August 30, 2018
There is one College Football pick tonight.
Take Northwestern +1 spread against Purdue for 3% of the bankroll.
The Northwestern Wildcats have been perhaps one of the most overlooked and under-valued teams in college football over the last couple of seasons. Pat Fitzgerald has led his team to back-to-back 10 wins seasons in the ultra-competitive Big 10 conference and yet we still don't believe this team is getting the respect they deserve.
They return 14 starters from a season ago and also have back their All-Star QB in senior Clayton Thorson. Thorson suffered an ACL tear in last year's bowl game, but by all signs appear to have not only recovered from his injury, but from the way he has looked in training camp, appears better than ever. There was a question as to whether Thorson would start tonight but given the movement on the line in this game, we fully expect him to be under center for the first snap.
Having Thorson in the game, immediately raises the stock of this Northwestern team, especially since Purdue is expected to be extremely soft in the secondary. Northwestern is returning 4 of their 5 offensive linemen from a season ago, which should allow Thorson some comfort in the pocket. If he has a chance to sit back and survey the field, he should be able to carve up this Purdue secondary with relative ease.
On the Purdue side, they lost quite a bit, especially on the defensive side where they will be missing 5 of their 6 top tacklers from a year ago. Returning however will be senior QB David Blough and junior QB Elijah Sindelar. Both Blough and Sindelar saw time under center as both bring different dimensions to the offense. Neither QB was overly proficient and both were extremely susceptible to throwing interceptions. The strength of this NW defense is 3-fold, as they have star players at every level of the defense. Their secondary should be one of focal points of this matchup as their ball-hawking abilities should make things difficult for whoever is under center for this game.
The Wildcats also have the mental advantage over the Boilermakers in this matchup as they haven’t lost to Purdue since 2010. In fact, they’ve won four straight matchups, including the last two at Ross-Ade Stadium, by a combined score of 83-31. Jeff Brohm has been a welcome addition as head coach and clearly has this Purdue team heading in the right direction. Purdue has trouble moving the ball on offense as season ago, accumulating under 50 yards on the ground, which force Sindelar to throw the ball over 60 times! That style of play will not lend itself well against this defense tonight.
We do expect this to be a competitive game, however, the depth and experience of Northwestern is going to be too much for Purdue to overcome in the end. The Wildcats are a methodical team that doesn't make a lot of mistakes on either side of the ball, while Purdue has been known as a team who either fails to rise to the occasion or makes critical mistakes at crucial points in the game. This one will likely be close, but Northwestern will gain a lead, Purdue will have a chance to win the game late but will ultimately make a mistake that allows the NW defense to hold on. The point likely won't be needed as Northwestern comes away with the victory.
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