Purdue vs. Northwestern Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Wildcats (November 20)

Purdue vs. Northwestern Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Wildcats (November 20) article feature image

Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Hull.

  • Updated odds make the Purdue Boilermakers -11 favorites as they take on the Northwestern Wildcats in Big Ten West action.
  • The Boilermakers are coming off a beatdown at the hands of Ohio State, so can they pull away?
  • Doug Ziefel shares his top betting pick for the game below.

Purdue vs. Northwestern Odds

Saturday, Nov. 20
12 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Purdue Odds
-105o / -115u
Northwestern Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Purdue Boilermakers' 2021 season has been a tale of two teams. We saw them shock the world against Iowa and Michigan State, but they've also narrowly escaped against the likes of Illinois.

This is clearly a team that plays to the level of its competition.

For this matchup, Purdue travels to Chicago to take on Northwestern, which has dropped off significantly in conference play. Purdue's issues might just give the Wildcats the opening they need to compete in this one, though.

Can Purdue bounce back from its loss to Ohio State and finally take care of a weaker opponent? Let's dive in and break it down.

Purdue Boilermakers

O'Connell Leading an Air Raid

Aiden O'Connell took over as the full-time starter for Purdue under center in Week 4 and has not looked back. He separated himself from Jack Plummer by displaying his ability to push the ball down the field accurately, a skill that has transformed the Boilermakers' offense.

O'Connell's performance this season has been both impressive and consistent. He has completed over 72% of his passes this season, which is the third-highest in the nation, and his 87 QBR is good for second among all FBS quarterbacks.

While O'Connell's passing prowess may get the attention, there's always a receiver for every pass. For the Boilermakers, the man on the receiving end more often than not has been David Bell, who has 75 catches for more than 1,100 yards.

David Bell since 2019 among active P5 WRs:

▪️213 catches (1st)
▪️2,758 yards (1st)
▪️1,042 YAC (1st)
▪️650 yards after contact (1st) pic.twitter.com/oMsXtJTosY

— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 15, 2021

The O'Connell to Bell connection has made the Purdue offense one of the most prolific in the country. This unit ranks 10th in Passing Success Rate and seventh in passing yards per game, but the Wildcats might actually present a challenge to the high-flying Boilermakers.

The Wildcats' secondary has done a solid job against the pass all season long, allowing a shade under 200 yards passing per game. This is due to its ability to limit deep passes and stick with receivers; Northwestern ranks 59th in coverage.

Where Northwestern is vulnerable is on the ground, although Purdue has not had much success running the ball this season. The Boilermakers are 129th in Rushing Success Rate and only average a minuscule 2.6 yards per carry.

Northwestern Wildcats

Wildcats Still Searching for Answers

There is not much to say about this Northwestern offense, which has been wildly unsuccessful this season. The Wildcats rank north of 100th in nearly every major offensive statistic.

Northwestern has had a quarterback carousel of sorts this season, with three players making at least one start. The most recent is senior Andrew Marty, who has only completed 55% of his passes and has thrown six interceptions.

While the quarterback position has presented an issue, running back has not.

Sophomore Evan Hull has been the only consistent source of production for the Wildcats, with 812 rushing yards while averaging nearly six yards per carry. Those numbers are impressive considering the Hull was held to just 62 yards over the last two games.

If the Wildcats choose to ride Hull, he could find some openings against this Purdue defense, which has allowed 4.7 yards per rush this season, ranking 99th in the country.

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Purdue vs. Northwestern Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Purdue and Northwestern match up statistically:

Purdue Offense vs. Northwestern Defense
Rush Success129110
Line Yards117120
Pass Success1088
Pass Blocking**99107
Big Play12062
Finishing Drives70110
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Northwestern Offense vs. Purdue Defense
Rush Success8133
Line Yards10147
Pass Success11035
Pass Blocking**1339
Big Play10169
Finishing Drives12240
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling4976
Middle 88048
SP+ Special Teams120128
Plays per Minute5526
Rush Rate40.3% (125)53.3% (76)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Purdue vs. Northwestern Betting Pick

Despite the large gap in offensive competency, the market is backing the home dog in this one and I have to begrudgingly agree.

Purdue is coming off a big loss to Ohio State and now has to play at a cold and windy Soldier Field, where it won't throw the ball as effectively. Northwestern has and can have success on the ground, which will not only make its offense productive but will keep O'Connell on the sideline.

This game will not be pretty, but we love ugly Big Ten football. So hold your nose and back the Wildcats in this one.

Pick: Northwestern +11

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