NCAA Football Betting: Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks
by Aaron Smith - 10/7/2014
Week 6 was the wildest weekend of college football in a very long time. I can't remember another week that saw so many upsets and exciting finishes. The schedule was loaded with great games, and those games didn't disappoint at all. Four of the top six teams in the nation lost last week. There were 11 losers inside the Top 25 last weekend. Many of those losses occurred in the final seconds of the game. The Fading the Top 25 selections went 2-1 last week, but they absolutely should have been 3-0. I could write an entire article of a rant about how Michigan State not covering the number was a crime, and it was, but I'll spare you all and just say that one hurt badly.
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- USC -2.5 (#167) vs. Arizona: Arizona is coming off a massive win at Oregon, and USC is coming off a stunning last-second home loss to Arizona State. The Trojans aren't in the Top 25, but they are favored over the 10th-ranked team in the country. This line tells us a lot. The oddsmakers know this Arizona team isn't as good as they played last week, and USC is better than they have shown. Remember, this is the same Arizona team that needed a last-second heave to escape with a win at home against California. Whenever you find an unranked team laying points on the road against a highly-ranked team, it has to make you scratch your head. USC's defense should step up and led the Trojans to a win.
Play No. 2- Arkansas +10.5 (#160) vs. Alabama: Arkansas had a bye week to prepare for this game, while Alabama lost a tough game at Ole Miss. It could be hard for this team to respond immediately following that loss. The Crimson Tide came away from that game with some key injuries that will slow them down. Arkansas is 5-0 ATS in their last five games vs. a team with a winning record. You might think that Alabama would bounce back well after a loss under Nick Saban, but that hasn't been the case. The Crimson Tide are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 following a loss. The Razorbacks running game has been terrific this season. I think this game stays closer than expected.
Play No. 3- Texas +14.5 (#111) vs. Oklahoma: Texas actually impressed me quite a bit with their competitive showing last week against Baylor. The Longhorns held Bryce Petty to just 7-for-22 and 111 yards through the air last week. Texas' offense still has major problems, but given more than two touchdowns it seems like the wise move to back the underdog in a rivalry game like this one. I also wonder about the mindset of Oklahoma after losing a tough one at TCU. The Sooners were in a prime playoff position, and now they will need to win out and hope for a bunch of help to get back into that position. Texas should have gained some confidence from a largely solid performance last weekend. I'll take the points.
Play No. 4- North Carolina +17 (#175) vs. Notre Dame: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are in a sandwich spot this week. They are coming off a huge win for the program over the Stanford Cardinal. Next weekend Notre Dame will be in Tallahassee to take on the No. 1-ranked Florida State Seminoles. As much as they say they are focused on this weekend, I think this is a spot where Notre Dame is looking ahead to a huge game next weekend. There's nothing about North Carolina that makes me want to back them, but 17 is a lot of points to be laying against a team that does have talent. This is purely a spot play that I believe has some quality value.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 7 Wins 13 Losses (-$730)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week- 11 Wins 13 Losses
Overall Top 25 ATS Record This Season - 61 Wins (48.4%) 63 Losses (50%) 2 Ties (1.6%)
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