State College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Oregon State ML -154 at FanDuel (Round Robin)
For updated Florida-Kentucky odds and picks, click here!
The No. 22 Florida Gators will visit the unranked Kentucky Wildcats. They’re road underdogs despite their ranking, and Kentucky is a narrow 2.5-point favorite. Both teams are 1-0 in SEC play. Although the Gators have faced a much tougher schedule, I still expect the Wildcats to come away with the win. Kentucky enters Week 5 ranked eighth in yards per play (7.2), far ahead of 61st-ranked Florida (5.5), and second in yards allowed per play (3.9), far ahead of 38th-ranked Florida (5).
Both teams are starting new transfer quarterbacks. The Gators plucked Graham Mertz from Wisconsin. He currently ranks 29th in both passing efficiency (163.5) and yards per pass attempt (9). The Wildcats got Devin Leary from NC State, and he ranks a slightly worse 44th in passing efficiency (147.8) and 39th in yards per pass attempt (8.6). However, Leary is performing just slightly above his career average in the metric (140) while Mertz is vastly outperforming his average (132.2), which suggests some regression is in order.
The Gators just wrapped up a three-game homestand that saw them beat FCS McNeese State, Tennessee and Charlotte. The first two wins were impressive, but Florida scored only 22 points against Charlotte after the offense had to settle for five field goal attempts against a defense that ranks 126th in yards allowed per play (7.2). The Gators went a disastrous 1-for-9 on third down, bringing them to 126th (25%) in third-down conversion rate on the year. Meanwhile, the Wildcats rank an efficient 14th (50%).
After a disappointing 2022 season, Kentucky brought back offensive coordinator Liam Coen, and he should lead them to another SEC win on Saturday. The Coen-led Wildcats scored a win over the Gators in Lexington back in 2021. Kentucky’s offense ended that season ranked 14th in yards per play (6.3) and 16th in the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), largely because of an elite ground game that ranked 11th in yards per rush attempt (5.6). Kentucky lost star rusher Chris Rodriguez in the offseason but replaced him with Vanderbilt transfer Re’Mahn Davis, who scorched Florida for 131 yards from scrimmage on 4.3 yards per touch in Nashville last year.
Florida-Kentucky College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Kentucky ML -142 at FanDuel (Round Robin)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Louisiana: +360 | Minnesota: -480
Louisiana +12.5: -110 | Minnesota -12.5: -110
Over 47.5: -115 | Under 47.5: -105
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 30 at 12 p.m. ET
For updated Louisiana-Minnesota odds and picks, click here!
The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will visit the Minnesota Golden Gophers this weekend, just one week after Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck threw away a win over lowly Northwestern. The Gophers had already given up 14 fourth-quarter points before a terrible touchback let Northwestern drive downfield and score a game-tying touchdown with just two seconds on the clock. Fleck’s team now draws a surprisingly solid Louisiana team, and it’ll be difficult for this terrible offense to cover the 12.5-point spread.
To be clear, Louisiana isn’t good — Minnesota’s offense is just that bad. The Cajuns are 3-1 with a bad road loss to a terrible Old Dominion team. They haven’t played a Power Five team yet but are 12th in yards per play (7.1) and 57th in yards allowed per play (5.3). For context, Minnesota is 72nd in yards per play (5.3) and 65th in yards allowed per play (5.5). Louisiana quarterback Ben Wooldridge ranks 63rd in passing efficiency (139.4) and 70th in yards per pass attempt (7.4). Minnesota’s Athan Kaliakmanis ranks 112th (105.8) and 111th (5.6).
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The Gopher offense just doesn’t score enough points to trust them to cover this spread. Under Fleck, the Gophers are a steady 21-18-1 against the spread at home, but they’re winning those games by only 9.2 points — not a wide enough margin to cover the posted number. Fleck’s run-heavy offense that currently ranks 23rd in rushing play percentage (57.7%) should find plenty of success against Louisiana’s defensive front, but that’ll just help them wind the clock, limiting their ability to score the points required to cover the spread.
Further, while Minnesota’s defense was elite last year, it hasn’t looked so elite this year. The Gophers lost multiple defensive backs to the 2023 NFL Draft, namely safety Jordan Howden and cornerback Terell Smith, and scored a -3 on defense in the Action Network’s Transfer Assets and Returning Production (TARP) metric. Coughing up 6.2 yards per play to a Northwestern team that entered Week 4 ranked 110th (4.3) in the metric was embarrassing and could be a sign of things to come for this unit.
Louisiana-Minnesota College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Louisiana +12.5 -110 at BetMGM
For updated Arkansas-Texas A&M odds and picks, click here!
The Arkansas Razorbacks and Texas A&M Aggies will play a neutral-site game in another installment of the Southwest Classic. The game has been held in Arlington for 11 of the last 14 meetings between these teams, and, after years of dominance from Texas A&M, Arkansas finally got a win in 2021. The Razorbacks then lost in 2022, but these teams are more evenly matchup now than in the recent past — evidenced by the fact that neither program enters this matchup with an AP Poll ranking for the first time since 2018.
I want action on Arkansas early because of the uncertainty surrounding the status of their starting quarterback, Conner Weigman. Weigman suffered an ankle injury and limped to the locker room in the Aggies’ win over Auburn. His status is questionable at best for this Saturday’s Southwest Classic, and if he can’t go, it’ll be up to backup Max Johnson to lead the way. Johnson excelled against Auburn, but on average, he is a worse quarterback than Arkansas’ K.J. Jefferson. Johnson owns a career passing efficiency grade of 142.3, far worse than Jefferson’s 163.7.
Arkansas has faced a far tougher schedule than A&M, yet the Razorbacks are close behind the Aggies in some key metrics. After beating FCS Western Carolina and Kent State, the Hogs have fallen to BYU and now-No. 13 LSU in consecutive weeks. Texas A&M opened the season with a win over New Mexico but quickly fell to now-No. 18 Miami before scoring wins over Louisiana-Monroe and Auburn at Kyle Field. Arkansas enters Week 5 ranked a bad 62nd in yards per play (5.4) and a not-so-great 64th in yards allowed per play (5.5), while Texas A&M ranks 23rd in both yards per play (6.4) and yards allowed per play (4.6).
Although I doubt this injury-riddled Arkansas team will win outright, K.J. Jefferson and head coach Sam Pittman give them enough of a spark to cover a generous spread, especially if the Aggies have to turn to a backup quarterback. Pittman has gone a solid 3-1 in neutral-site games since taking the reins in Fayetteville. Meanwhile, A&M’s Jimbo Fisher is 3-5 in neutral-site games since his arrival in 2018. He went 7-8 in neutral-site games at Florida State as well. Buy Arkansas as a 7-point dog before those looking to bet against Conner Weigman’s availability steam the number any lower.
Arkansas-Texas A&M College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Arkansas +7 -110 at Caesars
For updated LSU-Ole Miss odds and picks, click here!
The No. 13 LSU Tigers will visit the No. 20 Ole Miss Rebels in a pivotal SEC West battle. The Rebs just fell to the Crimson Tide last week, so if they want to stay in the conference race, they’ll have to topple LSU and hope for some help later in the year. Both teams fell in the rankings this week, Ole Miss after losing to Alabama, and LSU after narrowly beating an unranked Arkansas team. With the Rebs trading as 2.5-point dogs after their loss, I’m excited about the opportunity to fade Brian Kelly’s Tigers as road favorites. LSU is 2-3 against the spread on the road and 1-3 against the spread as a road favorite since Kelly’s arrival.
Lane Kiffin’s Rebs got carved up in Death Valley last year, but it’s important to remember that the game was close until the second half because Kiffin’s offense found an edge against Kelly’s defense. Ole Miss actually won the first half, 20-17, before a late-game surge spearheaded by a turnover deep in LSU territory. The Rebs will get a chance to take revenge at home this year, and although they trail the Tigers in some key metrics, it’s usually proved sharp to fade quarterback Jayden Daniels on the road. Daniels’ passing efficiency grade dips from 156.6 in home games to only 142.1 on the road. His 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio at home spikes to 10:3 on the road.
Kiffin is only 10-10-1 at home since arriving in 2020, but his Rebs covered in their lone game as a home dog, and their defense looks the best it has in his time here. The Rebs rank 35th in yards allowed per play (4.9) entering Week 5, which far outpaces the Tigers (5.8). It’s not like the Rebs have just been beating up pumpkins, either — they held a then-ranked Tulane squad to 4.2 yards per play and limited Alabama to 5.4 on the road. Meanwhile, LSU coughed up 7.5 to Florida State and 6.3 to Arkansas. Holding Mississippi State to 4 was impressive, but the transitioning Bulldog offense limited themselves more than the Tigers did.
It’s just hard to pass up a home dog in SEC West play right now, especially when the favorite is LSU. The Tigers have started the year 2-2 against the spread and are 10-8 under Brian Kelly, but at No. 13 in the AP Poll, I still believe they’re overrated, and this line feels like bait the public will gobble up. The Rebs are 3-1 against the spread to start the season and are fighting to stay in the SEC hunt. Expect Kiffin to pull out all the stops against a team he got out to an early lead against on the road last season.
LSU-Ole Miss College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Ole Miss +2.5 -105 at FanDuel
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
Iowa State: +860 | Oklahoma: -1600
Iowa State +19.5: -105 | Oklahoma -19.5: -115
Over 48.5: -110 | Under 48.5: -110
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time: Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. ET
For updated Iowa State-Oklahoma odds and picks, click here!
The No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners will host the Iowa State Cyclones in what should be an absolute blowout. This Iowa State team is awful, but this Oklahoma team looks to be one of the best in college football — at least when it comes to putting points on the board. Oklahoma blew out Arkansas State by 73, beat SMU by 17, blew out Tulsa by 49 and then topped Cincinnati by 14. The Sooners are averaging the third-most points per game (46.8) and the ninth-most points per game at home (50.5).
The Sooners have a massive advantage on offense and should score at will even against a solid Iowa State defense. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel ranks fifth in passing efficiency (197.2) and 10th in yards per pass attempt (10.4) — far ahead of Iowa State’s Rocco Becht, who ranks 55th (142.4) and 64th (7.5). Gabriel’s efforts have helped Oklahoma rank 14th in yards per play (6.9); Becht and Iowa State rank 82nd (5). Oklahoma’s defense also ranks 13th in yards allowed per play (4.3), also better than 23rd-ranked Iowa State (4.6).
The Cyclones head into Norman as 19.5-point underdogs, but that spread doesn’t reflect how much worse their team is than the Sooners. Last year, Iowa State lost to a worse Sooners team by 14 in Ames, but they at least held them to 4.5 yards per play. But three of their players went in the 2023 NFL Draft, including first-round defensive end Will McDonald IV, and a bad Oklahoma State team led by Alan Bowman just went into Ames and averaged 5.7 yards per play last week. Iowa State’s lone road game this year saw them lose to Ohio, bringing the Cyclones to 4-8 on the road since 2021.
It’ll be difficult for Gabriel and the Sooners to cover a 19.5-point spread any week, but this is a fantastic spot for them to show off their offensive prowess at home. These aren’t last year’s Oklahoma Sooners, and the offense that entered Week 4 ranked a dominant third in the FEI should assert itself on Saturday in Norman. Head coach Brent Venables may be only 4-4 against the spread at home since taking over in 2022, but his Sooners own an average margin of victory of 20 points through that span, enough to cover this spread.
Iowa State-Oklahoma College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Oklahoma -19.5 -115 at FanDuel
For updated Troy-Georgia State odds and picks, click here!
After a disappointing 2022 campaign, the Georgia State Panthers are going on a revenge tour in Sun Belt play this year. They just took down Grayson McCall and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on the road last Thursday, giving them a few extra days to prepare for Saturday’s home game against the Troy Trojans. Georgia State is an even 38-38 at home under head coach Shawn Elliott, but the market is still yet to fully correct for how much better the Panthers have looked — and how much worse their Sun Belt competition has looked.
Georgia State enters Week 5 with a massive advantage on offense. The Panthers rank 30th in yards per play (6.2) and 51st in yards allowed per play (5.2). Meanwhile, the Trojans rank a dismal 82nd in yards per play (5) and only 48th in yards allowed per play (5.1). Panthers quarterback Darren Grainger ranks 19th in passing efficiency (171) and 20th in yards per pass attempt (9.5), far ahead of Trojans quarterback Gunnar Watson, who ranks 67th (138) and 53rd (7.3). It’s worth noting that Grainger has also added 263 yards and three scores with his legs, while Watson has lost 78 with his.
Too many people forgot how good Shawn Elliott’s Panthers were before their unlucky 2022 campaign. The Panthers went 8-5 and 6-2 in conference play in 2021. They even stomped the Trojans by 27 at home. But 2022 saw them lose five one-possession games, including one to Drake Maye-led UNC, leading many to write the Panthers off this year. Georgia State reloaded with some offensive weapons in the offseason and added a new defensive coordinator in Chad Staggs, who is quite familiar with Troy from years of Sun Belt play.
I’m backing the Panthers to beat the Trojans at home. Troy’s luck has run out — the Trojans ranked third in luck factor last year, far ahead of the 129th-ranked Panthers. Georgia State’s slight rest advantage and impressive offense should yield a crucial home win. Grainger’s passing career efficiency grade ticks up from 149 to 151.5 at home, but Watson’s ticks down from 136.2 to 127.3. The Panthers are 6-3 at home against Sun Belt since Grainger took over the starting job in 2021. Look for him to keep rolling in Center Parc Credit Union Stadium this Saturday.
Troy-Georgia State College Football Week 5 Pick & Prediction: Georgia State -125 at FanDuel (Round Robin)
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