NCAA Football Betting Advice: Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks
The first full weekend of college football is in the books. There was plenty of excitement to go around. It was a great reminder to those who had forgotten (most hadn't) how great college football action can be. Several top teams struggled in the first half, but most kicked it into gear later in the game and won comfortably.
The Top 25 as a whole went 14-11 against the spread last week, so a straight fade of top teams last week didn't work out. That will certainly happen sometimes, but we'll look to track how things look in the longer term.
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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).
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.
What about last week's plays? They went 2-2, but the biggest play cashed in and we finished with a profit for the week. We'll gladly take it on a week where a lot of the top-ranked teams covered the spread. Purdue plus the points cashed easily as the four-unit play. Tulsa couldn't stay close to Oklahoma State, and we lost that three-unit selection. The two-unit play on Akron was a bad pick. Penn State showed up and just blasted them. Georgia Tech +3 cashed as our final two-unit play. The Yellow Jackets really should have won the game outright, but we did cash them plus the points.
I'm not particularly strong on any of the plays this week, so there won't be any large plays, but we do have three spots to look to fade highly-ranked teams.
Play #1- Cincinnati +35 (3-unit play) vs. Michigan
Cincinnati had a lackluster opening win over Austin Peay, and Michigan dominated Florida. This is a classic overreaction spot, in my opinion. Is Cincinnati a really good team? No. Still, they are a much better team than one that would normally be getting 35 points in a spot like this. Also, we can't be sure that Michigan is a great team from one win over a Florida team that had half of its roster suspended.
Michigan still has a lot of youth at key positions on the field. The Wolverines return only one starter on defense. They no longer have the dominant offensive line that will knock everyone off the line.
Cincinnati has quality players at the skill positions, and the Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell knows Michigan's schemes well since he has been at Ohio State until this season.
Michigan will win comfortably, but 35 points is too much for me to pass up.
Play #2- Auburn +5.5 (1-unit play) vs. Clemson
The Clemson Tigers dominated Kent State last week. The Auburn Tigers dominated Georgia Southern last week. I don't think we really learned anything about either team. Auburn turned the ball over a few times and missed scoring opportunities, but their box score shows how much they truly dominated Georgia Southern.
In the first three quarters, Georgia Southern had less than 30 yards of total offense against Auburn. Auburn's offense is clearly better with Jarrett Stidham at quarterback, and I think they'll be able to score enough against Clemson.
These are two teams that I rate evenly on a neutral field. Clemson is a very good home-field advantage, but it isn't worth 5.5 points. Clemson still has big questions when it comes to quarterback play. I'll take a small play on the visiting Auburn Tigers in a game where we should learn a lot about both teams.
Play #3- South Alabama +28.5 (1-unit play) vs. Oklahoma State
South Alabama has upset San Diego State and Mississippi State the last two years. Oklahoma State is better than either of those teams were, but it is important to point out that South Alabama has more than held their own when stepping up in class in the nonconference slate.
The fact that South Alabama gets to host a Big 12 opponent is huge for the school. There's no doubt that South Alabama will be highly motivated for this game. What about Oklahoma State? The Cowboys play a bigger-named opponent on the road in Pittsburgh next weekend. It certainly wouldn't be a surprise if Oklahoma State did a little sleepwalking in a game like this one.
South Alabama is definitely going to try to slow the pace of this game down. That's their only chance to stay close. At more than four touchdowns, I'll take a small shot on the Jaguars at home.
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 2 Wins 2 Losses (+$50)
Overall Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 14 Wins 11 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 14 Wins 12 Losses
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