WMU vs. Northwestern Pick
The Northwestern Wildcats and Western Michigan Broncos could be putting on a total higher than oddsmakers think when they meet up today at Noon ET.
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Northwestern is favored at home, as the Wildcats are getting odds of -4.5 points against the Broncos. The over/under total for the contest has been set at 51.5 points. These two last met in the 2013 season, with Northwestern getting a 38-17 win at home, while the Broncos covered a 28-point spread.
Northwestern wasn’t exactly known for putting up a lot of points last season, as they ranked 108th in total offense. They ended up going 8-5 with the under last year thanks to their top-level defense that allowed just 16.4 points per contest. The defense should still be very good, but the offense may take a step forward, especially against a MAC opponent. Clayton Thorson has some experience running this offense and can also run the ball. He and Justin Jackson make for a strong pair of legs in the backfield.
Though Northwestern has a great defense, the Wildcats could have their hands full with Western Michigan. The Broncos have a great QB in Zach Terrell, who is approaching 10,000 passing yards over his college career. He also has one of the top receivers in the nation in Corey Davis, who had just under 1,500 receiving yards in 2015. If that wasn’t enough, the Broncos return 1,000-yard rusher Jamauri Bogan as well. Where the Broncos have to be concerned is their defense, as they gave up over 400 yards per game last season.
When looking at matchups like this, it’s good to go back and see what has happened in the past. Last season, WMU played Michigan State, Georgia Southern, Murray State and Ohio State in non-conference play. In all of those games, at least 50 points were put up and more than 52 in three of four. While Northwestern may not have the some fire power on offense as those opponents, they will score on the Broncos. On the flip side, despite Northwestern have a great defense, the Broncos are likely to find some big plays and put up some points as well. The total seems just too low for a Western Michigan game. I like the over.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1 PICK: WESTERN MICHIGAN/NORTHWESTERN OVER 51.5