Week 14 is here, and this will be the final edition of the Fading the Top 25 Weekly free picks. All season long we've been tracking how the AP Top 25 do against the spread. If you have been just blindly fading the Top 25 this year, you've made some good money.
On the whole this year, Top 25 teams have covered at only a 45.9 percent clip. Blindly betting against Top 25 teams has you safely over 53 percent, which is definitely enough to beat the juice.
As a general rule, it appears it is a good strategy to look to go against Top 25 teams. We've tracked this the last couple years. This has been the best year thus far for fading the overall Top 25. This particular season it has definitely been the most profitable to fade the teams in the Top 10 or even the Top 5.
A couple examples of teams that turned out to be great fades are Notre Dame and Texas A&M. The Fighting Irish are 4-8 ATS on the season. Remember when Texas beat Notre Dame in the season opener and everyone thought that was a signature win for the Longhorns? That seems so long ago. Texas A&M was in the Top 10 for several weeks in a row. The Aggies were even included in the CFP Rankings at No. 4 at one point. Unfortunately for Texas A&M, they finished the season the same way they did last year. After covering the number in their first four games, Texas A&M proceeded to go 0-8 ATS in their last eight games this year.
How about some preseason Top 15 teams that ended up being terrible? TCU is 3-8 ATS this year, and they aren't even sniffing the Top 25 with a 6-5 straight up record on the season. TCU was ranked No. 13 in the preseason AP Top 25. Michigan State was ranked No. 12 in the preseason. They ended the season 3-9 straight up and 4-8 ATS. How awful were things for the Spartans? They were so bad that the only Big Ten team they beat all year was the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Ole Miss was ranked No. 11 in the preseason. The Rebels finished 5-7 straight up and 4-8 ATS. UCLA and Oregon are a couple more great examples of teams that were supposed to be good but ended up having a terrible season. Basically, the press did a really bad job of ranking these teams in the preseason. That certainly helped bettors who look to fade the Top 25.
What about the plays last week? There were five of them, and we only cashed two, but one of the two that won was the big seven unit play on Florida State -7. The Seminoles dominated that game from start to finish. Air Force +9.5 was a good four unit winner as well. The Falcons pulled the outright upset over Boise State. Washington State +6.5 was just a bad pick all the way, and that two unit play was a loser. Iowa State kicked field goals instead of scoring touchdowns, and the Cyclones had a minus four turnover margin against West Virginia. That meant Iowa State +7 was a five unit loser. Toledo +9 was a two unit loser as well. The Rockets actually outgained Western Michigan, but turnovers cost them this one. Overall, the plays have ended just about flat on the season. We've lost more plays than we have won, but the bigger plays have done well.
One last play for this year as we try to finish the season in positive territory.
Play on Oklahoma State +11 (2 unit play) vs. Oklahoma Oklahoma State hasn't lost to Oklahoma by double digits since 2008. Bedlam is normally a very tight game. While I do think Oklahoma will probably win, this line is too large.
Oklahoma State hasn't gotten any respect from the oddsmakers all season. The Cowboys are 7-4 ATS on the season. Oklahoma State was most recently a 6.5-point underdog at TCU. The market pounded TCU like it was free money, and then Oklahoma State went out and drubbed TCU 31-6 at TCU. In late October, Oklahoma State was a 4.5-point home underdog against West Virginia, and they ended up winning that game 37-20.The Cowboys should have only one loss on the year; as we all know the Central Michigan final play shouldn't have happened. Mike Gundy is a good coach who prepares his team well for big games.
Oklahoma is a good team, but their defense has been a major disappointment. Oklahoma is allowing nearly 300 yards through the air per game, which is nearly at the bottom of the charts in the nation. Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys offense should pile up the points here. I think this game stays close. I'll take Oklahoma State +11 for a two unit play.
Last Week's Results: 2 Wins (Florida State -7 for 7 units, and Air Force +9.5 for 4 units) 3 Losses (Iowa State +7 for 5 units, Washington State +6.5 for 2 units, and Toledo +9 for 2 units)
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 19 Wins 25 Losses ($-10)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 11 Wins 12 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 133 Wins (45.9%) 155 Losses (53.4%) 2 Ties (0.7%)
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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