Week 7 of the Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks article is here. We're now halfway through the college football regular season. This weekend's slate of games is absolutely tremendous. Be ready for the polls to look a lot different next week than they do right now!
The Top 25 as a whole was split evenly at 11 covers and 11 non-covers last weekend. Three teams had a bye week. It was a 1-2 week for the selections at the end of this article. Washington +17 was an awesome play as they won outright at USC. Utah failed to cover by a single point despite Cal turning the ball over six times, and that was the tough one to swallow. West Virginia couldn't get out of their own way in their home loss to Oklahoma State, and that one never really had much of a chance.
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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. This week, we're going to be taking a lot of underdogs.
Play #1- Florida +9.5 (#161) vs. LSU- Yes, I know that Will Grier isn't playing for Florida, but this is a large line for an LSU team that can't throw the football. Florida's defense is ranked quite a bit higher than LSU's, and the Gators are going to do everything possible to slow down Leonard Fournette (certainly easier said than done) and make LSU beat them through the air. This projects as a low-scoring game where each possession is really important. In a game like that, it's hard not to like the underdog catching almost 10 points. Treon Harris doesn't necessarily need to be great for Florida to win or even stay close in this game, he just has to take care of the football. This is primarily a line value play on Florida.
Play #2- Louisville +7 (#201) vs. Florida State- The Florida State Seminoles have a lot left to prove in my opinion. They narrowly beat a Miami team that isn't very good last weekend. The Seminoles had to hold on to beat a bad Wake Forest team the week before. Louisville has started the season slowly, but they have played a much more difficult schedule than Florida State. Louisville gained confidence with a nice road win over NC State two weeks. The Cardinals had a bye week to prepare for this game, while Florida State was busy taking care of business against their rivals from Miami. The spot definitely favors Louisville, and even without that favorable spot I think Florida State is a good team to fade against a quality opponent until they show more consistency. It wouldn't shock me if Louisville wins this game, and catching a full touchdown here is more than enough for me to like this one.
Play #3- Penn State +17 (#207) vs. Ohio State- I've been waiting to see Ohio State's best effort since the season started, and it hasn't come yet. Of course, the Buckeyes could turn it on and produce a great effort at any time, but we are halfway through the season and Ohio State looks very vulnerable. The Buckeyes have a star in Ezekiel Elliot at the running back spot, but the quarterback play and the play of the offensive line hasn't been good so far this season. Penn State hasn't necessarily been terribly impressive either, but the Nittany Lions defense is very good. Penn State isn't likely to let Ohio State run it down their throat in this one. Can the Buckeyes do enough in the passing game? We haven't seen it this year. Additionally, Penn State arguably should have beaten Ohio State last year, and I think they come in with a lot of confidence thanks to that performance last year.
Play #4- Texas A&M +4 (#160) vs. Alabama- Texas A&M beat Alabama in 2012 and gave them a very good game in 2013. The Aggies offensive schemes are challenging to defend for a physical team like Alabama. Texas A&M isn't going to try to punch Alabama in the mouth like Georgia and Arkansas did (they failed). Rather, Texas A&M is going to throw a lot of quick passes to their speedy wide receivers and try to let them work in space. I think this is the much better way to work against this Alabama defense. On the other side, John Chavis has this Texas A&M defense playing much more aggressively than they have in previous years. It's his first year as defensive coordinator, and the results so far this season have been great. Texas A&M had a bye week to prepare for this game. Kyle Field will be rocking for this game, and I like the home underdog in this spot.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 10 Wins 8 Losses (+$120)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 11 Wins 11 Losses
Overall Top 25 ATS Record This Season: 64 Wins (45.7%) 76 Losses (54.3%)
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