College Football Week 5 parlay at mega +1133 odds for Friday 9/29: Louisville and Utah continue their unbeaten runs
It will be hard to top last week’s incredible slate of highly anticipated college football matchups, but this week offers more great games that will play a role in conference championship and postseason races – starting on Friday night.
There are a few interesting Friday matchups to get us ready for Saturday’s action and we have picks for those in our college football predictions. I have also put together a parlay containing some of my favorite spots with mega odds in hopes of securing a hefty payout going into the weekend.
Louisville alternate spread -5.5 (+118)
Utah alternate spread -2.5 (+172)
BYU ML (+108)
Odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook at the time of publishing
Louisville Cardinals -5.5 over NC State Wolfpack (+118)
The Jeff Brohm era in Louisville is off to a great start with 4 wins in as many weeks and 2 of them being in conference. As many expected, the Cardinals have been very good offensively under Brohm, ranking 20th in opponent-adjusted offensive efficiency with a top-7 mark in unadjusted drive efficiency, points per drive and touchdown rate against FBS opponents in non-garbage time situations. Quarterback Jack Plummer has been solid since being reunited with his former coach, completing over 65% of his passes for 1,120 yards, 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a top-20 PFF passing grade. He has been sacked on just 7.9% of opposing pressures thanks to a solid offensive line, and he has a couple of explosive playmakers around him in running back Jawhar Jordan and wide receiver Jamari Thrash, who are both in the top 5 in the ACC at their respective positions according to PFF. In fact, Jordan averages 9.6 yards per carry and 22.2 yards per reception on 56 touches with 7 total touchdowns while Thrash averages 21.1 yards per catch on 19 receptions with 5 touchdowns. Due to their playmaking, the Cardinals are one of most explosive teams in the country and are averaging over 5 points with each trip inside the opposing 40-yard line per College Football Data.
Louisville’s offense will likely be the difference in this game. The Wolfpack yield 5.8 yards per play to FBS opponents and are in the bottom 40 nationally in points per opportunity allowed as well as explosiveness allowed. These defensive inefficiencies put extra pressure on the offense to keep the game close, which is not something in which I have much confidence. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong has looked like a shell of his former Virginia days, as he sits in the bottom 5 of the ACC in completion percentage, passing yards and touchdown passes while ranking outside the top 100 nationally in explosive passes. Furthermore, Armstrong has just 1 target who has caught more than 10 passes this season. NC State’s inefficiencies through the air make it a fairly one-dimensional offense that lacks the upside to keep this contest close. Given Louisville’s offense advantages, I like the Cardinals to win by a touchdown or more.
Read our expert’s Louisville vs NC State Same Game Parlay at +611 odds!
Utah Utes -2.5 over Oregon State Beavers (+172)
The Oregon State Beavers stepped up in class last week in Pullman and failed, losing 38-35. The score is a bit misleading, as the Cougars outgained the Beavers 528-440 while enjoying a 35-14 lead entering the fourth quarter. DJ Uiagalelei completed just 50% of his passes for 198 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, which earned him an ugly 61.0 PFF passing grade in the game. Simply put, the Beavers do not stand a chance against the Utes if they cannot utilize the passing attack to take pressure off their awesome rushing attack, as Utah is too good defensively to beat with a one-dimensional offense. Utah is currently the most efficient defense when adjusting for opponents, with a top-6 mark in unadjusted drive efficiency and touchdown rate. The Utes have allowed just 47% of non-garbage time FBS possessions to gain more than 10 yards or score a touchdown, which ranks 4th nationally. Furthemore, the Utes are 1st overall in busted-drive rate – which is the percentage of non-garbage time drives that gained zero or negative yards in FBS matchups according to BCFToys.
Having played no power-conference opponents before the loss at Washington State last week, the Beavers have a strength of schedule that ranks 69th, so I am wary of trusting their offensive numbers. Per CFBGraphs, the Utes are 3rd in success rate against the run and 7th in EPA per rush allowed. They also hold opponents to just 2 yards per carry and 51 rush yards per game thanks to a front 7 that has 4 of the top 15 run defenders in the Pac-12. Given Utah’s success defensively, I do not think Oregon State’s talented duo of running backs is enough to propel the Beavers to victory, regardless of whether Cam Rising plays or not. I like the Utes to win by at least a field goal.
Check out our full Utah vs Oregon State predictions
BYU Cougars ML over Cincinnati Bearcats (+108)
After a tough offensive performance at home in their Big 12 opener and their second straight loss, the Bearcats have to fly across the country on a short week to play the BYU Cougars in what will be the third ever game between these programs and their first as conference opponents. Cincinnati and BYU are similar in that they both have limiting offenses and solid defenses, but I give the Cougars a slight edge defensively in this matchup. Per CFBGraphs, BYU is the 8th-ranked defense in EPA per rush allowed with a top-30 mark in EPA per pass allowed and the 2nd-best opposing third and fourth-down success rate. Furthermore, the Cougars rank above the Bearcats in opposing drive efficiency, defensive PPA and explosiveness allowed.
BYU struggles to run the ball efficiently, so I expect a lot of Kedon Slovis dropbacks on Friday night. Slovis has a trio of pass catchers who have at least 17 catches and 200 yards each, all of whom should find success in their route running against a Cincinnati defense that ranks last in the Big 12 in PFF’s pass coverage and 108th nationally in EPA per pass allowed. Give me the team making its Big 12 home debut under the Friday night lights to win outright as underdogs against the Bearcats.
Check out our full Cincinnati vs BYU predictions