Northwestern Wildcats at Michigan Wolverines Week 8 Pick
Northwestern Wildcats (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS) at Michigan Wolverines (6-0, 5-1), 10/23/21
When: noon ET Saturday, Oct. 23
Where: Michigan Stadium
CFB betting odds: NW +21.5/Mich -21.5 (Bet it a Reduced Vig!)
Michigan shoots to remain unbeaten while Northwestern shoots for the upset when the teams meet for a Big Ten inter-divisional bout Saturday afternoon at the Big House. The Wolverines are back in the Top 10 for the first time in a couple of years and thinking they’ve got a shot to make the College Football Playoff. On the other hand, the Wildcats look like they might be going through a short rebuild after making the Big Ten championship game last year.
Michigan’s favored by three touchdowns here; who do we like for our free college football betting pick?
Northwestern-Michigan Betting Odds
This week’s college football betting lines opened Michigan at -21.5, with an over/under of right around 50. Early betting action then bumped that total to 51.
Any bettors out there thinking Northwestern might win this game outright could get around +1000 on the college football money line. However, our recommendation is - save your money.
Northwestern Betting Preview
The Wildcats are back to .500 on the season after beating Rutgers last week 21-7. Northwestern, playing as a 2.5-point home dog, hit the board first on a long pass-run-catch for a touchdown midway through the first quarter and led 14-7 at the half. The Wildcats then scored the only seven points of the second half, and insurance TD midway through the fourth, on their way toward victory.
Northwestern out-gained the Scarlet Knights 402-222 and out-rushed Rutgers 135-63.
Still, the Wildcats have out-gained and out-rushed only one of their four Power 5 opponents this season. They’re also only 1-3 both SU and ATS in those four games, including a 56-7 loss to Nebraska three weeks ago.
At 1-2 in conference play, Northwestern trails first-place Iowa by a game and a half in the Big Ten West. Also, at 3-3 overall, NW needs three wins over its last six games, which won’t be easy, to become bowl-eligible.
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Michigan Betting Preview
The Wolverines, meanwhile, are 6-0 on the season, ranked No. 6 in this week’s Coaches Poll, after edging the Cornhuskers in Lincoln last week 32-29. Michigan hit the board first with a field goal midway through the second quarter and led 13-0 at the half. The Wolverines then fell behind - for the first time this season! - 22-19 in the third quarter and trailed 29-26 with seven minutes left. But they kicked a couple of field goals to regain the lead and then made a defensive stop to clinch the win and the money as 2.5-point favorites.
Michigan out-gained Nebraska 459-431, out-rushed the ‘Huskers 204-140, and won time of possession by a 34:26 split.
So the Wolverines have out-gained and out-rushed three of their four Power 5 opponents this season, going 4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS in the process.
At 3-0 in conference play, Michigan trails first-place Michigan State by a half-game in the Big Ten East, with a showdown in East Lansing coming up next week.
Northwestern-Michigan Recent History
The Wolverines own a six-game winning streak on the Wildcats, but they’re only 3-3 ATS over that span, favored by too much too often. Most recently, three seasons ago, Michigan rallied from a 17-0 deficit to win in Evanston 20-17, but Northwestern covered as a 15-point home dog.
College Football Betting Trends
Teams ranked in the Coaches Top 25 this season are 94-21 SU but only 55-57 ATS against unranked opponents.
Totals are split 3-3 in Wildcats games this season, which are averaging 46 total points.
Totals are also split 3-3 in Wolverines games, which are averaging 54 points.
Unders are 3-1 over the last four meetings between these teams, which have trended low-scoring.
Free College Football Betting Pick
Michigan is going to win this game; the only thing that really matters is the margin of victory. This season, the Wolverines have held five of their six foes to 17 points or less, and Northwestern won’t reach that. Meanwhile, the Wildcats gave up 38 points to Michigan State, 30 to Duke, and 56 to Nebraska. We’ll chalk Michigan in for at least 35. So while we don’t usually like giving big points at home, where the spreads are always a little higher than they should be, we like the Wolverines here. Note: We don’t condone betting parlays. Why? Because it’s hard enough to beat the spread on one game; much less multiple games! However, people don’t listen because they love the shot at a big payout. If you’re going to partake in this risky activity, at least do yourself a favor and make sure you’re getting the best parlay odds and payouts!