NCAA Football Betting Advice: Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks
Another good weekend of college football is in the books. Oklahoma's dominating win at Ohio State was the signature win of the weekend, but several teams had key wins. Clemson's defensive performance against Auburn was tremendous. Alabama remains a big favorite to win the title, but behind them there are a lot of teams vying for second through sixth or seventh.
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.
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How did the Top 25 do overall against the spread last season? Last year's full-season results - 137 wins (45.97 percent) 159 losses (53.35 percent) and 2 ties (.67 percent)
Last week the Top 25 went 9-11 ATS. There were multiple cancellations due to Hurricane Irma, which is why there were only 20 teams active. On the year now, the Top 25 is 23-23 ATS.
What about the selections from last week? The bad news is they went 1-2. The good news is the two losers were the one-unit selections. The winner was the three-unit selection. Overall, a solid $80 profit for the week. Cincinnati plus the points was the big winner. The Bearcats stayed close throughout, and that cover was never really in doubt. South Alabama +28.5 was a loser as Oklahoma State completely dominated from the start. South Alabama couldn't get any offense going. Auburn +5.5 didn't lose by much, but it was the wrong side. Clemson easily won the statistics in that game, and Auburn averaged less than two yards per play.
Play #1- Pittsburgh +14 (4 unit play) vs. Oklahoma State
I'm going against Oklahoma State again this week. I feel like Pittsburgh is the type of opponent that can at least keep the game close. Pittsburgh hasn't been this big of an underdog at home since 2001. The Panthers won at Clemson last year and have proven they are capable of measuring up against very good teams.
Last year, Pittsburgh went to Oklahoma State and lost by one touchdown. Oklahoma State was favored by 2.5 at home last year. I know the Cowboys are better than they were a year ago, and Pitt might be a little worse. Still, does it really make any sense for Pittsburgh to be catching two full touchdowns at home? It doesn't to me. That's a huge adjustment. This line screams "overreaction" to early results. Pittsburgh actually outgained Penn State last week as well. The Panthers are no pushover. Oklahoma State is making a large step up in class from their road win last week at lowly South Alabama.
Pittsburgh has the running game to control the time of possession here and keep Oklahoma State's offense off the field better at least to some degree. Oklahoma State's defense is still a major weakness, and I think that will show this week.
Play #2- Tulane +34 (2 unit selection) vs. Oklahoma
This is a pure spot play for me. Oklahoma is coming off a massive win at Ohio State. The team was clearly extremely emotional after that win. The Sooners dominated that game in every way possible. This is a really good Oklahoma team. Still, they are only human, and this is the perfect game to come out flat and just coast into next week. Why would they be excited about hosting Tulane? Oklahoma goes on the road to start conference play next weekend. It's a clear sandwich spot to me.
Tulane is also a team that will slow the game down with their triple-option offense. The Green Wave are so different than anyone else Oklahoma faces that I imagine they will pick up a few more yards than most believe here. Willie Fritz is doing a great job with this Tulane team. Oklahoma wins easily here, but this line is too big in this kind of situational spot.
Play #3- BYU +17 (2 unit selection) vs. Wisconsin
The BYU Cougars are likely to be without Tanner Mangum here. That's a negative, but is it a big enough negative to avoid taking 17 points in what should be a really low-scoring game? It isn't for me. BYU still has an excellent defensive front. Wisconsin is a team that relies heavily on the running game.
Wisconsin has played an easy schedule this year, and I don't think they have proven enough to be laying 17 points in a very tough road environment against a team with a good defense. BYU should be up for this game. Some may believe there could be a hangover from their tight loss to rival Utah, but a highly-ranked team coming into town for a big game should have their attention. Admittedly, there is some risk here with a new quarterback likely on the field, but in a game I believe stays in the 30s as far as total points, I have to grab 17 points here.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 3 Wins 4 Losses (+$130)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 9 Wins 11 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 23 Wins (50%) 23 Losses (50%)
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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