The Northwestern Wildcats (1-8) host the UMass Minutemen (1-9) this weekend for battle between two one-win teams from Evanston, Illinois. Kickoff is set for 12:00 PM EST on November 16th at Ryan Field and the game will be televised on the BIG 10 Network.
Taking a look at the Week 12 college football odds, Northwestern opened as a massive 39-point home favorite earlier this week. The spread has increased by a full point after early betting, as the Wildcats are currently available at -40. The total for the game is sitting at 56.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Northwestern vs UMass
UMass has now lost nine out of their first ten games on the season after getting crushed 63-7 on the road against Army their last time out to drop to just 1-9 overall. The Minutemen gave up five touchdowns in the first half and never recovered, getting completely shut out on offense over the final two quarters. QB Andrew Brito went 6/16 for 75 passing yards and a touchdown through the air but also got picked off once as well. Bilal Ally couldn’t get anything going on the ground, rushing for only 26 yards on a team-high ten carries. Kyle Horn was on the receiving end of the only passing touchdown of the game for the offense, connecting with Brito on a 56-yard strike. As a whole, UMass generated well under 150 total yards of offense against a tough Black Knights defense.
The Minutemen obviously had a brutal outing on the other side of the ball against Army, getting torched for well over 500 total yards of offense and nine touchdowns. UMass had no answer for the Black Knights on the ground, as they rushed for 400+ yards.
Northwestern lost their seventh consecutive game last weekend, falling 24-22 at home against Purdue to move to 1-8 on the season overall. The Wildcats jumped out to an early 14-0 lead but couldn’t hold on down the stretch, getting outscored by the Boilermakers 17-6 over the final 30 minutes of the game. QB Aidan Smith went 19/31 for 184 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air while also throwing a costly interception. RB Kyric McGowan was a beast on the ground, rushing for 146 yards and a score on a team-high 17 carries. Riley Lees led the way for the receiving corps, hauling in eight catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Overall, Northwestern gained almost 450 total yards of offense and found the end zone three times despite coming up just short on the scoreboard.
The Wildcats were fairly average defensively against Purdue, surrendering over 325 total yards of offense and three touchdowns. Northwestern really struggled to slow down the receiving duo of Amad Anderson Jr. and David Bell, as they combined for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Northwestern -40
There certainly isn’t a lot to get excited about in this particular matchup, as these schools have combined for just two total wins so far this season. They have also gone a combined 3-16 against the spread through the first 11 weeks of the season, so it’s pretty tough to have a ton of confidence in either side on Saturday afternoon. While I will most likely avoid this spot altogether, I would much rather take a shot with the Wildcats at home if forced to pick a side. Northwestern did show some signs of improvement against Purdue last weekend, as they easily could have won outright if they had found a way to hold on to a two-touchdown first half lead.
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UMass has been absolutely horrendous on defense this season, as they are currently giving up an average of 54+ points per game – the highest total in the entire nation. The Minutemen have now given up at least 63 points in three out of their last four games, which certainly doesn’t bode well for their chances of covering the spread against a BIG 10 team at home. Northwestern should be able to finally have a decent showing on offense after getting held to only 28 total points over their last four games combined. Again, nothing really screams value in this matchup but there’s no way I can back UMass after how poorly they have performed on defense the entire year. I’ll take a shot with the massive home favorite – give me Northwestern to cover.