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Brendan's Best Bets: Week 5 picks

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

We had another average week in Week 4. We finished 4-4 in our 8 plays.

Week 5 doesn't feature as many big games as Week 4 did, but there is still plenty of value on the board.

For this edition of Brendan’s Best Bets, we are taking a look at the Week 5 slate. Odds are provided by FanDuel Sportsbook.

Sam Houston +6.5 (-102)

Sam Houston hosts Jacksonville State on Thursday night in a battle between the two new FBS teams. Through the first few weeks, these two teams have experienced quite opposite results. The Gamecocks are 3-1 while the Bearkats are 0-3. The Bearkats have been playing good defensively. They held BYU and Air Force to just 27 combined points. They should have success holding an average at best Jacksonville State offense at home.

This is going to be a low-scoring game and the first game that Sam Houston has a legit shot at winning at the FBS level. Take the Bearkats and the points at home.

BYU moneyline -108

BYU hosts Cincinnati on Friday night in a battle of Big 12 newcomers. The wrong team is favored in this game. The Bearcats have lost two straight home games and now they have to travel two time zones west to play at 10:15 eastern time in Provo, which is a tough place to play.

The Cougars have the offensive firepower to pull away from Cincinnati. BYU is also coming home after two straight road games. I love this spot for the Cougars.

Syracuse +7 (-110)

Syracuse is quietly 4-0 this season. The Orange have been circling this game on their calendar since the start of the season as they host Clemson. The Tigers are 2-2. They are out of the playoff race and might even be out of ACC title contention and it’s September. Clemson always has trouble against Syracuse. Four of the last six meetings have been one possession games.

This spread was lower but has been moved all the way up to seven points. Take the seven points with the Orange. They have the offensive talent with quarterback Garrett Shrader and a solid defense to make this a game.

Louisiana +11.5 (-110)

Louisiana plays at Minnesota on Saturday. The Golden Gophers led Northwestern 31-10 heading into the fourth quarter before the Wildcats sent the game into overtime and beat Minnesota. The Ragin Cajuns had two solid wins against UAB and Buffalo and they aren’t a bad team.

Minnesota will be without running back Darius Taylor who is one of the top young backs in the nation. The Golden Gophers aren’t going to put up a ton of points. It would not shock me if Louisiana won this game outright.

USF +3.5 (-120)

USF travels to Navy on Saturday. The Bulls are coming off a big win against Rice. Navy is coming off a bye week. USF quarterback Byrum Brown has been a pleasant surprise for the Bulls this season. He is a true dual threat guy that had a ton of success against the Rice defense. I expect him to give Navy some trouble.

The Bulls have been much better under first year head coach Alex Golesh and I expect this to be a high scoring game in Annapolis. I like USF to win this game outright but take the 3.5 points to be safe.

Vanderbilt +14 (-110)

This is another line that has moved up to two touchdowns. Missouri is hitting the road and traveling to Vanderbilt. Tigers quarterback Brady Cook and wide receiver Luther Burden were questionable heading into Saturday but they will play against the Commodores. Will they be 100% is the question.

Since this line moved up to 14 points, take Vandy and the points. I would not play this unless it’s at 14 points.

East Carolina +3.5 (-118)

East Carolina plays at Rice on Saturday. The Pirates got off to a rough 0-3 start to the season but they didn’t play badly in any one of those losses. East Carolina won 44-0 last week to get back on track and give them some confidence against a banged up Rice team.

I don’t think quarterback JT Daniels will be at 100% for Rice. The Owls aren’t great at running the football and East Carolina should have a good game defensively to keep this super close.

Georgia State ML -110

One of the most surprising teams at the group of five level this season has been Georgia State. Quarterback Darren Grainger has improved significantly especially in the passing game. He had a completion percentage under 60 percent the past two seasons. This year, he is completing passes at almost a 70 percent clip. Troy’s defense is no slouch, but this isn’t the same defense as last season. They gave up 42 points to Kansas State and the Wildcats quarterback Will Howard ran for 33 yards and two touchdowns in addition to his three passing touchdowns.

With this spread, Vegas is basically saying that Troy would be favored on a neutral field. Georgia State is simply the better team here and they are playing at home.

South Carolina +11.5 (-108)

South Carolina at Tennessee is off the national radar but Neyland Stadium will be electric on Saturday night. Tennessee will be looking for revenge after quarterback Spencer Rattler and the Gamecocks beat the Volunteers and ruined their College Football Playoff hopes last year. Josh Heupel and the Vols have not forgotten about that game.

The key for Tennessee is if they can run the ball to set up the pass. In Tennessee’s loss at Florida, they only averaged 3.3 yards per rush. They need to average more than that to open up the play action game to expose the South Carolina defense. This is not the same Volunteers team as last year. Joe Milton is still a concern at the quarterback position. I like Tennessee to win at home in front of a loud crowd, but South Carolina should be able to keep this game within one score.

Charlotte +23.5 (-110)

Charlotte head coach Biff Poggi knows how to motivate his team. The 49ers are playing at SMU on Saturday night. The Mustangs have a solid offense led by Preston Stone at quarterback but Charlotte has a solid defense. The 49ers held Florida to just 22 points last week.

If this line is anywhere above three touchdowns, take Charlotte and the points. This team is talented enough to hang around late in the game. This will also be Charlotte’s first conference game in the AAC.

West Virginia +14.5 (-125)

West Virginia travels to Fort Worth to take on TCU. Both teams are on a three game win streak. The Mountaineers beat Duquesne, Pitt and Texas Tech at home. TCU beat Nicholls State, Houston and rival SMU in its last three games. These two teams are both riding momentum heading into Saturday night’s matchup.

With TCU playing at home, I expect the Horned Frogs to win. They still have a solid team despite losing a lot from last year’s team. Both of these teams are still undefeated in conference play so there is a lot to play for. West Virginia’s offensive line should have success against the TCU defensive front. The spread opened at around nine points and has jumped up. Get this at West Virginia +14.5 to be safe, but I like the Mountaineers to keep this game close.

To recap, here are the bets we are making:

  • Sam Houston +6.5 (-102)

  • BYU moneyline (-108)

  • Syracuse +7 (-110)

  • Louisiana +11.5 (-110)

  • USF +3.5 (-120)

  • Vanderbilt +14 (-110)

  • East Carolina +3.5 (-118)

  • Georgia State moneyline (-110)

  • South Carolina +11.5 (-108)

  • Charlotte +23.5 (-110)

  • West Virginia +14.5 (-125)

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