After the Top 25 had a huge day covering spreads last weekend, they fell flat on their face last weekend. Did that help the results of the weekly free picks here? Absolutely!
The Associated Press Top 25 as a whole went 8-17 against the spread last week. That's the worst weekend of the year so far for the top teams. For the season, Top 25 teams are covering at only a 44.8 percent clip thus far.
There were three picks last week, and the picks went 2-1. Still, it was a big week since the two large plays were the ones that cashed and the small play was the loser. Washington -3 was one of the best plays of the weekend in general. The Huskies steamrolled Stanford in their Friday night showdown. Chris Petersen's team looks really dangerous. I expected Washington to win comfortably, but their performance topped all expectations. The work their defensive front did getting into the Stanford backfield was amazing. Washington -3 was a five unit winner.
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The second bigger play was Wisconsin +10.5 for four units. Wisconsin covered the spread thanks to Michigan's poor special teams play. That was probably a fortunate cover, but after an ugly weekend last week, we'll take them however we can get them.
The one loser last week was Rutgers +38.5. In hindsight, I shouldn't have gotten in front of the Ohio State train. The Buckeyes are playing as well as anyone in the country. Fortunately, this was only a two unit selection.
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. Doc's Sports Unit System for betting will be used for all picks.
Play #1- Washington State +7 (3 unit play) vs. Stanford We won't go as big against Stanford as last week, but I still think they are worthy of a fade here. The Cardinal aren't as good as they were last year. Ryan Burns is a big step down from Kevin Hogan. Teams are going to start realizing they can just load up the box and force him to beat them.
It's also important to note that Stanford's secondary is ravaged by injuries right now. Two starting corners are unlikely to play in this one, according to David Shaw. Both of their safeties are less than 100 percent as well. Washington State is a terrible team to have to play when you are banged up in the secondary. The Cougars have a great quarterback in Luke Falk, and I think he can have a big day here.
Washington State is 8-0 ATS in their last eight games vs. a team with a winning record. The Cougars are also 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
Play #2- Arkansas +14 (3 unit play) vs. Alabama The Razorbacks scheme and tempo tends to lead to a lot of close games. Arkansas is all about running the football and slowing down the pace of the game. They will try to control the ball and keep Alabama's offense off the field here.
Arkansas has played Alabama very tough the last two seasons. Even though Alabama won last year's meeting by 13 points, the Razorbacks played them very tough there. Arkansas actually led 7-3 at halftime and trailed by only three points heading into the fourth quarter. Two years ago, Arkansas outgained Alabama by 108 but lost the game by a point.
This game is at Arkansas, and it is a night game. It should be a great atmosphere for football. While Nick Saban does a great job preparing his team, Alabama does have Tennessee, Texas A&M, and LSU as their next three opponents. The possibility of this being a look-ahead spot is definitely there.
Play #3- New Mexico +17 (2 unit play) vs. Boise State This line is inflated because of the revenge factor. I think revenge can be overblown in many situations, and this is one of them. New Mexico is 5-0 ATS in their last five games against Boise State. Bob Davie's team can run the football on just about anyone, and I think they will have success running it on Boise State again this year.
If you look at Boise State's statistics so far this year, they are fifth in the nation in rushing defense, but who have they played that is a good running team? This will be the first strong running game they have played. Last time Boise State came to New Mexico, the Lobos ran for 505 yards. I'm certainly not suggesting that will happen again, but I do believe they can move it consistently on the ground and control the time of possession battle.
Boise State was in a prime revenge spot last week against Utah State, and they looked flat. The Broncos are a good team, but they aren't quite the dominant team that the oddsmakers are pricing them as right now.
Play #4- LSU -3 (2 unit play) vs. Florida Don't look now, but there is an LSU running back not named Fournette averaging 8.7 yards per carry this year. Derrius Guice has been tearing it up of late, and he is likely to get the majority of the carries this weekend.
Florida's defensive front is extremely banged up. It looks like they will be playing almost all backups on the defensive line in this one. LSU just ran for 418 yards last weekend against Missouri.
LSU has one of the most talented teams in the country, and I believe the move to let Les Miles go has given this team an emotional boost. Florida's offense isn't good enough, and their defense is too banged up.
Last Week's Results: 2 Wins (Washington -3 for 5 units and Wisconsin +10.5 for 4 units) 1 Loss (Rutgers +38.5 for 2 units)
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 7 Wins 10 Losses (+$10)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 8 Wins 17 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 52 Wins (44.8%) 63 Losses (54.3%) 1 Tie (0.9%)
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