Jim Brown, USA Today Sports
Northwestern 2018 Betting Odds
- To win the National Title: +70000
- To win the Big Ten: +2000
- To win the Big Ten West: +600
- Win Total: 6 (over -155, under +135)
Always shop for the best line.
Northwestern 2018 Schedule, Betting Odds
The Action Network Projected Wins: 6.3
Bet To Watch
Game of the Year: Northwestern (-5) versus Nebraska
Northwestern was my biggest win total over play last year, thanks to its combination of returning production and scheduling. This year, running back Justin Jackson departs, which means quarterback Clayton Thorson will need to shoulder the load on offense. The biggest question is always Thorson’s health, and who a potential backup would be. It is safe to say Thorson’s days as a wide receiver are probably over.
The Wildcats’ defense has a stout front seven, but it will get beat against teams that can sling it 20-plus yards. Nebraska is not going to be one of those teams, with their collection of quarterbacks who are either freshmen or walk-ons. Nebraska’s schedule is brutal, and Northwestern falls right into the middle of that mix.
If you are a stout believer in the ATS numbers for teams the week after Wisconsin — teams cover just 40% of the time after playing the Badgers — Northwestern -5 should have plenty of value. My power rankings make this -7.5, while S&P+ makes this a 7-point game.
What else you need to know about Northwestern
Northwestern is currently +3 against Purdue in Week 1. We have this Power Rated as Northwestern being a 1-point road favorite in this matchup. Keep tabs on Thorson’s health, as Purdue’s defense ranks 125th in returning production. Like 2017, Northwestern should control the clock and keep Purdue’s offense off the field.
Also keep tabs on Northwestern’s win total. They are first in APR rankings, meaning five wins should equal a bowl game for the Wildcats. If Northwestern gets to November with just four wins, expect plenty of motivation against Minnesota and Illinois.