Week eight of the Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks article is here. The week seven slate provided the excitement that so many expected, but there wasn't as much of a shakeup in the polls afterward as I expected.
It was a bad week to be a bettor that faded the Top 25. The chalky teams had a bunch of success last week. On the whole, Top 25 teams covered the spread in 14 games last weekend and failed to cover in eight games. The selections at the end of the article didn't do well either. We had one winner and three losers last week. Florida was the lone winner as they lost by only a touchdown at LSU. Texas A&M threw three pick-sixes, which spoiled any chance they had of covering. Ohio State finally put forth a great effort, and the Buckeyes blew away Penn State. Louisville led Florida State at halftime, but the Cardinals defense failed to show up in the second half.
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Time will tell if this past weekend was only a blip or not. Before week seven, fading top teams was a profitable strategy, but last weekend the top teams came back in a big way.
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.
There are less games to pick from with quite a few top teams having a bye week in Week Eight, so we'll only have a couple of picks for this weekend.
Play #1- Tennessee +15.5 (#349) vs. Alabama- The Tennessee Volunteers were hyped in a huge way before the season. Most had Tennessee in their preseason Top 25. The Volunteers have played well the majority of the season, but they haven't been able to close out games in the fourth quarter. The Volunteers finally picked up a big win two weeks ago against Georgia at home. They came from behind in that one and that win had to give them a bunch of confidence coming into this game. Having a bye week between that win and this game was terrific for Tennessee.
Alabama is coming off a 41-23 win at Texas A&M. The Crimson Tide ran the ball extremely well in that one, and they clearly benefited from Kyle Allen's three interceptions that were all run back for touchdowns. The Crimson Tide put a lot into that Texas A&M game on the road, and I think this is the perfect spot for Alabama to coast. I certainly believe Alabama will win this game, but covering more than two touchdowns is a lot to ask of them.
Alabama has a week off after this game, and then they play LSU in what will be their game of the year. The Crimson Tide should be happy to just get out of this game with a win. We'll take Tennessee in this one.
Play #2- Virginia Tech -2.5 (#362) vs. Duke- David Cutcliffe always does a good job with this Duke team, and they come into this one with a 5-1 record. If you look at who they have beaten though, the Blue Devils haven't proven much. Their only somewhat impressive win was at home against Georgia Tech. Duke's other four wins came against Tulane, NC Central, Boston College (9-7 final score), and Army. Duke lost at home to a Northwestern team with a gritty defense that stopped the Blue Devils running game.
Duke must now travel to Virginia Tech to take on a Hokies team that has a quality defense. Virginia Tech is led by one of the best defensive coordinators in the game in Bud Foster. Virginia Tech lost last weekend because of four turnovers against Miami. The Hokies are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games following a loss.
This looks like the perfect spot for a Duke team that has overachieved so far this year to be exposed. I don't think Duke will finish the season in the Top 25, and I believe now is a good time to fade them. We'll back a Virginia Tech team that has a very good home-field advantage as well as the more talented team in this matchup.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 11 Wins 11 Losses (-$110)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 14 Wins 8 Losses
Overall Top 25 ATS Record This Season: 78 Wins (48.1%) 84 Losses (51.9%)
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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