Western Michigan Broncos (8-5) at Northwestern Wildcats (10-3)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 3, 2016, 12:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Northwestern Wildcats -5 -- Over/Under: 52
The Western Michigan Broncos and Northwestern Wildcats open the season Saturday at Ryan Field on ESPNU.
The Western Michigan Broncos look to make a bowl game for a third straight season after eight wins last year. Zach Terrell returns at quarterback after throwing for 3,500 yards and 29 touchdowns. Corey Davis and Michael Henry return at wide receiver after combining for more than 1,600 yards and 13 touchdowns while Jarvion Franklin had 17 receptions. The Western Michigan Broncos ground game averaged 203 yards per contest last season and Jamauri Bogan returns after racking up 1,051 yards and 16 touchdowns. Defensively, Western Michigan allowed 28.3 points and 413 yards per game. Asantay Brown returns after 103 tackles, Keion Adams had 5.5 sacks and Darius Phillips had five interceptions.
The Northwestern Wildcats look for another great year after winning 10 games last season. Clayton Thorson returns at quarterback after throwing for 1,500 yards and seven touchdowns. Austin Carr and Jelani Roberts return at wide receiver after combining for more than 300 yards and two touchdowns while Flynn Nagel had four receptions. The Northwestern Wildcats ground game averaged 188 yards per contest last season and Justin Jackson returns after racking up 1,418 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, Northwestern allowed 18.6 points and 318 yards per game. Anthony Walker returns after 120 tackles, Ifeadi Odenigbo had five sacks and Matthew Harris had four interceptions.
The Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games and 18-7 ATS in their last 25 games overall. The Wildcats are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 vs. MAC and 6-14 ATS in their last 20 home games.
Western Michigan can put points on the board quickly, but Northwestern looks to once again have one of the better defenses in the country. Also, with a lot of key guys returning offensively, I expect the Wildcats to be more balanced this season. We made a lot of money on Northwestern last year, and I'm going to start this year by backing them again.
After all, the line is fairly small.