It's time for the Week 6 edition of the Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks article. Week 5 was a good week for those who look to fade teams in the Top 25, and it was a great week for the Fading the Top 25 free picks from the end of this article!
The Top 25 as a whole covered only 10 of their 23 games (USC and Utah were on a bye week) last weekend. There were three Fade the Top 25 Selections in last week's report, and those three plays went a perfect 3-0! Clemson managed to hang on to get to beat Notre Dame. Getting the mid-week line helped us get the win in that game. Texas A&M was the second selection, and while the line moved against us throughout the week in that game, it didn't end up mattering as the Aggies won comfortably at home against Mississippi State. Kansas State was the third winner of the week. Bill Snyder's team is always tough coming off a bye week, and the Wildcats narrowly missed pulling the outright upset (they led most of the game) at Oklahoma State. They did hold on to get the cover.
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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- Washington +17 (#305) vs. USC- Chris Petersen's team has been surprisingly competitive through the first few weeks of the season. Washington definitely struggles on offense, but the Huskies defense is doing a great job. Washington lost by only a field goal on the road against a Boise State team that has been very good in recent weeks. The Huskies defense is only allowing 2.61 yards per carry on the ground. Other than their nice win at Arizona State, the Trojans wins haven't proven much so far this year thanks to their weak nonconference schedule.
Steve Sarkisian was the Huskies head coach the last time these two schools played each other. Sarkisian's USC teams haven't fared well in big games in the past couple seasons. Washington has nothing to lose here, and Petersen is a great in-game coach. With a good defense and catching 17 points, I think Washington is worth a play on Thursday night.
Play #2- West Virginia -7 (#318) vs. Oklahoma State- Oklahoma State has been extremely fortunate to win the last two weeks. Two weeks ago a bad Texas team handed them the game late. Last weekend, Kansas State led them most of the way despite playing without their quarterback for parts of the game. West Virginia lost at Oklahoma, but that final score was deceiving. The Mountaineers moved the ball very well in that game, but turnovers ended up costing them the win.
West Virginia has a really nice home-field advantage, and this is a night game. Oklahoma State's quarterback play so far this year has been disappointing. Until last week, West Virginia's defense had been terrific this year. Oklahoma's offense is going to put up quite a few points on everyone this year. West Virginia's defense has allowed opponents to convert on only 15 out of 75 third-down-conversion attempts. Look for the Mountaineers to make a statement on their home field here. I think this line is a few points too short.
Play #3- Utah -7 (#380) vs. California- The Cal Golden Bears deserve a bunch of credit for the improvement they have made under Sonny Dykes. Jared Goff is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. Having said that, this is a bad spot for the Golden Bears. Utah comes into this one off a bye week, so they are well-rested. The Utes are hosting ESPN's College GameDay for this one, which should make the night atmosphere at Rice-Eccles Stadium even more electric.
I'm not sure what Cal has done to get this much credit from the oddsmakers. Cal only held on to win by a point at Texas, and with the way Texas has played lately that win doesn't mean much. The Golden Bears were fortunate to win by six points last week as a 16.5-point favorite at home against a poor Washington State team.
Utah will wear down Cal in the trenches, and the Utes should pull away late in this game. Remember, Cal isn't accustomed to playing at altitude, and with an up-tempo offense that should hurt them more than average team that goes to Utah. Either Utah isn't getting enough respect or Cal is getting too much. Take the home team in this one.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 9 Wins 6 Losses (+$240)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 10 Wins 13 Losses
Overall Top 25 ATS Record This Season: 53 Wins (44.9 %) 65 Losses (55.1%)
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