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College Football Betting 2021: Best Week 5 spread picks

Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Casey Thompson (11) looks to pass against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the first quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4 caused yet another shakeup at the top of the college football rankings, with two top-10 teams, Texas A&M and Clemson, going down. Week 5 features tests for many of the nation's top programs, and great betting values accompany the slate.

I see some edges on some of the biggest games of the weekend, with a few off-the-radar games sprinkled in as well. After 194 games this season, my model is sitting on a 13.08 mean absolute error, compared to 12.7 for the closing lines. I’ll go over those here, but always check out PFF Greenline first when making your college football bets for the weekend.

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Texas Longhorns -4 @ TCU Horned Frogs

Projection: Texas -6.2

I’m sure the public is going to be all over the Longhorns this weekend after last week’s performances from both teams, but I do like Texas at this price. The offense has performed incredibly well in total so far this season thanks to improvements made by new coach Steve Sarkisian.

Texas Week 4 Performance | FBS Teams
Texas EPA/Play EPA/Pass EPA/Rush PFF Offense Grade
Rank 3rd 4th 11th 9th

It’s tough to see why Casey Thompson wasn’t named the starting quarterback out of the gate, considering his 90.9 overall grade on 64 dropbacks currently ranks fifth at the position. His play over his past two starts has been very efficient, highlighted by his 12.6 yards per attempt, 79.2% adjusted completion percentage and six touchdowns in Week 4. In addition, running back Bijan Robinson has lived up to his lofty expectations thus far, forcing nine missed tackles per game on average and currently grading out as the second-best running back in the country.

Meanwhile, TCU’s defense is not having anywhere near the type of season that it's typically enjoyed under coach Gary Patterson. The group allowed 42 points to SMU in last week’s loss and currently ranks 127th out of 130 teams in expected points added per play. It’s struggled almost equally against the run and the pass, with bottom-10 rankings in EPA per pass and EPA per rush. After SMU was able to gash the Horned Frogs through the air and on the ground all day long in Week 4, look for Texas’ offense to continue rolling in this matchup.

Click here for PFF Greenline’s cover probabilities for side, total and moneyline.

BYU Cougars -8.5 @ Utah State Aggies

Projection: BYU -13.6

The Cougars have been incredibly impressive in 2021 despite losing very important contributors from last year’s team. They enter this matchup undefeated after knocking off three straight Pac-12 opponents to open the year. It’s tough to fill in for a second overall pick at the quarterback position, but BYU’s Jaren Hall has earned a solid 75.1 overall grade to date, highlighted by just two turnover-worthy plays on 97 dropbacks. He missed last week’s game against South Florida but is expected to be back for this one.

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