NCAA Football Betting: Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks
by Aaron Smith - 10/15/2014
Week 7 brought some more really bad results for the Top 25, and that's good news for this experiment. The Top 25 as a whole did horribly against the number as you will see at the bottom of this report. In addition, our Week 7 selections went 3-1. USC won by two, so they will be counted as a loss on the picks record, but the Trojans actually covered the spread for late bettors since late money came in on Arizona. That was the second straight big positive week for selections, and it's the second week in a row that the Top 25 has struggled against the spread. The top teams were covering at about a 50 percent clip until this past two weeks, and then things quickly fell apart. It will be interesting to see how the books react in the next couple weeks. Also, I'm curious to see if the betting public reacts in any way. Will they adapt and start taking more underdogs, or will they continue to back big-name favorites?
Doc's Sports always wants to look for ways to help bettors make money. This year I'll be tracking against the spread records of the Associated Press Top 25. How do Top 25 teams do ATS? Are there chances to go against Top 25 teams that may be overrated? In this weekly article, I'll make a few picks each week where I fade a team in the Top 25, and I'll keep track of my results so readers can follow along. This is an experiment we are testing in 2014, and all plays will be flat bets to win $100 on each game. I may sometimes back teams that are in the Top 25 if they are against another ranked team that I want to fade. At the end of each article, I'll make note of how the Top 25 overall did against the number, and that is a cumulative number.
Play No. 1- Kansas State +8 (#377) vs. Oklahoma: There isn't a coach in all of college football that gets more out of his players than Bill Snyder. You have to love backing a coach like him with two weeks to prepare. Oklahoma is coming off two tough games in their last two weeks. The Wildcats are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games at Oklahoma as well. The Sooners were extremely fortunate to get out with a win (no cover) against Texas last weekend. Oklahoma was outplayed in that game. It looks like Trevor Knight's amazing game against Alabama last year was a one-time thing. Knight's inconsistency has been hurting the Sooners offense. Kansas State will scratch and claw, and the Wildcats should be in the game right to the finish.
Play No. 2- Boston College +5 (#376) vs. Clemson: The Boston College Eagles have a good opportunity at home this week. Clemson comes in with lots of question marks on offense. The Tigers looked great with Deshaun Watson under center, but he broke a finger last week. Cole Stoudt looked awful in relief of Watson last weekend. Boston College's offense is much-improved with Tyler Murphy under center. Steve Addazio is underrated as a head coach, and I believe his team is still being undervalued by the oddsmakers. This Eagles team is a gritty team who has shown they can rise to the occasion against supremely talented foes.
Play No. 3- Northwestern +7 (#400) vs. Nebraska: Two weeks ago, Northwestern knocked off Wisconsin at home. They'll host Nebraska this weekend, and I wouldn't be surprised if the Wildcats came away with the outright win here, either. Pat Fitzgerald's team is far better than they looked early in the year. Last week's loss at Minnesota was a misleading one, too. Northwestern had 28 first downs compared to 14 first downs for Minnesota in that game. Nebraska didn't look good in their first road test in the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers are too reliant on one player. I think this line is awfully generous. The Wildcats are 3-0 ATS in the last three meetings between these teams. Northwestern lost on a last-second Hail Mary pass at Nebraska last year, and I suspect they haven't forgotten that one.
Play No. 4- Alabama -11.5 (#370) vs. Texas A&M: The Alabama Crimson Tide weren't a bit impressive last week. Nick Saban was really ticked off during and after last week's game at Arkansas. The Crimson Tide still have some issues, but I'm guessing they are having a good week of practice. Texas A&M isn't as good as everyone thought they were early this year. The Aggies win at South Carolina is looking less impressive by the week. Alabama has a strong secondary to go against the Aggies passing attack. The Crimson Tide should wear down this Texas A&M defense. I think there is some value on Alabama here because of last week's sloppy performance.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 10 Wins 14 Losses (-$540)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week- 6 Wins 14 Losses
Overall Top 25 ATS Record This Season - 67 Wins (45.9%) 77 Losses (52.7%) 2 Ties (1.4%)
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