NCAA Football Betting: Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks
by Aaron Smith - 9/23/2014
To say that last weekend was a bad week for the Fade the Top 25 selections is an understatement. The picks went 0-3 against the spread for the week. Georgia blew the doors off Troy as the Bulldogs kept the foot on the gas a lot longer than I thought they might. West Virginia deserved to cover against Oklahoma but didn't finish well. The Florida State pick is the one that hurt the most, though. Since this weekly article is done so early each week, I didn't know that Jameis Winston would be suspended for the game by the time the game took place. If I had known Winston would be out, I clearly wouldn't have been laying 20 points with the Seminoles. As it was, the Seminoles were very fortunate to get out of that game with a win. After four weeks, the Top 25 teams as a whole have done pretty well against the number, but the fade plays have been particularly bad. Still plenty of time to get it turned around as we continue this experiment.
Doc's Sports always wants to look for ways to help bettors make money. This year I'm going to 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 are 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 will be testing out 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.
Pick No. 1 - Cincinnati +15.5 (#185) vs. Ohio State: Ohio State didn't fix all of their issues overnight. Yes, they beat Kent State 66-0 in their last game, but there's a massive difference in talent level between Kent State and Cincinnati. The Bearcats have a very good quarterback in Gunner Kiel, and he should be able to carve up a Buckeyes secondary that has a ton of room for improvement. As long as the offensive line is terrible for the Buckeyes, I'm not interested in laying more than two touchdowns with them against a quality team. Ohio State probably wins this game, but give me this many points and I'll certainly take the underdog with a lot of talent at the skill positions. Don't forget that Cincinnati always plays with a chip on their shoulder against "big brother" Ohio State.
Pick No. 2 - Washington +8 (#174) vs. Stanford : The Washington Huskies have been confusing so far this year. Washington trailed 14-0 to Georgia State last week at halftime before winning 45-14. They also were very lucky to get out of Hawaii with a win in the season opener. Still, this is a Huskies team that plays extremely well at home. This is one of the better home-field advantages in the country. Stanford lost a bunch of talent from last year, and the Cardinal have lots of question marks on both sides of the ball. Chris Petersen is a big-game coach, and I have to take the Huskies given more than a touchdown at home. Expect a close game here.
Pick No. 3 - USF +34 (#121) vs. Wisconsin : This is a tough play to make since USF has looked so terrible this year, but I think it makes sense if you look closer at this game. Wisconsin is obviously an amazing running team, but the Badgers can't throw it. USF has a surprisingly good defensive line. The Bulls are going to put up a lot more resistance than Bowling Green did last week. Wisconsin's defense is good, but not elite. It wouldn't be a surprise to see USF put up 10-14 points in this one. Also, how motivated will Wisconsin be to run up the score in this one with their Big Ten opener on deck for next Saturday?
Pick No. 4 - New Mexico State +43 (#199) vs. LSU: There's nothing sexy about this play, but I do believe at this kind of line it's worth taking a chance. The Tigers lost last week, so it's easy to think that they'll want to prove a point and crush the Aggies here. I think that is a dangerous way of thinking. Les Miles and the LSU coaching staff know that killing New Mexico State does nothing for them. LSU plays Auburn next week on the road, in what is a crucial game for the Tigers. I fully expect LSU to get up big early and then coast by putting in third stringers and just trying to get out of this one healthy to be best prepared for next week's showdown. I'll grab all the points here.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 3 Wins 10 Losses (-$800)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week- 9 Wins 7 Losses
Overall Top 25 ATS Record This Season - 42 Wins (50.6%) 41 Losses (49.4%)
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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