Michigan Wolverines (4-5) at Northwestern Wildcats (3-5)
|Date & Time||Saturday November 8, 2014, 3:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Northwestern Wildcats +1.5 -- Over/Under:
The Michigan Wolverines and Northwestern Wildcats will play Saturday at Ryan Field.
The Michigan Wolverines have won two of their last three games and have to keep winning in order to clinch a bowl game. Michigan is being carried by a defense that’s allowing 21.7 points, 304.9 yards, and has forced seven turnovers and 21 sacks. The Michigan Wolverines have won 11 of their last 13 games when allowing 24 or less points. Jake Ryan leads Michigan with 79 tackles and Brennen Beyer has five sacks. Offensively is where Michigan has major issues, as Devin Gardner is completing 63.1 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Gardner has three touchdowns and four picks in his last three games, as the Wolverines have 12 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Devin Funchess leads Michigan with 572 receiving yards and four touchdowns, while Amara Darboh is coming off a 100-yard performance that included his second touchdown. Michigan’s ground game is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and De'Veon Smith has scored in three of his last five games.
The Northwestern Wildcats have lost three straight and could use a win here to strengthen their bowl chances. Like Michigan, Northwestern relies on a defense that’s allowing 23.9 points, 388.4 yards, and has forced 14 turnovers and 14 sacks. The Northwestern Wildcats have won 10 of their last 14 games when allowing 24 or less points. Chi Chi Ariguzo leads Northwestern with 72 tackles and Dean Lowry has five tackles for loss. Offensively, Trevor Siemian is completing 56.2 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and six interceptions. Siemian has two total touchdowns and two picks in his last three games. Kyle Prater and Dan Vitale have combined for more than 500 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Vitale, however, is questionable with a foot injury. Northwestern’s ground game is averaging 3.2 yards per carry, and Justin Jackson leads the way with 726 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Northwestern has won nine of its last 11 games when rushing for at least touchdowns.
The Wolverines are 7-17-1 ATS in their last 25 road games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 conference games. The Wildcats are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 conference games and 3-15 ATS in their last 18 games overall. The Wolverines are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Northwestern, while the underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
I don’t like either of these teams and have made a killing fading both. However, I like Northwestern in this spot at home. The Wildcats should be up for this one after blowing last year’s matchup and Northwestern is the better coached team. I just don’t trust Brady Hoke and Devin Gardner at all. I’ll take the home team to get what will be an ugly victory.