Last Updated: 2017-12-29
An interesting game between Northwestern and Kentucky in the Music City Bowl is the third game of the day on Friday and at first glance, this one looks to be a bit of a mismatch, as Northwestern was 9-3 straight-up and against the spread, while Kentucky was 7-5 straight-up and a dismal 3-9 ATS.
Northwestern is getting more than three-fourths of the bets in this one, which has pushed the number up from -7 to -7.5, which is a fairly significant move for the sole reason that Northwestern needs to win by at least two scores to cover the number. The total has climbed from 51 to 51.5, as roughly two-thirds of the wagers are coming in on the over.
The last two games of each team are pretty telling, as Kentucky was beaten by Georgia and Louisville by a combined 86-30 score and Northwestern defeated Minnesota and Illinois by an 81-7 margin. Little wonder why the public is all over the boys in purple in this contest.
Kentucky played some good teams this year and were soundly thumped most of the time when stepping up in class. In addition to losing their final two games in ugly fashion, they also lost to Mississippi State by 38 points, but Northwestern was also drilled by Duke 41-17, lost to Penn State by 24 and fell by 9 to Wisconsin in a covering effort.
Northwestern was above average in terms of points scored and points allowed compared to what their opponents typically did, while Kentucky was essentially even in both, finishing -.3 on offense and -.4 on defense.
While it’s easy to see why Northwestern is such a public play, the Wildcats season-ending 7-0 ATS run also puts them in a negative situation, as bowl teams who have won at least five straight games against the spread are just 29-50-2 and are 4-10 ATS if they are favored by at least a touchdown.
Teams who had solid spread records aren’t always the greatest bets in the bowl games, as they tend to be a bit over-valued, while the opposite holds true with teams who did extremely poor ATS. This game gives us both and is a huge anti-public play as an added bonus.
This one looks to be a complete mismatch with Kentucky having no chance of keeping it close, which only adds to their appeal from my perspective, so will take Kentucky plus the points in this one.
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