The Cincinnati Bearcats (2-1) travel to Huntington this weekend for a Week 5 matchup against the Marshall Thundering Herd (2-1). Kickoff is set for 5:00 PM EST on Saturday, September 28th at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and the game will be streamed on FaceBook Watch via the CBS Sports Network.
Taking a look at the Week 5 college football odds, Marshall opened as a 3-point home underdog earlier this week. That line hasn’t moved at all after early betting, as the Thundering Herd are currently listed at +3. The total for the game is sitting at 44.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Marshall vs Cincinnati
Cincinnati got back above .500 on the season last weekend, beating Miami Ohio 35-13 at home to move to 2-1 overall. The Bearcats had a horrible first quarter, giving up 10 unanswered points before outscoring the RedHawks 35-3 the rest of the way. QB Desmond Ridder wasn’t at his best, going 14/30 for 186 yards and two touchdowns but also getting picked off once. RB Michael Warren II exploded on the ground, racking up 113 yards and three touchdowns on only 12 carries. WR Thomas Geddis led the way for the receiving corps despite making only one reception, finding the end zone on a 51-yard strike from Ridder. Overall, Cincinnati gained over 400 total yards of offense and scored five touchdowns against a below average Miami OH defense.
The Bearcats also played quite well on the other side of the ball in Week 4, holding Miami Ohio to just over 200 total yards of offense and a single touchdown. Cincinnati was especially strong against the pass, as RedHawks QB Brett Gabbert was just 10/18 for 143 passing yards.
Marshall also improved to 2-1 overall last weekend, slipping bast Ohio 33-31 at home to get back above .500 on the season. The Thundering Herd led 27-17 at the half but faded a little bit down the stretch, getting outscored 14-6 over the final thirty minutes of the game. QB Isaiah Green passed for 206 yards and two touchdowns while RB Brenden Knox scampered for 133 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Xavier Gaines also had a solid outing, catching three passes for 53 yards and a score. As a whole, Marshall gained over 500 total yards of offense and scored four touchdowns.
The Thundering Herd weren’t nearly as impressive on the other side of the ball, allowing Ohio to generate almost 450 total yards of offense and score four touchdowns. Marshall really had a tough time trying to slow down Bobcats QB Nathan Rourke, as he threw for 215 yards and three touchdowns through the air while also adding 118 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Cincinnati -3
While both teams head into this matchup with identical 2-1 records on the season, I think the Bearcats offer the best value despite having to play on the road here in Week 5. Cincinnati has looked pretty good this year other than a suffering a beat-down in Week 2 at the hands of Ohio State. Marshall has also played well, but they easily could have lost at home to Ohio last weekend after falling short against Boise State at the beginning of September. The only game that the Thundering Herd has won handily came against hapless VMI all the way back in Week 1. The Bearcats also appear to be the better team on the defensive side of the ball, as they gave up just 27 combined points against UCLA and Miami Ohio.
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Marshall has really not performed well against the spread as of late, going just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games. They are also only 1-2 ATS over their first three games this season. On the other side, Cincinnati is a very solid 14-3 straight up over their last 17 games. The Bearcats are also above .500 against the spread this year, going 2-1 overall. If this spread moves back above a field goal, I will likely stay away from this matchup entirely. However, at -3, I think taking the road team to both win outright and cover is the optimal play. Give me the Bearcats!