Miami (OH) vs. Northwestern Odds, Picks: Bet the Road Underdog
Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Aveon Smith (Miami OH)
- The MAC's Miami (OH) RedHawks travel to Evanston on Saturday to face the Big Ten's Northwestern Wildcats.
- The RedHawks will be without starting quarterback Brett Gabbert, but the offense should fare just fine against the Wildcats, according to Keg.
- Check out Keg's full betting guide for Miami (OH) vs. Northwestern below.
Miami (OH) vs. Northwestern Odds
A MAC team has beaten a Big Ten team in 15 consecutive years, excluding the 2020 COVID season because of schedule alterations across the entire college football landscape.
However, most Big Ten teams have caught on at this point and avoid scheduling MAC teams.
There are just two MAC-Big Ten matchups this season and both take place on Saturday.
At noon, the Central Michigan Chippewas match up with Penn State as 27.5-point underdogs. If the Chipps can't get it done, it'll be up to the Miami (OH) RedHawks to keep the streak alive at 7:30 p.m. ET against the Northwestern Wildcats.
Miami (OH) is a 7-point underdog to Northwestern and is listed around +225 to win outright. However, there's more than just being short odds that points to Miami (OH) being the team of destiny to keep this streak alive.
The RedHawks lead the all-time series against Northwestern 6-3, but have lost the past two meetings. The RedHawks' last win over Northwestern came in 2003 with Ben Roethlisberger under center. In fact, Miami (OH) has not won a non-conference FBS game since 2011.
The RedHawks came into the season with high hopes. Those hopes came crashing down with less than five minutes to go in Week 1, as Miami's All-MAC quarterback, Brett Gabbert, left with an injury that will keep him out for the entire season.
Backup Aveon Smith stepped in and won his first game against FCS Robert Morris. Smith then took on cross-town rival Cincinnati — a game I watched live in its entirety. Smith completed just 9-of-21 pass attempts, logged two touchdowns and threw one interception in the 38-17 loss.
I want to note a few things: First, Miami (OH) is likely to be without even more players against the Wildcats, including Jaylon Bester and Tyre Shelton, two of the five running backs who have recorded more than five attempts.
Second, this Miami (OH) team is much better than the final score against Cincinnati reflects. The RedHawks led for most of the first half and were up 17-7 with just under 13 minutes left in the second quarter.
This Miami defense was a problem for Cincinnati. Yes, the Bearcats lost a considerable amount from the group that led them to the College Football Playoff last year, but the RedHawks recorded three sacks, three turnovers and held the Bearcats to just 7-of-14 on third downs.
This RedHawks can run the ball against a Wildcats team that ranks 65th in Rush Play Success Rate Allowed. And I also think the Miami (OH) defense can cause severe issues for a Northwestern squad that ranks 89th in Offensive Success Rate.
The hope and excitement Northwestern and its fans had in Ireland to start the season seems to have been eradicated. Since its 11-point comeback win over Nebraska, Northwestern has lost to Duke and FCS Southern Illinois in back-to-back weeks, both at home.
Dating back to 2018, the Wildcats are just 3-9 in the month of September.
There's a long list of issues for this Northwestern team, but the two biggest on Saturday will be urgency and turnovers.
Northwestern allowed Nebraska to post 14 points in the first half and then gave up 21 to Duke prior to halftime the following week. The Wildcats did hold SIU to just seven in the first half, but avoiding an early deficit will be a significant first step in getting back to .500.
If the Wildcats can prevent turnovers, they may be able to avoid losing this game. The RedHawks have forced six turnovers this season and the Wildcats have already given up the ball eight times (the fifth-most in college football).
Miami (OH) vs. Northwestern Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Miami (OH) and Northwestern match up statistically:
Miami (OH) Offense vs. Northwestern Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Northwestern Offense vs. Miami (OH) Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||68||114|
|Seconds per Play||29.4 (116)||22.1 (11)|
|Rush Rate||57.9% (41)||47.0% (100)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Miami (OH) vs. Northwestern Betting Pick
Can we expect Northwestern to come into this game with a chip on its shoulder after losing two in a row, including a game against an FCS opponent last week? Absolutely.
But I'm not sure that will be enough against this Redhawks team, especially if the Wildcats can't stop turning the ball over, or if they allow Miami (OH) to jump out early.
I have the Redhawks at +7, and I would back them at that or better, nothing less.