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Northwestern Wildcats (23) vs. Purdue Boilermakers Betting Picks and Predictions

12 November 2020

Last updated: 14 November 2020 at 10:37 am

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, November 14th
Time:6:00 PM ET
Network:ESPN2
Venue:Ross-Ade Stadium
Spread:Northwestern -3
O/U:51

The 3-0 Northwestern Wildcats will go on the road Saturday night to face off with the 2-0 Purdue Boilermakers at 6:00 PM ET in Ross-Ade Stadium. The Wildcats come in as three-point road favorites and we’re expecting a defensive battle with a 51 over/under. You can tune in on ESPN2. We don’t have a ton of tape on these two teams, but neither has lost a game and both are looking to improve in the rankings. Purdue would likely find the top-25 with a win while Northwestern would climb into the top-20. Let’s dive into how this one will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of my CFB Picks and Prediction for this packed weekend slate of games.

Trends

  • Purdue is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games.
  • Purdue is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against an opponent in the Big Ten conference.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Northwestern’s last 15 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Northwestern’s last 8 games on the road.

When The Northwestern Wildcats Have The Ball

The Wildcats have flown under the radar this season, but have arrived on the scene at 3-0 ranked 23rd. They’ve beaten Maryland, Iowa, and Nebraska en route to the top 25 and they’ll receive another tough test in the form of the Purdue Boilermakers. This game is going to be hard-nosed throughout and neither side will give in easily. If Northwestern wants to continue their win streak, the key will be the defense remaining strong. The offense is strong enough to win if the defense can put them in a few beneficial spots.

Northwestern relies on their defense as the offense is far from prolific. They’ve put up just 21 points in each of the last two games and have struggled at times moving the ball. They’re a team that runs the ball 65% of the time and look to control the time of possession battle. Darius Anderson (193 yards, 2 TD) and Isaiah Bowser (155 yards, TD) have split carries with Anderson the far more productive back. QB Peyton Ramsey isn’t a prolific runner, but he gets it done on the ground with 101 yards and a touchdown. 

Ramsey drops back to pass enough to matter. The Wildcats might run the ball a ton, but Ramsey has still thrown the ball 75 times with a 66% completion rate en route to 511 yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions. If Ramsey can remove the turnovers, they’re getting exactly what they need out of him. Ramaud Chiaokhia-Bowman and Kyric McGowan are the only two receivers over 10 catches, though neither has scored. Tight end John Raine and WR Riley Lees haven’t caught as many passes, but both have found the end zone on their limited opportunities. 

When The Purdue Boilermakers Have The Ball

Purdue has taken care of Iowa and Illinois in their only two games this season and both games were extremely close. They converted late on both sides of the football and looked like a veteran football team. The Boilermakers found a way in both games and while blowouts are phenomenal, it’s also nice to see a team learn how to play in and win close games. It won’t get any easier in this one as they face their first ranked opponent of the season. 

The offense has been pass-heavy through two games, throwing the rock nearly 73% of the time. Junior QB Aidan O’Connell has completed 70% of his passes for 658 yards and five touchdowns with just two interceptions. He’s not only been efficient, but has done a great job of pushing the ball downfield as well. The 150 QBR might not be sustainable, but it’s surely promising through two games against pretty solid opponents. 

Sophomore wide receiver David Bell has turned a corner and become a superstar for this offense. He’s hauled in 22 catches for 243 yards and four scores. Yes, in just two games. Milton Wright is the only other pass-catcher in double digits with 13 catches for 185 yards and a score. Expect O’Connell to continue littering Bell with targets and for Northwestern to do their best to slow him down. 

Purdue still runs the ball a lot and Zander Horvath has picked up 20+ carries in both games. He’s up to 229 yards on the year with a touchdown as well as eight catches out of the backfield for another 60 yards. He’s one of the few workhorse backs in college football as there isn’t anyone scheduled to spell him. Expect Purdue to do their best to get Horvath going early as it would be ideal to grab an early home lead. 

Spread Prediction

The Boilermakers are right on the verge of being ranked and a win in this game should catapult them into the 24/25 range. Purdue is simply better offensively and far more diverse. If Northwestern struggles to run the ball, I don’t trust Ramsey to throw it. He’s turned it over too much in his career and the Purdue defense is no joke. They’re also better against the run than the pass, so there is a good chance they’re able to slow the Wildcats rushing attack down.

When Purdue has the ball, they can effectively run and pass it. Aidan McConnell is the best quarterback in this game and he allows Purdue to open the playbook up a bit. Give me the Boilermakers to come out and get a victory at home against an overvalued Northwestern squad. The three points is nice, though I will be sprinkling some money line exposure as well.

The Pick: Purdue +3

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

These are two grind-it-out teams and nothing in this game will come easy. Both sides will be running the ball a ton in the first half before inevitably opening things up more and more. Neither defense will make it easy in the second half, so while there will be some points, they won’t be put up quickly. The number is low for good reason and it will likely continue to fall. I love the under. 

The Pick: Under 51

Final Score Prediction: Purdue 27, Northwestern 21

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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