College Football Picks: Northwestern vs. Wisconsin

Joe Freda

Monday, October 7, 2013 2:36 PM GMT

The Northwestern Wildcats logged their season’s first loss in last weekend’s 40-30 defeat to the Ohio State Buckeyes, failing to cash as a 6 ½-point home dog. Saturday’s NCAAF action has Pat Fitzgerald’s squad heading north against the Wisconsin Badgers, who return after a bye week.

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Wildcats fall late at home 

Northwestern blew a 10-point lead in last Saturday’s second half, giving up a 27-7 run to Ohio State in the matchup’s final 19 minutes. The Wildcats allowed five rushing touchdowns, while a game-ending fumble reached the end zone to cash tickets for my followers backing the Buckeyes.

Wildcats quarterbacks Kain Coulter and Trevor Siemian united to complete 25-of-30 passes, with Siemian tossing two touchdowns. Coulter took in a score from the two-yard line, while running back Venric Mark returned to his side’s backfield with 60 rushing yards on 17 carries.

Northwestern’s defense allowed Ohio State to convert third downs at a 7-for-13 clip, while giving up 451 total yards. Wildcats linebacker Chi Chi Aruiguzo grabbed an interception, while the battle’s 70 combined points surged OVER the ‘total’ of 61. 

Badgers return to action

Wisconsin has been idle since Sept. 28, logging their latest defeat to Ohio State, 31-24. The Badgers ‘pushed’ as seven-point road dogs, notching 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to avoid a losing ticket.

Badgers quarterback Joel Stave threw for a season-high 295 yards, finding mates Jared Abbrederis and Sam Arneson for one touchdown each. Wisconsin’s backfield duo of Melvin Gordon and James White rushed for a combined 105 yards on 23 carries, with White taking in one score. 

The Badgers were flagged for eight penalties (54 yards), while Stave tossed one interception for his side’s sole turnover. UNDER backers cashed with the duel’s combined 55 points sliding below the closing ‘total’ of 56, making the wager 3-2 through Wisconsin’s five contests.

Back Wisky as home ‘chalk’ 

The college football odds at Bet365 opened Wisconsin as a 10-point home favorite, holding steady after mixed initial NCAAF betting. Madison’s weather forecast calls for 66 degrees, with 10 mph winds and a 25 percent chance of thunderstorms.

I am adding Wisconsin to Saturday’s card of sports picks, looking for the Badgers to bounce back with a statement win. 

Wisconsin has outscored foes by a combined margin of 134-10 through its first trio of home dates, cashing at 3-0 ATS. Gordon leads the Big Ten Conference in rushing (698 yards) and is listed as “probable” for the Badgers after recovering from a leg injury. 

Northwestern has to go on the road for the first time since its season opener against the California Golden Bears, while crushed as a double-digit dog in its last three trips to Madison. The home team has cashed at a 6-0 ATS clip in the most recent matchups between these rivals, while the Wildcats can expect to lose some steam after last week’s affair with Ohio State. 

Wisconsin has collected with a 5-0 spread mark in its last five spots that followed a bye week, while going 4-1 ATS in contests that came after the team’s most recent five defeats. Looks for these trends to hold up here, with those who place their college football picks on the Badgers coming out on top.

College Football Pick:  Wisconsin Badgers -10 at Bet365

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