Exclusive: Here are our best bets for Penn State, Big 10, college football week 5

This year Jon Sauber and Josh Moyer will be doing a weekly betting advice column with their picks and analysis on the world of college football with one Penn State-related pick, one Big Ten-related pick and one NCAA-related pick. The picks will be made at one of four sportsbooks — FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM or Caesar’s — with recommendations on bet sizing based on units, along with the analysis.

Penn State best bet

Jon Sauber: Penn State -26.5 (-110 FanDuel)

This line started at 25.5 and I’m still not convinced it has moved enough. Penn State is, conservatively, a top 10 team in the country. Northwestern has a bottom 20 offense in the country and a mediocre defense. Put it all together and the Nittany Lions should run away with this one pretty easily. The only thing that makes me hesitant is that it’s coming off such a dominant performance for Penn State, which could mean a letdown game is coming.

At the end of the day, these two teams are not particularly close from a talent standpoint and this one could get really out of hand, really quickly. (Bet 1 unit to win 0.91 units.)

Josh Moyer: Penn State-Northwestern u46.5 (-115 FanDuel)

Penn State is one of the best teams in the nation, with a future top-10 NFL draft pick under center and a defense loaded with stars. You’ll get no argument from me about any of that. But — and this is key — James Franklin’s teams have historically struggled going on the road while playing noon games, so this matchup makes me a little uneasy.

No, I’m not saying Penn State will lose or even make this close (even if the 2021 upset loss to Illinois did come on the road at noon). But I am saying that makes me lean toward the under. In the last 10 such games, Penn State has scored more than 30 points only once and has only twice hit the over (31-26 loss to 2019 Minnesota; 41-17 loss to 2022 Michigan). Even if none of that comes into play this time around, it’s hard to bet on an over when Northwestern might put up a goose egg. (Bet 1 unit to win 0.87 units.)

Big Ten best bet

Jon Sauber: Iowa-Michigan State u36.5 (-110 FanDuel)

The Iowa defense is surely angry about having Penn State put up 31 points last week and it sure feels like Michigan State is going to deal with that rage this weekend. The Spartans are bad on offense with a halfway decent defense, while the Hawkeyes have a hilariously awful offense and arguably the best defense in the country. Honestly, I don’t know how low this line would have to go for me not to like it, but it’s definitely lower than 36.5. There’s a real chance this thing ends at 10-7 or something around there.

Iowa continues to be one of the weirdest teams in the country and should be good for yet another under this Saturday night. (Bet 1 unit to win 0.91 units.)

Josh Moyer: Minnesota (-11) vs. Louisiana (-110 DraftKings)

The Golden Gophers are coming off a tough overtime loss to Northwestern — but I’m chalking that up to a fluke, one that won’t happen again. After all, how often do teams leading by three TDs in the fourth quarter tend to lose?

Minnesota is getting dinged because of that performance, and rightfully so. But Louisiana hasn’t yet played a team in the top 100 of the SP+ rankings, while Minnesota has played three. The talent disparity between these two teams is a lot wider than the similar records indicate, and I don’t see the Gophers letting up in this game after learning their lesson last weekend. (Bet 1 unit to win 0.91 units.)

NCAA best bet:

Jon Sauber: Iowa State-Oklahoma u48.5 (-110 DraftKings)

More unders in the state of Iowa. It’s kind of wild how similar both the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones are. Two elite defenses (Iowa’s is slightly better) and two abysmal offenses (Iowa’s is slightly worse). This feels like an over that the Sooners would have to hit on their own for it to get there. Frankly, it’s fairly similar to the Penn State-Iowa game last week, but with an even higher line. Oklahoma is really good on both sides of the ball and should take care of business here. This is another line that feels like it should be significantly lower than it is. Weird things happen in conference games, but give me another under with OU winning somewhere in the 24-7 range. (Bet 1 unit to win 0.91 units.)

Josh Moyer: USC-Colorado u74.5 (-115 FanDuel)

Yes, USC boasts the nation’s highest-scoring offense (55 ppg), and Colorado is still averaging 32.5 ppg. But let me point out a few other numbers, and you’ll see why I like this under so much.

Colorado’s offense lost its pop last week without two-way star Travis Hunter — who’ll likely miss this matchup — and the Buffaloes’ offensive line doesn’t seem up to the task. Colorado is allowing the second-most sacks in the nation (23 so far), while USC’s defense is tied for producing the third-most sacks (16). The Trojans are also traveling to another time zone for what is a noon ET — or 10 a.m. MT — game, meaning a slow start is a distinct possibility. Consider parlaying the under with USC -21.5. (Bet 1 unit to win 0.87 units.)