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Wildcats Huge Underdogs At Undefeated Michigan

Blake Corum and the Michigan Wolverines are big favorites over the Northwestern Wildcats in NCAAF betting odds.

After pulling out a close one against Nebraska two weeks ago, the Michigan Wolverines (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) look to continue their undefeated ways against the Northwestern Wildcats (3-3, 2-4), who have struggled after looking so solid last season. At first glance, Michigan laying 21.5 points is tough to swallow, but Northwestern has struggled to cover this year and Michigan has been fantastic at home, making the number much more palatable.

Northwestern Wildcats vs Michigan Wolverines
  • Date/Time: October 23, 12 noon ET
  • Stadium: Michigan Stadium
  • TV Coverage: Fox
  • Opening Odds: Michigan -21.5 | O/U 50.5 (Line History)
  • Northwestern vs Michigan Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Any time you see a line above three touchdowns, it’s fair to wonder what value there is on that line. On top of that, it is always tough when you face conference teams that are known to be tough defensively and like to limit possessions. However, Northwestern is not one of those teams. Nebraska ran up 56 points on the Wildcats, which should dispel any thought that Northwestern can possibly limit Michigan’s offense. Yes, 21.5 points is a hefty spread, but with Michigan’s defense, take the number with confidence.

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Northwestern News & Notes

Per usual, Northwestern has struggled to score points, averaging just 21.8 points per game, which is third to last in the Big Ten. The offense took a hit prior to the season when the Wildcats lost running back Cam Porter, who would’ve made a big difference.

On top of that, the normally stout Northwestern defense has not been what head coach Pat Fitzgerald has been accustomed to. Last season, the Wildcats allowed just 15.9 points per game, good for fifth in the entire country. This year, however, they have fallen to 62nd, giving up 23.8 points per game. Moreover, they are allowing 410.8 total yards per game, the second-most in the Big Ten.

Neither is a recipe for success, but last week was a sign of positive momentum as Northwestern clobbered upstart Rutgers 21-7.

“Probably our best game collectively as a defense,” Fitzgerald said after the contest. “That group’s got a ton of pride. We’re getting a little bit more experience now as the season goes along.”

Michigan News & Notes

After a hard-earned win against Nebraska two weeks ago, Michigan had last week off to regroup. Going into this home game against Northwestern, Michigan stands as one of just 11 undefeated teams remaining in college football and one of six among Power Five teams.

The Wolverines have the fourth-best scoring defense in the Big Ten, while also possessing the second-best scoring offense.

Michigan’s 6-0 record represents the team’s best start since 2016 when the Wolverines stormed out of the gates to a 9-0 mark. They have a ways to go before hitting that mark, but are in a good position with just one matchup against a ranked team in their next three games.

How Northwestern Will Cover

This is going to be an arduous task. Northwestern needs to have a solid run game and control the clock. If the Wildcats get to 150 rushing yards within three quarters, that should be enough to hold the ball and keep Michigan from dominating time of possession. That should keep the defense fresh and if they capitalize on their chances, that will be their ticket to a potential upset.

How Michigan Will Cover

Michigan covering the number comes down to a simple thing: can the defense continue its torrid pace? If it does, Northwestern’s offense will flame out and be unable to keep pace with the Wolverines’ dominant rushing attack. If Michigan holds Northwestern under 200 yards of offense, the Wildcats have no chance to cover, let alone win.

Computer Pick: Northwestern +21.5

For more college football predictions, visit our NCAAF Computer Picks page.

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Shark Bites
  • Northwestern is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games.
  • The UNDER is 4-1 in Michigan’s last 5 home games.
  • Northwestern is 5-1 SU in its last 6 Week 8 games.