NCAA Football Betting Advice: Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks
After a down week last week, the Top 25 teams did well last weekend. Penn State had a signature win over Michigan at home, but now they'll have to try to go win at Ohio State. There are some big games for Top 25 teams in the next three weeks, so expect a lot of movement in the rankings in the coming weeks.
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.
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 2-0 weekend last week for the selections. It worked out well limiting exposure with the Top 25 doing very well against the spread. Notre Dame -3.5 was a three unit play last week. The Fighting Irish rolled to victory 49-14 over USC in a game that was never close. Notre Dame ran the ball extremely well in that one, and USC's defensive front simply had no answers. The Fighting Irish had the benefit of an extra week to prepare for that game, and it definitely showed last Saturday night. Texas +7 cashed as a two unit selection. Tom Herman ran his record to 7-0 ATS as an underdog in his head coaching career. Texas ended up losing 13-10 in overtime to Oklahoma State. The stunner was how low-scoring the game was, but Texas covered and had a chance to win outright until they threw an interception in the end zone in overtime that sealed their fate.
Once again there are several teams on a bye week this week from Top 25. One other might as well be on a bye. UCF will host Austin Peay this weekend in game that won't be lined until close to game time. I don't have any strong feelings on these games, so I'll keep the bet sizes small this week.
Play #1- Play on Duke +16 (2 units) Virginia Tech plays at Miami next weekend. That's a game that will determine a ton for both teams. It would be easy for Virginia Tech to look ahead to that game and overlook Duke here. The Blue Devils have lost four straight games. Duke has been a great ATS team in recent years under David Cutcliffe. They are generally a team that you can count on to battle to the end.
Virginia Tech had less than 400 yards of total offense in last week's 59-7 win over North Carolina. That game was primarily about North Carolina's offense and special teams being completely inept. Duke is a solid amount better than that, and the Blue Devils should come in here with a chip on their shoulder after their recent string of poor performances. I'll grab the points on the Blue Devils here.
Play #2- Play on North Carolina State +7.5 (2 units) I had my biggest bet last week on Notre Dame, but this week I'll go against the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame had a bye week to prepare for USC, and that really gave them a big edge. This time the tables are turned. It is NC State that comes into this one with a bye week to get ready for this big matchup. If it weren't for a very misleading final score in their season opener against South Carolina, NC State would come into this game unbeaten.
It would be hard for Notre Dame to come out with the same level of intensity they had last weekend. The Fighting Irish put a lot into that rivalry game vs. USC. This is a very tricky opponent for them. NC State's strength is their ability to stop the run. Notre Dame is heavily dependent on running the football.
Play #3- Play on Ohio State -6 (1 unit) The situation strongly favors Ohio State here, so I'll back them for a one unit play. I can't play it bigger, because I've been very impressed with Penn State so far this season. Still, the Buckeyes have some major revenge in mind from last year's last-second loss on the road. Ohio State hosts this game, and this time around it is the Buckeyes who had an extra week to prepare thanks to the bye last weekend. Last year, it was Penn State who had the bye week before these two matched up.
Urban Meyer is 19-7 ATS in his last 26 games coaching with 11 days or more between games. Meyer has proven very good at preparing his team with extra time.
One other key advantage here for the Buckeyes is their running game. The one slight weakness Penn State has had this year is their rushing defense. The Buckeyes have really been running the ball well of late.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 15 Wins 13 Losses (+$600)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 12 Wins 7 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 91 Wins (52.3%) 83 Losses (47.7%)
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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