Michigan Wolverines vs. Northwestern Wildcats Pick
Michigan Wolverines (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday, September 29th 2018 –4:30 PM ET
Where: Ryan Field – Evanston, Illinois
TV: B1G Network
By: Keith Franks, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Michigan -14.5 / Northwestern +14.5
Over/Under Total: 48
The Northwestern Wildcats and the Michigan Wolverines will square off in a pivotal B1G match-up at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois when the two teams meet at 4:30 PM ET on Saturday, September 29th, 2018. The contest will be broadcasted on the B1G Network. Michigan enters the affair on a five-game winning streak against the Wildcats. On another note, Northwestern has gone 5-3 ATS in the last eight collisions between these two foes. In 2017, Michigan hosed Northwestern in The Big House by a score of 38-0.
Northwestern Returns To Orbit
The Wildcats closed out 2017 with eight consecutive wins to eclipse the 10-win plateau. This includes a controversial one-point victory over Kentucky in the Music City Bowl. In 2017, Northwestern won three games in overtime in consecutive weeks. Entering on such a hot streak, the perception of this outfit was altered dramatically as it came into the 2018 season. Needless to say the Cats have come back to Earth. After taking advantage of costly Purdue errors in their opener to get a win, the Wildcats have since lost two straight to the likes of Duke and Akron. Duke is currently undefeated and ranked in some polls. However, the loss to Akron was tough to stomach as the Wildcats gave up 39 points losing at home outright as a 21.5-point choice. Without question, this result is influencing this market and prompts many to hit the sell switch on Northwestern.
Michigan Wins Third In A Row
The Wolverines had a lot of hype and excitement surrounding them as they entered 2018. The Maize and Blue brandished a top-10 ranking to start off the season and reveled in the transfer of former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson who now spearheads this offense. Some had forecasted the Wolverines to vie for the B1G Championship and perhaps even a College Football Playoff berth. In the first week of the season, Michigan deflated perceptions when they were outmuscled in South Bend, Indiana against their old nemesis Notre Dame. Since then, the Wolverines have bounced back winning three straight games against Western Michigan, Southern Methodist, and Nebraska most recently. Against the Cornhuskers, Michigan covered an 18-point line as they routed Big Red by a score of 56-10.
A Key Match-Up To Focus On: Northwestern Running Back Jeremy Larkin against The Wolverine Defense
The bright spot of Northwestern’s otherwise sluggish offense is their bell-cow runner Jeremy Larkin. So far as the Cats’ featured back, Larkin has rushed for 346 yards on the ground while also scoring five touchdowns over the process. When you average out the numbers, Larkin is compiling just over 115 yards of rushing per game and attaining nearly two scores per game. He will see a comprehensive workload against the Wolverines defense that is among the best in the country. Michigan stands third overall nationally in total defense (240.2 yards per game) and passing defense (139.2 yards per game). Moreover, the Maize and Blue are 14th against the run giving up just 101 yards on the ground per outing. However, this is the best rusher that Michigan will face so-far this year and that includes Notre Dame, SMU, Western Michigan, and Nebraska. Larkin is the answer to keep NW in the game and he will likely have a productive afternoon by virtue of his ball-handling, vision, and physical approach to the game.
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Take Northwestern +14.5
Any time you back Michigan you can expect to pay a premium to do so. The Wolverines are one of college football’s pedigree teams. We have seen the risk for overlays occur on several occasions already this year when Michigan lost as a road favorite at Notre Dame and also failed to cover a lofty 37-point line against SMU. Though Northwestern has gotten off to a slumpy start, this is the biggest name opponent that the Cats have had in Evanston in 2018. With this, you can expect a packed out house that will be inclined to get in Michigan’s face and that can change the dynamics of this affair.
Remember, the last time we saw Michigan on the road was at Notre Dame and they laid an egg there despite many believing they could win by double digits. There probably won’t be an upset in Evanston but Northwestern will make this game closer than the line forecasts and come in under the number.