College Football Picks: Maine vs. Northwestern

Joe Freda

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:07 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013 1:07 PM UTC

Saturday’s NCAAF betting has Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern Wildcats in another home ‘chalk’ spot, laying heavy lumber against the Maine Black Bears.

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The No. 16 Northwestern Wildcats notched its third straight double-digit win in last weekend’s 38-17 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos. What might they have up their sleeves in this week's match?

Wildcats, Green hold off Broncos

Wildcats running back Treyvon Green dashed for 158 yards in last week’s triumph, taking in two touchdowns as part of 20 carries. Northwestern’s offense moved the ball for 31 first downs in its 31 minutes of possession, with quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Kain Coulter uniting to connect 15-of-21 passes.

Colter found wide out Christian Jones for his side’s sole touchdown through the air, giving Northwestern a 14-10 lead in the second quarter. The Wildcats finished with 471 total yards, while escaping with just two turnovers.

Northwestern’s defense held Western Michigan to a 5-for-18 mark in third-down conversions, with Wildcats safety Ibraheim Campbell grabbing one interception. The contest’s combined 55 points ducked below the closing ‘total’ of 57.5, moving the ‘Under’ to 1-2 in the Wildcats’ first three weeks of action.

Black Bears stay unbeaten

Maine picked up its third consecutive win on the same day’s card, surging past the Bryant Bulldogs in a 35-22 victory. The Black Bears finished the affair with a 28-6 scoring run, with quarterback Marcus Wasilewski throwing four touchdowns.

Wasilewski finished with 263 passing yards, connecting on 23-of-32 attempts. The senior also led his side’s ground game, taking in one score as part of 13 carries for 64 rushing yards.

The Black Bears gave up 460 total yards on defense, with 236 coming through the air. Maine’s Troy Eastman snagged his side’s sole interception, while his mates were flagged for five penalties totaling 61 yards.


 Back the Black Bears as dogs

Northwestern opened as a 28-point home favorite on the college football odds board, remaining unchanged in early betting action. The early weather forecast at Ryan Field calls for a clear 66 degrees, with winds below 10 mph.

I am backing Maine to cash here, taking the big number as part of Saturday’s college football odds.

Northwestern fell short of covering as four-touchdown ‘chalk’ last week, and finds itself overvalued again with this spot. The Wildcats should look to put this contest away early, but could give up some back-door touchdowns with a bye week looming – followed by a date against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Northwestern’s spot before its bye week last year saw the Wildcats collect in a 28-17 victory as 4.5-point favorites against the Iowa Hawkeyes, giving up two late scores after building a 28-3 lead. The Wildcats are also still without running back Venric Mark, while facing a multi-threat quarterback in Maine’s Wasilewski.

Maine’s sole ‘board’ battle of the season saw the Black Bears cash as three-point road favorites in a 24-14 victory over the Massachusetts Minutemen. Wasilewski and Co. controlled the ball for 38 minutes, piling up 514 total yards.

The Black Bears get a step up in class here, but catch Northwestern in a challenging spot. For your college football picks, look for Maine to stay within collecting range as they pick up another cashed ticket for their backers on the road.

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NCAA FB Pick: Maine Black Bears +28 on the spread at Ladbrokes

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