May 23, 2024

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College football picks, schedule: Predictions against the spread, odds for top 25 games today in Week 5

Though this is only the fifth week of the 2021 college football season, plenty will be decided Saturday with multiple top-25 matchups on the slate and plenty of other ranked teams in action against tough opponents. Four straight weeks of unpredictable finishes and upsets have set the stage for what should be a wild remaining two thirds of the season.

There are four games between ranked opponents Saturday with with No. 8 Arkansas visiting No. 2 Georgia, No. 7 Cincinnati taking on No. 9 Notre Dame as a road favorite, Lane Kiffin’s No. 12 Ole Miss facing former boss Nick Saban’s No. 1 Alabama in the SEC on CBS Game of the Week, and undefeated Big 12 programs meeting when No. 21 Baylor travels to No. 19 Oklahoma State. In total, 23 ranked teams will be in action Saturday with the other two — No. 5 Iowa and No. 13 BYU — facing frequent opponents Friday night.

While winning is all that matters for the standings, we care about whether these teams will cover their spreads. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from the opening kickoff on Saturday to the final whistle. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the fifth full Saturday of the season.

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern

No. 8 Arkansas at No. 2 Georgia

Latest Odds:

Georgia Bulldogs

Noon | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — This massive spread seems like an overreaction to Georgia’s recent explosive offensive outings against overmatched foes. Don’t forget this team failed to score an offensive touchdown against Clemson in Week 1. Arkansas has proven its superiority against two quality opponents already this season, and those wins over Texas and Texas A&M will give it more than enough confidence to go Between the Hedges and give the Bulldogs a close fight. Prediction: Arkansas (+18.5) — David Cobb

No. 14 Michigan at Wisconsin

Latest Odds:

Wisconsin Badgers

Noon | Fox, fuboTV (Try for free) — Given what I’ve written already, you’ve probably figured out which direction I’m heading. I know it’s been a while since Michigan has won in Madison, Wisconsin, and this will be the toughest test the Wolverines have faced so far (it’s their first road game), but I can’t trust Wisconsin. The Badgers offense has played too poorly, and this Michigan defense has been just as strong — if not better — as the Penn State and Notre Dame defenses that have suffocated it already this season. The Wisconsin defense will keep it close, but I do not see them winning this game unless the Badgers score on defense or special teams. Prediction: Michigan (+1) — Tom Fornelli

No. 7 Cincinnati at No. 9 Notre Dame

Latest Odds:

Cincinnati Bearcats

2:30 p.m. | NBC, fuboTV (Try for free) — There’s just something startling about seeing Cincinnati favored at Notre Dame. The Bearcats are worthy favorites based on all the talent accumulated and the high standard set by coach Luke Fickell, but I’ll take the team that’s rolling right now. The Fighting Irish seem to come up with winning plays in close games every week, so if I think it’s going to be a close game, I’ll take the home dog that’s hot. Prediction: Notre Dame (+2) — Chip Patterson

No. 12 Ole Miss at No. 1 Alabama

Latest Odds:

Alabama Crimson Tide

3:30 p.m. | CBS, CBSSports.comCBS Sports App — This 79.5 over/under in this game is the highest in an FBS game in four seasons, which suggests that both teams will have plenty of success moving up and down the field. That will play right into Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin’s hands. Ole Miss will use tempo, quarterback Matt Corral will have a banner day through the air and on the ground, and this game will be in doubt deep into the fourth quarter. In the end, Crimson Tide QB Bryce Young will make a couple of plays late to win an instant classic in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Bama will win but won’t cover. Prediction: Ole Miss (+14.5) — Barrett Sallee

Indiana at No. 4 Penn State

Latest Odds:

Penn State Nittany Lions

7:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — Last season, the Hoosiers took advantage of turnovers en route to their best season in a long time. Their points off turnovers margin of +41 ranked in a tie for 10th nationally with Ohio State, but keep in mind the Hoosiers played in only eight games. This season, Indiana ranks 95th nationally with a points off turnovers margin of -7. If Indiana can take care of the football, it can hang with the Nittany Lions. Unfortunately, nothing I’ve seen from the Hoosiers has me confident they’ll be able to do that. Indiana keeps it close into the early third quarter, but Penn State puts the game away after that. Prediction: Indiana (-10.5) — Tom Fornelli

No. 22 Auburn at LSU

Latest Odds:

LSU Tigers

9 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — I’ll take LSU to win and cover due in large part to Auburn’s recent defensive struggles. The Tigers from The Plains are giving up 6.5 yards per play, and the secondary will have a tough time stopping LSU QB Max Johnson and star wide receiver Kayshon Boutte. Don’t get me wrong, this won’t be a blowout — far from it — but Johnson will make a play or two late to get out of there with a win. Prediction: LSU (-3.5) — Barrett Sallee

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 5, and which top 25 favorite will go down hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,300 in profit over the past five-plus seasons — and find out.