Western Michigan +175 Earn The Moniker Of NCAAF Week 1 Puppy Of The Week

Western Michigan

Friday, September 2, 2016 10:40 PM GMT

Expert Capper Joe Gavazzi takes a look into the NCAAF Odds and cherry picks the Puppy Of The Week. An underdog of 7 points or more that has a good opportunity of pulling the upset.

Each week on these pages, I will look to isolate a “PUPPY OF THE WEEK.” It is an underdog of less than 7 points, whom I believe is capable of winning the game outright. Such is the case in this rare selection of MAC representative, W. Michigan, in their matchup against Big 10 foe, Northwestern.

Welcome to our 2016 College Football analysis on this site! As this bureau begins its 37th consecutive year of football analyses, we look to use our experience and expertise for yet another in a long line of successful winning seasons.

Western Michigan vs Northwestern (-4) 12:00 ET ESPNU
At first glance, this looks like a playable number for a middle rung Big 10 team against a MAC West entity. But closer inspection tells us the Wildcats may be biting off more than they can chew. Last year for 11th year HC Fitzgerald, the Wildcats had an outstanding 10-3 SU record, including 6-2 SU in Big 10 play. They did it with a defense that allowed 19/319 and the savvy coaching of Fitzgerald who saw his Wildcats win all 5 contests decided by 7 or fewer points.

The Achilles heel was a Big 10 worst 19/327 offense. The return of QB Thorson, 7 total offensive starters, and a veteran OL figures to easily improve on that output. The formula for Northwestern success will be clear; a veteran QB and OL, with good runners, and an outstanding linebacker and defensive backfield corps. Whether it's enough to win by a margin against Western Michigan remains to be seen. Fitzgerald is just 13-24 ATS as home chalk, including 4-10 ATS the last 2 seasons, and is 0-7 ATS vs. the MAC.

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For this has become a hidden gem of a program under fourth-year HC PJ Fleck, who is an outstanding recruiter. After a 1-11 SU season in 2013, Fleck has led his Broncos to identical 8-5 SU overall seasons, and 6-2 SU in the MAC. He has made his mark in this very role, going 12-4 ATS as a road dog. Many will remember last year's opener when his Broncos slid in under the 16 point impost vs a high-quality Michigan St team. They would also cover against Big 10 rep Ohio St, as well as win the MAC West at Toledo by a 35-30 count as 7 point road dog.

The cherry to the season was a 45-31 Bowl win over Mid Tennessee St. Now returning senior QB Terrell, as one of 8 returning offensive starters, leads a potent attack unit that was a 200 Club member last year, going overland for 204/5.0, while tacking on 270 PYPG. An underrated defense returns 5 starters. No surprise to this bureau if they pull the outright upset against a quality Big 10 team this afternoon.

I invite you to put the College Football odds in your favor and join me in my College Football pick on Western Michigan tonight.

Free NCAAF Pick: Western Michigan +175
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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