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NCAAF Free Pick From Linebacker: Michigan State vs Northwestern

NCAAF Free Pick From Linebacker: Michigan State vs Northwestern

Michigan State Spartans @ Northwestern Wildcats (NW +9.5, O/U 38.5)

The first Big Ten matchup of the season for both schools takes place this Saturday north of Chicago in Evanston, where Northwestern will host Michigan State. The Spartans are coming off a tough 10-7 loss at home last week, while Northwestern is coming off a win in Week 3 to even its season record at 1-1.

Michigan State is a current 9.5-point favorite entering Ryan Field, despite Northwestern having won the last three meetings between these programs. The Linebacker’s model projects the Spartans will win 23.3 - 18.7, giving the edge to the Wildcats when it comes to the spread. Our model suggests a $97 wager on Northwestern +9.5 for an average $100 bettor.

The Linebacker’s NCAAF picks are 75-49 ATS (60.4%) and 71-45 on O/Us (61.2%) over the first two weeks, profiting +27.77 units or $2,777 for an average $100 bettor. Head over to thelinebacker.com to sign up for a free trial and get access to EVERY NCAAF Week 4 prediction.

Why Will Northwestern Cover the Spread?

  • Northwestern ranks 14th in the country with 9.05 yards allowed per completion, and 28th with 176.5 yards passing allowed per game. Michigan State’s offense operates primarily through the air, as the Spartans rank 39th in the country with 272.3 yards passing per game. Their rushing attack ranks 81st with 157.3 yards per game.
  • Michigan State just lost its starting left tackle for six to seven weeks, and was already without tackles Cole Chewins and AJ Arcuri. Northwestern’s defensive front has recorded seven sacks and 12 tackles for a loss in two games, and will likely face less resistance with the Spartans leaning on their third replacement at left tackle.
  • The Spartans struggled mightily last week to score despite totaling 404 yards of offense. They’ve scored just seven touchdowns in 14 red-zone trips, and Northwestern has excelled at limiting scores in the red zone this season. The Wildcats have allowed just one touchdown in four red-zone trips allowed, with no field goals surrendered. Northwestern also was tied for 10th in red-zone defense last season, allowing opponents to score on 73.2 percent of their trips, so it’s been a consistent strength for this defense.
  • In an expected low-scoring conference matchup where Northwestern has won the last three contests, our model expects the Wildcats to keep this a one-score game at home even if Michigan State wins outright.

Michigan State @ Northwestern: How to Bet the Total

This game currently features an OVER/UNDER of 38.5. The Linebacker’s projected score totals 42.0 points (23.3 - 18.7), giving us an edge on the OVER in this one. We recommend a $75 wager on OVER 39.5 for an average $100 bettor.