Northwestern Wildcats vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers Free Pick 10/19/13
Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2) at Northwestern Wildcats (4-2)
College Football: Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm (Ryan Field)
The Line: Northwestern Wildcats -12.5 -- Over/Under: 54 See the Latest Odds
TV: BTN HD
The Minnesota Golden Gophers head to Ryan Field on Saturday to face what is likely a very angry Northwestern Wildcats team.
The Northwestern Wildcats are dropping in the ratings nationally after two losses, but don’t be fooled, this is still a very, very good team. The Wildcats of course suffered that heartbreaking loss to the Buckeyes two weeks ago, and last week Northwestern was just in a bad spot, having to travel to Madison to face the Badgers. The Wildcats have a good chance to regroup here on Saturday as the Wildcats are once again back at Ryan Field, hosing the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Wildcats, despite playing two tough defenses back to back, still have put up solid numbers offensively, thanks in large part to the unique style of offense they run. The Wildcats are ranked 35th nationally in scoring offense, putting up an average of 33.2 points per game, and are managing a respectable .433 points per play on the year (38th in the nation). Northwestern’s defense may not be the best around, but one thing this unit does well is force turnovers. The Wildcats are averaging 2.8 takeaways per game, ranking them sixth in the nation in this category. Turnovers are hard to predict, but with this defense, you have to factor that in. After two tough losses, and then a road game at Iowa next week, look for the Wildcats to try and put on a show for their home crowd on Saturday as Fitzgerald will have them focused and prepared.
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The Minnesota Golden Gophers are sitting at an impressive 4-2 on the season. Looking at their schedule though, it’s far from impressive, as their two losses came against Big Ten teams (Iowa and Michigan) and the Gophers were run off the field in both, losing by a combined total of 65-20. Minnesota is ranked 44th in the nation in scoring offense (31.6 points per game) and defensively their numbers are solid (26.6 points per game) but considering that the Gophers have played the 106th toughest schedule in the nation so far…those numbers look far less impressive. Minnesota loves to run the ball, but they’ve been forced to do it with the quarterback position. The Wildcats have seen the likes of Braxton Miller recently, so anything the Gophers can throw at them as far as quarterbacks keeping the ball…they should be prepared. Look for Minnesota to fall behind early to the Wildcats, forcing the Gophers to try and air it out. The Wildcats secondary isn’t great, but the Gophers are horrific through the air, completing just 52 percent of their passes on the season, for an average of 6.1 yards per attempt. If the Gophers are unable to establish a ground game here on Saturday. This one could get ugly.
The total has gone over in five of the last seven games for the Gophers. The total has also gone over in four of the last six road games for Minny. The Wildcats are 5-1 overall in their last six home games.
My free play here is going to be on the total. My play on the side is one of my stronger plays of the week and will be in the premium section, so be sure to check it out.
For my free pick, I’ll be taking the under here. The Gophers usually play the Wildcats pretty tough, and were within a score last season in Minnesota, falling to the ‘Cats 21-13. The score may not be quite that low this year, but this number looks to be inflated a bit, giving us some breathing room on the under.