Last Updated: 2018-12-29
For our College Pick of the Week, we’ll take a look at the game between the Utah Utes and the Northwestern Wildcats, where Utah is favored by a touchdown and the total on the game has dipped slightly to 46 after opening at 47, but seeing nearly 60% of the wagers come in on the under.
This is a game that I’ve gone back-and-forth with for a while now, as I like Northwestern and think the ‘Cats have a chance to pull the upset, but don’t like the fact they’re also getting more than 60% of the wagers in this one. But, sometimes the public is right and have to hope this is one of those times.
The Wildcats are 8-5 on the season and had a habit of playing close games this season, making them a poor favorite, but a decent underdog. Northwestern was 6-1-1 as an underdog this year, losing by 10 to Notre Dame as 10-point underdogs and falling to Ohio State by 21 as 16.5-point underdogs, while going 0-4 in the role of favorite, including losing to Akron as 21-point favorites back in September. The Wildcats began the year 1-3, so that 8-5 record doesn’t look quite so bad, when you figure they were 7-2 down the stretch.
The Wildcats aren’t a great offensive team by any means, especially when it comes to running the football, where the team averaged just 3.2 yards per carry, and probably won’t have a whole lot of success against a Utah team than can stop the run, as the Utes allowed just 3.0 yards per carry. The Wildcats can throw the ball a little bit and the Utes are a little better than average against the pass, but that’s also where they show a little vulnerability at times.
The Utes are a balanced offense and they can run or pass, but should have a little more success through the air against a Northwestern team that was below average against the pass, although part of that had to do with Ohio State wracking up 499 yards in conference championship game. But the Utes do need to run the ball a little to have its passing game be effective and the Wildcats did hold foes to .7 fewer yards per attempt than they averaged, while facing some pretty good rushing offenses.
The ‘Cats are one of those teams who don’t necessarily look great on paper, but somehow manage to get the job done and think they’ll keep this one close, so will take Northwestern +7 here.
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