It's time for the Week 10 edition of the Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks article. The Week 9 slate had very few marquee matchups, and the polls look almost exactly like they did this same time last week. Seven Top 25 teams had a bye week last week, but we get a lot more action and a lot more games between top teams this weekend. Expect a shakeup next week.
Last week's selections went 1-1. NC State +10.5 was a loser as Clemson turned it on late in the game. I still believe that was a good situational spot play, but NC State failed to capitalize on too many opportunities in the first half, and that came back to bite them late in the game. Minnesota +14 cashed in comfortably. The Golden Gophers should have won the game, but some awful clock management at the end of that one along with a questionable call to go for it on fourth down meant the Golden Gophers ended with a really tough three-point loss.
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The goal of this article is to track how teams in the weekly Top 25 do against the spread. We're here to look a little deeper than most and figure out how the top-ranked teams do at the betting window. In addition, in this weekly article I'll be taking a look at which Top 25 teams I think are best to fade that particular week.
Play #1- Oregon State +17.5 (#386) vs. UCLA- I fully realize that Oregon State is a bad team, but what has UCLA done to deserve being a 17.5-point road favorite? The Bruins best three players on defense are injured. The UCLA offensive line has been a disappointment again this year. UCLA won only 35-31 last week at home against Colorado. They were a 22.5-point favorite in that game. Oregon State played Utah tough on the road. The Beavers were 25.5-point underdogs, but they lost only 27-12 in Utah. Freshman Nick Mitchell played really well in his first start at quarterback for Oregon State.
UCLA has a great freshman quarterback in Josh Rosen, but the rest of their team hasn't impressed me very much this year. Outside of their big road win at Arizona, UCLA hasn't done much. Also, that win at Arizona isn't looking as impressive after Washington waxed Arizona 49-3 last week. The Bruins are 18-37-1 against the spread in their last 56 games against a team with a losing record. UCLA should win this game, but this number is too big.
Play #2- Navy +8 (#389) vs. Memphis- The Memphis Tigers are clearly a very good team this year, but they are in a bad spot here. Memphis plays at Houston next weekend in a game that has some major conference title implications. Navy is always a tricky team to game plan for, especially when you only have one week to get ready. The Midshipmen are well-coached, and they aren't going to beat themselves. Navy will run the triple option and slow the pace of the game down to try to keep the football out of Paxton Lynch's hands.
Memphis' offense has been superb this year, but the defense has been shaky at times. I'm not optimistic when it comes to their ability to slow down the triple-option attack. Remember, Keenan Reynolds is a fantastic quarterback at Navy. Reynolds is severely underrated as a player, and his career numbers are truly amazing. Navy should stay within this spread, and an upset here wouldn't stun me.
Play #3- TCU -5 vs. Oklahoma State- The Oklahoma State Cowboys are 7-0. You have to give the Cowboys credit for turning things around after a disappointing season last year. At the same time, let's take a look at who they have beaten so far this season. Oklahoma State has wins over Central Michigan, UTSA, Central Arkansas, Texas, Kansas State, West Virginia, Kansas and Texas Tech. Only the win at West Virginia can truly be counted as an impressive win at this point. The nonconference schedule was a joke.
TCU looked shaky early in the year, but the Horned Frogs are playing their best football of late. Trevone Boykin is playing as well as ever, and the defense is slowly improving. Gary Patterson is a great coach, and he should have his team ready for this big game. TCU knows that Oklahoma State has upset a lot of highly-ranked teams at home in the past, and I think they come in here completely focused on the task at hand.
The line itself tells us that the oddsmakers see a big disparity in talent in this game. Oklahoma State is improved, but I think TCU exposes them as a team that is overrated based on their weak schedule year to date.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 13 Wins 13 Losses (-$130)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 8 Wins 10 Losses
Overall Top 25 ATS Record This Season: 99 Wins (49.5%) 101 Losses (50.5%)
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