Northwestern +15 3.3% Play
Both teams are off a bye here and will open up Big Ten play against each other. Both were considered pre-season favorites to compete against each other in the Big Ten West. Things haven't gone as planned for Northwester at least they looked really bad in their road favorite loss at Duke. However, it looks like everyone has underestimated Duke this year. Northwestern seemed to rebound the following week to get their confidence back before going on a bye and we have what I feel is an inflated spread.
Pat Fitzgerald has been one of the better coaches as a dog and in conference play. He doesn't cover or win when he should, but when he's a dog and on the road he often wins outright even as a double digit dog. Northwestern has won outright in 7 of their last 9 games as a road dog. They nearly won last year at Ohio State as a 28 point dog only losing by 4 points.
The key for Northwestern is limit mistakes and stop the run. With 8 guys returning on the defense I expect them to keep Wisconsin's running game intact and force Alex Hornibrook to beat them. Wisconsin really hasn't played anyone. Their defense has faced offenses ranked 100, 129, and 74 (Northwestern is ranked 30th in YPP). Their offense has faced defenses ranked 108, 102, and 73 (Northwestern is ranked 39th). Northwestern has at least already faced a tough opponent on the road and have something to look at in their bye week for improvement. Northwestern the last two years off a bye as a dog won outright! This game also has a low total, and Northwestern has been excellent in red zone defense. Their punter is the type that can flip the field averaging nearly 50 yards per punt which should shorten this game quite a bit. This matchup has been close
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