College football Week 13 is here, and it's time for another edition of the Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks article. Most of the top teams ended up winning last week, but they didn't cover at a high rate. In fact, the Top 5 teams in the AP poll all failed to cover the spread. If you were fading the very top of the Top 25, you did great. It was the third straight weekend that this was the case. There are a lot of top teams who play tough games this weekend. There are also a lot of top teams who play against each other in rivalry week. It should be a really exciting week of college football.
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The selections last week went 2-1. The lone loser was a two unit play on West Virginia. The Mountaineers were completely outclassed early in that game, and it didn't help that they had problems with turnovers. Michigan State +22 came through easily as a three unit winner. The Spartans nearly knocked off Ohio State. Mark Dantonio made a controversial decision to go for two late in the game, and the Spartans didn't get it. Michigan State's defense came ready to play last week, and the bad weather was an equalizer as well. The one unit play on Wake Forest +22.5 won by the hook. Clemson raced to an early lead but showed no will to run up the score with bigger tests coming soon.
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.
Some bigger plays this week for the selections. Let's see if we can have a big winning week on rivalry week.
(Friday Game) Play #1- Air Force +9.5 (4 unit play) vs. Boise State Boise State hasn't been able to stop the run all year. The Broncos are allowing 4.46 yards per carry on the season. Boise State is now expected to be without two linebackers who are key contributors to the team for this Friday game at Air Force. It's no secret that Air Force runs the ball well. The Falcons ran for 287 yards two years ago and 328 yards last year against Boise State.
Arion Worthman is expected to start here for Air Force, and I think he is a better fit for this offense than Nate Romine. Worthman is a tremendous runner at quarterback, and I see him having a big game here. In a game that I expect to be very close, I'll grab the points.
(Friday Game) Play #2- Toledo +9 (2 unit play) vs. Western Michigan Toledo was upset by Western Michigan last year, and I think the Rockets have a shot at upsetting Western Michigan here. There's no doubt that Toledo will be the best offense Western Michigan has gone against this year. The Broncos have had a special season, and I'm high on the team in general, but this is a dangerous game for them. Logan Woodside is tremendous at quarterback for Toledo, and the Rockets have two really good running backs. In a game where I don't expect either defense to get many stops, I'm going to take the underdog.
(Friday Game) Play #3- Washington State +6.5 (2 unit play) vs. Washington Washington is a really good team, but they have played a weak schedule this year. They were beaten soundly at home by USC. They escaped with a seven-point win at Utah, and they outgained Utah by only nine yards in that contest.
Washington State's defense is no longer a major weakness, and that makes them a dangerous team. Additionally, Mike Leach's team has been running the ball much better this year. This game is for all the marbles in the Pac 12 North, and Washington State would love to ruin Washington's chances at the playoff as well. The Cougars have a good home-field advantage, and I think this line is a little bit too high.
Play #3 Florida State -7 (7 unit play) vs. Florida The Florida Gators just won at LSU last week, and the team as a whole could not have been more excited after the game. Their coach was talking about how massive the win was, and the players were celebrating it far more than a normal game. There was a ton of emotion put into that game, and it was an extremely physical game. That's tough to rebound from right away, especially when you are playing a Florida State team that has been playing cupcakes the last few weeks.
The Seminoles have more talent than Florida, and I don't think it is even close. Florida State didn't play up to expectations early in the season, and I think that has kept the line closer here than it should be. The Seminoles defense has been much improved in recent weeks. Dalvin Cook is running it well, and the offensive line is playing much better. Florida is really banged up in the front seven on defense. Also, Florida's defensive numbers are a bit skewed since they haven't faced many good offenses playing in the very weak SEC East.
Florida was outgained by 153 yards at LSU last weekend. They were outgained by 29 yards earlier this year at Vanderbilt. The Gators offense is terrible, and I don't see them being able to keep up. My biggest play of the season in this article series is on Florida State -7.
Play #4- Iowa State +7 (5 unit play) vs. West Virginia West Virginia had their opportunity to show the nation what they were made of last weekend, and they were beaten down 56-28 by Oklahoma. The Mountaineers will likely have a hangover from that game. They know they have no chance at the playoff now, and these bubble-burst scenarios can be a good time to fade a team. I've never thought West Virginia was all that great all season long, and I'm happy to go against them here.
Iowa State hasn't lost by more than 10 at home all year. The Cyclones have a very good home-field advantage. Oklahoma beat them by 10 points here, and no one else has beaten them by more than five points. With Lanning and Park both getting time at quarterback, the Iowa State offense has improved. Iowa State is playing with a ton of confidence after last week's 66-10 blowout over Texas Tech. I think West Virginia comes out flat, while Iowa State builds on their momentum from last weekend. The Cyclones are definitely improving under Coach Matt Campbell. I'll gladly take the touchdown with the home team.
Last Week's Results: 2 Wins (Michigan State +22 for 3 units and Wake Forest +22.5 for 1 unit) 1 Loss (West Virginia +3.5 for 2 units)
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 17 Wins 22 Losses ($-120)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 11 Wins 14 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 122 Wins (45.7%) 143 Losses (53.6%) 2 Ties (0.7%)
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