College football Week 5 best underdog bets, picks and predictions: Three road underdogs with value in conference play

Sep 2, 2022; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini quarterback Tommy DeVito (3) runs the ball while Indiana Hoosiers defensive back Bryant Fitzgerald (31) defends in the second half at Memorial Stadium.
Photo of Sam Avellone

Sam Avellone


Show Bio

Long-time suffering Browns fan born and raised in the greater Cleveland, Ohio area who now resides in SEC country. University of South Carolina alum. Sports handicapper for close to 10 years with a primary focus on NCAAB while enjoying NFL, PGA, NCAAF, NBA, and Soccer. For Sam Avellone media enquiries, please email
Read more about Sam Avellone

Another week, another opportunity to find teams that are undervalued in the betting market. Last week provided us with a few upsets headlined by Middle Tennessee’s double digit win at Miami as 25-point underdogs, followed by Kansas State’s win over Oklahoma in Norman, Texas Tech’s come-from-behind win against Texas, and UTEP’s 17-point win as a double digit underdog against Boise State. Other underdogs such as Kent State, Maryland, Wake Forest, and Oregon State may not have won their games, but they covered the spread. You know what they say, “good teams win; great teams cover.”

The arrival of Week 5 means conference play is in full swing and games should be highly contested. Through 4 weeks, we are 5-6-1 on these underdog picks of the week. Let’s see if we can push that to a winning record this week! 

Get our college football picks for all of the big Week 5 matchups!

Odds available at DraftKings Sportsbook at the time of publishing.

Week 5 underdog best bets

Illinois Fighting Illini +7 (-110) over Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin is not a team I would recommend laying points with right now. The Badgers’ offense is built around the ground game with running back Braelon Allen, who has gained 497 yards and scored 6 touchdowns on the ground through 4 games this season. Outside of Allen, the Badgers do not have much reliability on offense. Quarterback Graham Mertz has been unimpressive against Power 5 opponents and no Wisconsin receiver has more than 12 receptions total so far this year.

Since taking over at Illinois last season, coach Brett Bielema and the Fighting Illini are 4-0 ATS as road underdogs in conference. This is because the Fighting Illini are a scrappy bunch with a very good defense. They are solid against the run, ranking 16th in opposing rush yards per game, 27th in EPA per rush, and 31st in opposing yards per rush. They are also very good against the pass, ranking 1st in opposing completion percentage, 2nd in EPA per pass, and 21st in opposing pass yards per game. Offensively, they have a very good running back in Chase Brown and a quarterback in Tommy DeVito who is experienced at the college level. DeVito has produced at a high level thus far, throwing for 954 yards and 9 touchdowns with a completion percentage of 69% and just 2 interceptions. 

In a conference game with a low total, points will be at a premium – so I already like the value with Illinois getting 7 points. When Wisconsin’s offensive struggles are added into the mix, it becomes clear that Illinois is the side I want to be on in this contest.

Be sure to check out our full Illinois Fighting Illini vs Wisconsin Badgers predictions

Cal Golden Bears +4 (-110) over Washington State Cougars

After building as much as a 12 point lead in the fourth quarter against Oregon, Washington State allowed the Ducks to go on a 22-7 scoring run in the final 4 minutes of the game. While they did score a touchdown in the final seconds of the game to cover the spread, the Cougars lost in heart-breaking fashion 44-41. They now welcome the Cal Bears to town, who have played well the last 2 weeks – just narrowly losing to Notre Dame on the road before beating Arizona at home 49-31. Cal is not a powerhouse by any means, but the Bears are a solid football team with a reliable running back in Jaydn Ott and a serviceable quarterback in Jack Plummer. Ott has rushed for 463 yards and 4 touchdowns while averaging 8.3 yards per carry, and has shown an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield with 9 receptions for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns. Plummer is a smart quarterback with an accurate arm who has thrown for 975 yards and 8 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions through 4 games. As a whole, the Bears’ offense ranks 19th in yards per rush and 37th in rush yards per game, and they take great care of the ball being a top 12 team in turnover margin per game.

Washington State has a good quarterback in Cameron Ward, but he tends to be turnover prone. Cal coach Justin Wilcox has been very good in the underdog role, so I trust he has a plan to contain Ward and the Washington State offense. With a road date against USC on the horizon next week, This is a textbook sandwich spot for Washington State with a road date against USC on the horizon next week after a blown lead at home against Oregon last week, so I like them to keep this game close on the road on Saturday night and would not be surprised to see them win outright.

Be sure to get our college football Week 5 best bets – we’ve gone 8-1 over the past 3 weeks!

West Virginia Mountaineers +9.5 (-110) over Texas Longhorns

Quinn Ewers has been practicing this week and is splitting first-team reps with Hudson Card, so there is a chance the young Texas quarterback plays against the Mountaineers on Saturday. Last we saw Ewers was against Alabama when he completed 9/12 passes for 134 yards before an injury removed him from the game. The Texas offense looked good against Alabama before the Ewers injury, so it will be interesting to see what the Longhorns can do once he returns to full health. Regardless of who plays at quarterback, Bijan Robinson is the star of the Texas offense and will be the focal point for West Virginia. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, the Mountaineers have been good against the run through 4 games, ranking 25th in opposing rush yards per game and 39th in opposing yards per rush. Headlined by Dante Stills, the West Virginia defensive line is loaded with talent and will be a handful for the Texas offensive line.

Offensively, it appears West Virginia can score with anybody. The Mountaineers have a three-headed monster at both running back and wide receiver with an experienced offensive line and quarterback in JT Daniels.

West Virginia should be comfortable on the road by now as this will be the Mountaineers’ third road game and second straight. Keep in mind, they played Thursday of last week so they have extra rest going into this matchup. With Texas’ loss to Texas Tech last week, the Longhorns have now lost 7 of their last 8 Big 12 games dating back to last season. Take West Virginia down to +8.5.

Be sure to check out our full West Virginia Mountaineers vs Texas Longhorns predictions

Pickswise is the home of College Football Picks and College Football Predictions. Check out our latest College Football analysis including our College Football Parlay picks and our College Football Best Bets.

By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy