NCAA Football Betting Advice: Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks
We're back with the Week 10 edition of the Fading the Top 25 Weekly Free Picks article. The amount of turnover in the Top 25 this year is astounding. Alabama and Clemson continue to sail smoothly in the top couple spots, but once you get from about number six or seven down it feels like no one can hold their own this year.
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. We'll keep track of those selections as well.
Last year, teams in the Top 25 did better than normal covering the number. The Top 25 teams were 153-149-2 against the spread last season That's a cover rate of 49.0 percent fading teams in the Top 25. So far this season, going against the top 25 teams blindly has been a great strategy as you can see in the season-to-date tally below.
The Fade the Top 25 Selections finished last year at 23-23 for +$1,040 with the larger plays helping me turn a profit. It was a terrible start to the season, but the last few weeks have been great. Let's hope the positive momentum continues.
The plays went 3-2 last weekend, but the two losers were both two-unit selections. There was no middle ground last weekend. The three winners were all great plays. In fact, they were all underdogs who not only covered but won outright. Northwestern took advantage of Wisconsin and continued their strong run as underdogs under Pat Fitzgerald. Georgia Southern smashed Appalachian State right after the Mountaineers got into the Top 25. Oklahoma State came out swinging and jumped to a big early lead over Texas. The Longhorns came back to make it a game, but the Cowboys did hold on to win. The two losers weren't close. Baylor was a really bad play. The Bears looked like they weren't even mentally in the game against West Virginia. Missouri led for much of the game against Kentucky, but they blew that game in an epic way, and Kentucky ended up winning outright.
Play #1- Cal +10.5 (3 units) The Cal Golden Bears are better than their record would suggest. Cal is minus-six in turnover margin this year, and that has led to some misleading scores in several of their games.
The Golden Bears rank in the top 20 in pass defense in the country. What are they going to see a lot of here? Washington State throwing the football. The Cougars are a good team, but I have to think there is going to be a letdown game for them at some point. Washington State is coming off that massive win at home over Oregon with ESPN's College Gameday in attendance and then a road win over Stanford. I think it is fair to assume this game means less to them than those other two contests.
Cal's defense should be able to keep them in the game here. I'll grab the points with the road team.
Play #2- Louisiana Tech +23.5 (3 units) This is a bunch of points to get in a game that is expected to be low scoring. The posted total here opened at 41.5. It has been bet up to 48, but that is still a very low total for one team to be catching more than three scores. Mississippi State is coming off an impressive 28-13 win over Texas A&M.
The Bulldogs are clearly a very good team, but I don't see this as a good spot for them. Which team are they playing next weekend? Mississippi State goes to Alabama next weekend for a big showdown with the Crimson Tide. This is their nonconference sandwich game, and one would think they would put much less into this game than the key SEC showdowns.
Louisiana Tech played LSU tough on the road earlier this year. Skip Holtz has been great in the underdog role in the past. Mississippi State doesn't have much of a passing attack, and that should keep this game competitive.
Play #3- Georgia -8 (2 units) I'll fade Kentucky again this week. While I like this Kentucky team, I don't see them as in the same class as Georgia. The Bulldogs have recruited extremely well for several years in a row. Kentucky's recruiting has been middle of the road. Kentucky has overachieved so far this year.
Georgia can't afford another loss. They had their disappointing showing against LSU, and I think this team learned its lesson from that game. The Bulldogs want nothing short of a playoff berth. They are the team with experience in these kinds of spots. Kentucky obviously is playing for plenty here too, but without any passing game I see the Wildcats having a really hard time scoring in this contest. I'll lay the number with the Bulldogs on the road.
Play #4- Northwestern +9.5 (2 units) How good is Notre Dame? The Fighting Irish are clearly a very good team, but they will be tested on the road in this game. Their only road test so far this year was against Virginia Tech, and it turns out they aren't good this season. I think this is the type of game where we find out if Notre Dame is a real contender or not.
Northwestern has been very good as an underdog under Fitzgerald. The Wildcats are 37-24 against as an underdog since 2008. Northwestern is 23-9 ATS when set as an underdog of seven points or more. The Wildcats have their weaknesses, but they should battle hard to the end here. I'll grab the points with the home underdog.
Top 25 ATS Record Last Week: 8 Wins 12 Losses
Cumulative Overall Top 25 ATS Record Year to Date: 88 Wins (43.8%) 112 Losses (55.7%) 1 Tie (0.5%)
Fade the Top 25 Selections Last Week: 3 Wins 2 Losses (-$40)
Fade the Top 25 Selections Year to Date: 19 Wins 17 Losses (-$80)
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