College Football Picks: Betting Trends Suggest That Ball State Will Cover +20.5 vs. Northwestern

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, September 24, 2015 1:09 AM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 24, 2015 1:09 AM GMT

See who we like for our college football picks in the Ball State vs. Northwestern game, as it is a big deal for MAC teams when they visit a Big Brother Big 10 team.

Ball State vs. Northwestern (-20.5) 8:00 PM EST BIG10TV
Ball State, of the MAC West, visits Northwestern, of the Big 10, in what many will view to be a huge advantage for the home standing Wildcats. But these September games are a big deal for the MAC teams when visiting Big Brother. You don’t have to go much further than last week, when the MAC’s best team, Northern Illinois, visited the Big 10’s best team, Ohio State, who just happens to be the #1 team in the country. The final score? Ohio State (-33) 20-13. Or how about week 1 when Western Michigan hosted Michigan State, yet another Big 10 power house, and gave the Spartans all they could handle in a 37-24 loss but cover as a 19-point home pup. Need another example? How about Bowling Green winning outright at Maryland, 48-27, as 9-point dog? Yes, there is precedence this year for quality teams in the MAC to be a solid point spread winner against even the best teams from the Big 10. For that reason, plus the ones below, Ball State is my college football pick as the “Big Dog Bitedown of the Week.”

Northwestern enters this contest as one of the Big 10’s most overachieving teams. Last week, against a very good undefeated Duke team, Northwestern won the game 19-10 as 3 point underdog. It might be interesting to note that Duke actually won the yardage battle, 327-271. Nonetheless, it boosted the Wildcats’ record to 3-0 SU ATS despite the fact they are averaging only 25 PPG, 366 YPG, and 4.6 YP play. That has resulted in a 3-0 SU ATS record (remember they also beat Stanford on this field), who just beat USC 16-6 as a 12-point home dog on the college football odds board. But the Wildcats play a very conservative type of offense game that is not conducive for covering big numbers against quality teams. And with Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, and Nebraska dead ahead in the next month of Big 10 play, it is doubtful they bring full intensity following the upset in Durham. There is further precedence that the Wildcats could struggle, as they lost to MAC team Northern Illinois, 23-15, on this field last year.

Ball State, under fifth year HC Lembo, has been a solid play on the road. That is especially true in the role of underdog, where Lembo stands 13-6 ATS. It was just last season as 18-point dog that they took another Big 10 team, Iowa to the limit in a 17-13 loss. With 17 returning starters, this is a veteran Cardinals' team who will give Northwestern all they can handle. Let’s put the odds in our favor and back Ball State as the Big Dog Bitedown of the Week!

College Football Pick: Ball State +20.5 at 5Dimes 

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