The Week 11 edition of the Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks article is here. I said last week that there should be a shakeup in the polls following Week 10, and that was definitely the case. Three of the Top 6 ranked teams in the AP Top 25 from last week lost outright (LSU, Michigan State, and TCU). While many are getting upset already about the College Football Playoff Rankings, keep in mind that a lot will change between now and the end of the season.
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.
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Last week's selections went 1-2. The Navy pick plus the points at Memphis was a tremendous one. In fact, Navy won outright by a score of 45-20. Memphis might have overlooked the Midshipmen a bit, and Navy took advantage. The pick of TCU -5 was a bad one. Though TCU outgained Oklahoma State by about 200 yards, the Horned Frogs committed four turnovers compared to zero for Oklahoma State. That's definitely a losing formula! As bad as the TCU pick was, Oregon State was an even worse pick. UCLA absolutely thumped Oregon State from the beginning, and that one never had a chance.
Overall, the Top 25 went 13-12 against the spread last week. Interestingly though, the top six teams went 0-6 ATS. It was the bottom half of the Top 25 that covered the number nicely last week. Looks like last week's mistake was not fading teams ranked right at the top!
Play #1- Houston -6.5 (#136) vs. Memphis- The Memphis Tigers dreams were dashed in a big way last weekend by Navy. The Tigers were caught in a look-ahead spot, and it hurt them badly. Now, Memphis has to pick up the pieces and go play a Houston Cougars team that is still unbeaten and has all the reasons in the world to be ready for this game. While Justin Fuente is a good coach, it could be tough to get this Memphis team to be as excited about this one as they otherwise would have been. Tom Herman has been brilliant in his first year as a head coach, and after a close game against Cincinnati last week, it's likely that the Cougars will be extremely focused in this one. Memphis has a great passing attack with Paxton Lynch, but Houston has the more balanced offense. The Cougars also have an edge on the defensive side. Houston has forced a whopping 25 turnovers this year, which is the most in the nation.
Play #2- Washington State +9.5 (#165) vs. UCLA- I unsuccessfully went against UCLA last week, but I'm going to go against them again here. I've been really impressed with Mike Leach's Cougars of late. Washington State's offense is tremendous with Luke Falk at the controls. Falk gets rid of the ball quickly, and he doesn't key in on any one receiver. Washington State has a bunch of talented pass catchers on the team, and Falk does a great job involving all of them.
UCLA's offense will be able to move the ball and score here, but Washington State has won several shootouts already this year. Notably, Washington State has been very good on the road this season. They have won outright as underdogs at Rutgers, at Oregon, and at Arizona. Of late, UCLA has actually played better on the road than they have at home. The Bruins beat lowly Colorado only 35-31 in their last home game. Earlier this year, UCLA lost at home to Arizona State. Washington State has a chance to pull an outright upset here, but I'm glad to take the 9.5 points.
Play #3- Baylor -2.5 (#188) vs. Oklahoma- The Baylor Bears are an amazing 26-7 ATS in their last 33 home games. You won't often see chances to take Baylor at less than a field goal at home. They have a freshman quarterback starting for them now, but I thought he looked good in his first start last week. Baylor's running game should take the pressure off him in this one as well.
Oklahoma has played great for the majority of the year, but it's hard for me to totally overlook their loss against Texas. Texas has some really ugly losses on the year, and the Sooners proved in that game that they are more than capable of not winning the big games. This game is on the road in a hostile environment, and it's a primetime game on national television. The stadium will be rocking, and Baylor has been a machine at home.
The early money has come in on the Sooners, which has put this down to a price where I just can't pass it up. Bob Stoops hasn't been very good in big games in recent years, and Art Briles' program is likely to have a chip on their shoulder since they believe they have been slighted by the College Football Playoff Rankings. I'll take Baylor -2.5.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 14 Wins 15 Losses (-$250)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 13 Wins 12 Losses
Overall Top 25 ATS Record This Season: 112 Wins (49.8%) 113 Losses (50.2%)
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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