Pick Northwestern +7 Over Nebraska for College Football Picks

Darin Zank

Thursday, October 16, 2014 1:06 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 1:06 PM UTC

The last three Nebraska-Northwestern games have been decided by a total of seven points. Maybe that's why the underdog is 3-0 ATS those last three meetings. The 'Huskers and Wildcats meet again, for Homecoming in Evanston Saturday night.


The Betting Odds
Most of the college football odds opened this game with Nebraska favored by seven points, with a total of 52, but as of Thursday most shops had dropped the 'Huskers to -6.5.

Also, Northwestern could be gotten at +227 to pull the outright upset on the moneyline at Pinnacle.

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The Match-Up
Northwestern, with 17 starters back from a team that went 5-7 last year, hoped not just to get back to a bowl this season, but to contend for the Big Ten West Division title. So far the 'Cats are only 3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS, but 2-1 in Big Ten play.

Northwestern opened this season by getting upset by both Cal (31-24) and Northern Illinois (23-15). The Wildcats then beat Western Illinois 24-7, but came nowhere close to covering as 25-point favorites. Northwestern then began its Big Ten campaign with a 29-6 victory at Penn State, winning outright as 10-point dogs, then came home and beat Wisconsin 20-14, winning straight up as seven-point home dogs. Last week, though, the 'Cats went up to Minneapolis and lost to the Gophers 24-17, missing the cover as three-point dogs.

Northwestern outgained the Nittany Lions 361-266; got outgained by the Badgers 422-385 but forced four turnovers; then outgained Minnesota 393-274 but allowed what turned out to be a game-winning 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter.

Nebraska, with just 11 starters back from a team that went 9-4 last year, nonetheless hoped to contend in the West, even though it played the toughest schedule among the top contenders. Not only do the 'Huskers have to play at Northwestern, but they've already played at Michigan State, and later trip to Wisconsin and Iowa. But Big Red is off to a good start, at 5-1 both SU and ATS, 1-1 in Big Ten play.

The Cornhuskers opened this season with a romp over Florida Atlantic but an underwhelming win over McNeese State, then pounded Fresno State, then beat Miami 41-31. Big Red then began Big Ten play with a 45-14 victory over Illinois, covering as 21-point favorites. But two weeks ago Nebraska traveled to East Lansing and lost to Michigan State 27-22 in a game that wasn't as close as that score might indicate. The 'Huskers trailed the Spartans 17-0 at the half and 27-3 through three quarters, before scoring three times in the fourth, the last time on a punt return with three minutes to go, to steal a back-door cover as six-point underdogs.

Nebraska got outgained by Michigan State 422-329, outrushed 188-47 and committed four turnovers. So far this season that's the only game the 'Huskers have been outgained or outrushed.

The Cornhuskers then had last week off.


'Huskers-Wildcats Recent History
Nebraska has taken two of three meetings from Northwestern since joining the Big Ten, but the Wildcats have covered all three of those games.

Last year Nebraska connected on a tipped Hail Mary on the last play of the game to stun Northwestern 27-24 in Lincoln. The Wildcats led that game 21-7 in the second quarter, but the 'Huskers then tied it at 21-21 in the third. Northwestern kicked a short field goal with just over a minute to go to take a 24-21 lead, setting up one of the craziest finishes of last season.

Nebraska outgained the Wildcats that day 472-326, but turned the ball over four times. Northwestern took the cash as four-point dogs.

Three years ago the Wildcats beat the 'Huskers 28-25 in Lincoln; two years ago Nebraska came from behind to win in Evanston 29-28. See a pattern?


'Huskers-Wildcats Betting Trends
Northwestern is just 1-9 ATS in its last 10 home games.

Nebraska is 4-0 ATS in its last four road games.

The Wildcats are 6-0 on the UNDERS this season.

The last three meetings in this series have played UNDER the totals, mainly because those totals have been posted at 62, 63 and 59.


'Huskers-Wildcats Free Pick
These two teams have played three close games the last three seasons, and we don't see any reason why this game should be any different. So we'll take the home-dog Wildcats, at the +7 points offered at Pinnacle, for our free college football picks.

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