Week 3 in the college football season was a great one. The marquee games told us a lot about teams we weren't sure about before that contest. Louisville is the real deal. Lamar Jackson is the clear Heisman frontrunner now. Ohio State went to Oklahoma and beat down the Sooners. The young Buckeyes are supremely talented, and they look to be ahead of the curve. The Big 12 has been the big loser so far this year as far as conferences go. Week 4 has less marquee matchups, but I feel like college football always delivers fans some terrific games.
The selections went 1-2 last week, but the big play was the lone winner. Michigan State +8 was the four unit play, and it cashed in comfortably as the Spartans won outright at Notre Dame. Michigan State continues to be a team that just doesn't get enough credit from both fans in general as well as the oddsmakers. Mark Dantonio does a great job in the underdog role. USC was once again dominated by Stanford, and USC +9 was a loser. The Trojans knew Stanford couldn't throw the ball, and it didn't even matter. Christian McCaffrey just torched them like he does every time they meet. Texas State was in a good spot against Arkansas, but the Razorbacks took care of business and we lose that one unit play.
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. We will use Doc's Unit Betting System for all picks.
More plays than normal this week, but none of them are big plays.
Play on Georgia Tech +10 (2 unit play) vs. Clemson Georgia Tech's triple-option offense can keep Deshaun Watson and the Clemson offense on the sideline better than just about any other team in the country. This being a weeknight game is helpful, since it should enhance the home-field advantage for the Yellow Jackets. Clemson has a bunch of talent, but so far this year they have gotten too much credit because of what they did last year. Until I see them prove it to me, I have to take the double digits on the home underdog.
Play on Oklahoma State +9 (2 unit play) The Oklahoma State Cowboys lost to Central Michigan two weeks ago on that bad call from the officials. Give the Cowboys credit for bouncing back and taking care of business last week against Pittsburgh. Mason Rudolph threw for 540 yards in that win. James Washington had a ridiculous 296 yards receiving in the game!
Baylor is still an unknown commodity to me. The Bears did comfortably beat both SMU and Rice, but they didn't look particularly good in either game. The offseason issues at the school are well-documented, and those can be hard to get past. Is Jim Grobe going to be a good fit? I'm not sure.
I do know that Mike Gundy has been good at covering spreads, and the early sharp money here is on Oklahoma State. I'll grab the points.
Play on Arkansas +6.5 (3 unit play) If I could have gotten seven for this one, it would have been a bigger play. The Razorbacks should be extremely motivated for this game. Arkansas has lost to Texas A&M in overtime in each of the last two seasons. Arkansas led by eight points with three minutes left in regulation last year before losing 28-21 in overtime.
Texas A&M is coming off a win at Auburn, but I think it is hard to judge how good of a win that was for the Aggies. I'm still not convinced Trevor Knight is the answer at quarterback.
In a game that should be low scoring, I'll grab the points. Expect another very close game.
Play on UCLA +3 (2 unit play) I do worry about the UCLA defensive line against Stanford, and that is why this one is only a two unit play. Still, there are lots of reasons to want to take the home team here. Josh Rosen gives them a massive edge at the quarterback spot. UCLA has a large athleticism advantage overall as well, and I think this Bruins defense is better than most people realize.
Stanford doesn't have the same quality quarterback play they had a year ago, and for that reason I have to fade them in their first road game of the year. Can Ryan Burns do enough to help them cover this number? I don't think so.
Play on Northwestern +7.5 (1 unit play) The Northwestern Wildcats went to Nebraska and won last season. Northwestern is off to a really slow start this year, and I can understand why the line is set at this level. Still, I think now could be the time to buy in to the Wildcats. There are still coached by one of the most underrated coaches in the game. Pat Fitzgerald should help this team improve greatly between now and the end of the year.
Nebraska is coming off a big win at home against Oregon, and this is a bit of a letdown spot considering how poorly Northwestern has played this season. Mike Riley's team still has plenty to prove, and 7.5 points is a big spread to cover against a team with a great defense. In what should be another low-scoring game, I'll take the points.
Last Week's Results: Wins- 1 (Michigan State +8 for 4 units) Losses- 2 (USC +9 for 2 units and Texas State +31.5 for 1 unit)
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 5 Wins 4 Losses (+410)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 9 Wins 14 Losses 1 Tie
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 30 Wins (42.2%) 40 Losses (56.3%) 1 Tie (1.4%)
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