College Football Picks: Western Michigan vs. Northwestern

Ross Benjamin

Friday, September 13, 2013 6:45 PM GMT

Free college football picks for the Week 3 matchup between Western Michigan and Northwestern. We examine the current betting lines, hoping to find a betting edge to take advantage of.

The 17th ranked Northwestern Wildcats host the Western Michigan Broncos on Saturday night with kickoff slated for 9:00 PM ET. According to current College Football odds Northwestern opened as a 32.5-point favorite. My football odds service shows that 58% of public money has been wagered on the home favorite yet the line has dropped to -30.0.

Ordinarily I would consider this to be a sharp money move. However, in this instance I wouldn’t be shocked based on my experiences that a betting group is trying to create an attractive middle play. It wouldn’t surprise me whatsoever to see this line move back to or beyond the opening number the closer it gets to game time. That being said, be sure to shop around before placing your college football picks.

Take a look at our College Football Picks: Opening Odds Report for Week 3.

Impressive Wildcats 

Northwestern has opened the season in impressive fashion winning at California 44-30 while covering as a 5.0-point favorite, and followed that with a 48-27 home rout of Syracuse capturing the cash as a 17.0-point chalk. With that win and cover last week the Wildcats are a perfect 6-0 SU&ATS in their last 6 games as a home favorite. In addition Northwestern has cashed the last 9 times overall when installed as a favorite. They have dominated non-conference opponents going 7-0 SU&ATS since the start of the 2012 season. Statistically the good news for the Wildcats is their offense has ran like a well oiled machine in the first 2 games averaging 544.5 yards per game total offense, and 46 points per game. The bad news is the defense has been less than stellar in allowing 28.5 points per game in addition to allowing an average of 491 yards per contest.

Bewildered Broncos 

Western Michigan enters this contest 0-2 and comes off a humiliating 27-23 loss to Nicholls St. (FCS) as a 29.5-point favorite. This isn’t what first year head coach envisioned when taking over the Broncos program. If the Broncos are to turn it around they need to get better play from their senior starting quarterback Tyler VanTubbergen. He’s completed just 47% of his pass attempts so far while throwing 4 interceptions and has yet to toss a touchdown pass. Entering this season VanTubbergen was 199/310 (64.2%) for 22 touchdowns versus 13 picks so he’s capable of much better than he’s shown thus far. The Broncos are at a -4 turnover differential in their first 2 games which certainly hasn’t helped their cause.

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The Angles 

Any home favorite of 21.5 or more that averages 4.8 or more yards per rush on the season, versus an opponent that allows 4.8 yards or more per rush on the year is 34-9 ATS (79.1%) since the start of the 1992 season.

Any non-conference road underdog of 17.0 or more, that’s won 6 or more of their last 22 games, and they’re coming off a home favorite of -14.0 or more straight up loss is 1-10 ATS since the start of the 1980 season.

College Football Free Play: Northwestern -30.0 over Western Michigan as a very small lean.