Last week's slate of games wasn't very good. There weren't marquee matchups for fans to get excited about, but Week 3 has plenty of those! How did Top 25 teams do against the number last week? There were 11 teams who covered and 11 who failed to cover. There was one game that never had a line at all. Florida State pounded Charleston Southern, but that game had no line likely due to the suspension of so many Charleston Southern players for that game. A couple of other Top 25 teams had the week off.
The selections went 1-2 last week, with the big four unit play on Syracuse totally backfiring. I thought that was a look-ahead spot for Louisville, but Syracuse's defense looked like they were playing with only eight or nine guys all night long. Louisville rolled up more than 800 yards of total offense in that game. Based on what I saw in that contest, I expect Syracuse's defense to be torched on a weekly basis. On the UTEP +28.5 loser, we got a little unlucky. First of all, the news about Zack Greenlee not playing wasn't released until after this article was written. That would have made me stay off the play. Even with Greenlee not playing, UTEP only trailed 20-7 before falling apart late in the game and losing by 34 points. Central Michigan won outright as a 21-point underdog, so that was definitely a good selection. The Chippewas were fortunate to win outright, but the cover was never in doubt.
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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 on Michigan State +8 (4 unit play) vs. Notre Dame Mark Dantonio's Michigan State Spartans are really dangerous as an underdog to begin with, and they had an extra week to prepare for this game. Michigan State lost 17-13 at Notre Dame two years ago, and that was a game the Spartans really should have won. They'll remember that one, and it serves as extra motivation for this contest.
The Spartans have been road warriors the last few seasons. Michigan State is 18-7-2 against the spread in their last 27 games. Michigan State is 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games played at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games as chalk of six points or more against a Big Ten opponent.
Notre Dame's defense wasn't impressive in their loss to Texas. Michigan State hasn't played anyone of importance yet, but the Spartans defense should be very good this season. With two weeks to prepare and a chip on their shoulder, I have to take Michigan State in this one.
Play on USC +9 (2 unit play) vs. Stanford This is a fade of the Stanford Cardinal more than it is a play on the USC Trojans. Stanford still has to prove to me that they are worthy of their ranking. Christian McCaffrey is obviously a tremendous running back, but the pieces around him aren't as good as they were a year ago.
Stanford beat Kansas State 26-13 in their first game this year, but that was a very misleading final score. Stanford had only 272 yards of total offense compared to Kansas State's 335. The Cardinal benefited from two Kansas State interceptions in that one. Additionally, Kansas State was penalized eight times for 44 yards in that one. Stanford had only 3.5 yards per carry.
USC was trounced by Alabama in a very strange game in their season opener. USC actually led deep into the second quarter before the wheels fell off. The Trojans bounced back last week against Utah State in a 45-7 win.
USC is going to know that Stanford wants to the run the ball constantly here. Can Stanford be balanced on offense? There's no way of telling yet, and that's why I will grab the nine points on the underdog.
Play on Texas State +31.5 (1 unit play) vs. Arkansas The Arkansas Razorbacks have lost in overtime the last two years to Texas A&M. Arkansas plays Texas A&M next weekend. You have to think that Arkansas is way more focused on the Aggies than they are this game. Texas State won a wild game at Ohio in Week 1. Texas State is clearly overmatched in this game, but the line feels a little bit out of control to me. It's only a one unit play, but I'm on Texas State in this contest.
Last Week's Results: Wins- 1 (Central Michigan +21 for 2 units) Losses- 2 (Syracuse +14.5 for 4 units and UTEP +28.5 for 2 units)
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 4 Wins 2 Losses (+$340)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 11 Wins 11 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 21 Wins (44.7%) 26 Losses (55.3%)
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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