NCAA Football Betting Advice: Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks
Week 10's stunner was Iowa's shellacking of Ohio State. The Buckeyes were coming off that emotional win over Penn State, and it looked like they thought they'd just automatically pick up the win in Iowa. That didn't even come close to happening. Oklahoma's win at Oklahoma State was another big one. That game was 38-38 at halftime. I like offense, but that's a little ridiculous.
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).
A terrible week for the selections last week. I made Texas +7 a big play last weekend. It didn't work out. Texas' defense was up to the task against TCU, but the offense couldn't get anything going. Tom Herman's perfect record ATS as an underdog was ruined. Oklahoma State had their chances, but the Cowboys could never got a stop. That one was a two unit loser. Arizona +7.5 looked like a winner when their game with USC was tied with six minutes left, but the Wildcats gave up two quick touchdowns and lost 49-35. It was an 0-3 week.
I like several games this week, so we'll try to right the ship with these selections.
Play #1- Iowa State +7 (4 units) Oklahoma State is coming off that loss to Oklahoma in their biggest rivalry game of the year. Not only did they lose their rivalry game, but they also lost their chance at the College Football Playoff. While Iowa State is coming off a loss as well, the Cyclones never thought they had a chance at the playoff. The Cyclones now come home where they have an underrated home-field advantage.
The strength of this Iowa State defense is their secondary. That serves them well against an Oklahoma State team that airs it out often. Getting a full touchdown at home against a team that had their hopes dashed last weekend is way too much for me to overlook. I'll play Iowa State for four units in a game they have a shot to win outright.
Play #2- Michigan State +15.5 (3 units) Ohio State has to be really disappointed after last week's game. Of course you can say that they will bounce back and pummel Michigan State here, but past results between these two would suggest a very close game. In the last five meetings between these two teams, the aggregate score is Ohio State 121 and Michigan State 120.
Ohio State has beaten Michigan State twice 17-16 in the last five years. You have to go back to 2008 before you find a game between these two teams where the margin was more than 12 points. Mark Dantonio is a really good defensive coach, and the Buckeyes offense has been very inconsistent this year. I'll grab more the underdog with more than two touchdowns here.
Play #3- Utah +1 (3 units) Mike Leach's team has been surprisingly mediocre on offense this year. The Cougars are certainly improved on defense as well, but they don't have that same efficient passing attack they have had in recent years. Washington State's offensive line has clearly been a problem this year. Washington State has already allowed 38 sacks on the season. That's not a good place to have problems when you are about to face Utah.
The Utes defensive line is one of the best in the country. Utah will bring the pressure consistently in this one. I think they'll have a lot of success getting to the quarterback. The Utah offense is definitely better with Tyler Huntley at quarterback. The Utes had an extra day to prepare for this game since they played during the week last week. Utah has a great home-field advantage, and I like them to win this one.
Play #4- Georgia Tech +3 (2 units) The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are coming off a disappointing loss to Virginia last week. Georgia Tech is a tricky matchup for top teams, though, and Virginia Tech is coming off a deflating loss to Miami.
Georgia Tech has been weak against the run this year, but Virginia Tech's rushing attack isn't good. The Yellow Jackets have been solid against the pass, and that is Virginia Tech's offensive strength. Georgia Techs' triple-option is tough to prepare for in a week. Paul Johnson is one of the more underrated coaches in the country. In a game I believe will be very close, I'll take the home team plus the field goal.
Play #5- Mississippi State +14.5 (1 unit) I'm not excited to go against Alabama, which is why this is only a one unit play. Still, with a couple books showing more than two touchdowns, I'm going to take Mississippi State at home. There aren't many teams in the country with a better home-field advantage than the Bulldogs.
Alabama has had quite a few injuries in recent weeks. The linebacker position is a rare spot where Alabama now looks a little thin. The Crimson Tide are without four guys who were in either the first or second unit at the linebacker spot before the season. The Crimson Tide front seven will be tested this week by a Mississippi State offense that runs the ball very well. Alabama should win here, but I don't think it will be all that easy.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 15 Wins 19 Losses (-$940)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 12 Wins 13 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 113 Wins (51.1%) 107 Losses (48.4%) 1 Tie (0.5%)
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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