Free Week 5 Prediction: Gophers vs Wildcats Odds
Week 5 College football betting sees the Minnesota Golden Gophers taking on the Northwestern Wildcats Saturday October 3rd at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
Minnesota Gophers (3-1) vs. Northwestern Wildcats (4-0)
Date: Saturday, October 3rd
Time: 12:00 PM
Venue: Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois
NCAA Football Spread:Minnesota +4.0
NCAA Betting Total: 40.5
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While neither of these teams are the marquee names of the Big Ten, this is a huge game for both programs. Northwestern has outperformed early expectations with wins over Stanford and Duke taking a 4-0 start into Big Ten play.
Minnesota has not necessarily underperformed thus far – as they stand at 3-1 with their lone loss to TCU – but they haven’t been encouraging in their victories.
Both of these defenses have been stifling their opponents thus far and will have an opportunity to do so again on Saturday as neither offense have impressed to this point.
Expect an ugly one in Evanston as it could be rainy and both teams will struggle to move the ball on offense.
Jerry Kill’s team had high aspirations for themselves entering this season as well as from many outsiders. Their defense has met expectations and they’ve found ways to win close football games.
In the opener, the Gophers held TCU’s offense to just 23 points. The Horned Frogs entered the game as more than 2 touchdown favorites and only got into the end zone twice.
Heisman candidate Trevone Boykin accounted for 338 yards of total offense but the Gophers forced him into an interception and kept the TCU offense from ever getting going.
The Gophers have since snuck out three straight wins by three points in each game. The caliber of the opponents hasn’t been strong (@Colorado State, Kent State, and Ohio) but finding ways to win football games is important in the non-conference part of the schedule.
Now, the games are really important for Minnesota. Their next three are against Northwestern, Purdue, and Nebraska with only the game against Nebraska coming at home. These are all winnable games but the wins are even more important as their remaining schedule includes ranked Ohio State, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
The Gophers started 2014 6-1 before finishing 8-5 with a bowl loss to Missouri. They will look to get another strong start in the Big Ten as potential losses loom at the back half of their conference schedule.
The Gophers will need QB Mitch Leidner and running back Rodney Smith to protect the football in this one as points off turnovers will likely be the difference in this game.
While Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan are the talks of the Big Ten right now, Northwestern has quietly slipped itself into the rankings with a 4-0 start.
Wins against Stanford and Duke have given the Wildcats some early life has Big Ten play gets under way.
Style points aren’t necessary when you’re Northwestern. Rarely are the Wildcats expected to roll over opponents because the nature of their struggles over the last few years.
Beating a ranked Stanford team at home and beating Duke on the road are convincing enough to make up for their rather unconvincing victory over Ball State last Saturday.
The Wildcats defense has not been tested very significantly but thus have still been impressive so far. Minnesota’s offense won’t exactly be the test that proves the caliber of the Wildcat defense.
Northwestern’s offense has been pretty unimpressive as well. Their passing game has been questionable and their rushing attack is only a threat because of the multiple players that can pick up yards on the ground. Quarterback Clayton Thorson has rushed for 141 yards but 42 of them came on one play.
Justin Jackson is their main threat out of the backfield rushing for 516 yards on 118 carries through their first four games.
The Wildcat defense is banged up though after their victory over Ball State. They lost safeties Godwin Igwebuike and Kyle Queiro last week and could be without both this Saturday vs Minnesota. If Igwebuike is out, the Wildcats will be without arguably their best defensive player as he has been a big part of both their pass and run defensive success.
Like Minnesota, Northwestern will be relying on their main ball carriers to protect the football. Neither team is going to light up the scoreboard but getting a short field off of a turnover will be how they put points on the board.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
• Northwestern is 1-5 ATS since the start of 2014 as a home favorite.
• The game total has gone under in 11 of Northwestern’s last 16 games.
• Minnesota is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games as an underdog.
• Minnesota is 12-4 ATS in their last 16 conference games.
Free Week 5 NCAA Football Prediction
Weather and offensive caliber could make this a very ugly one. But, neither team will care about that as this game means a lot to both squads. If you’re looking for anything like last week’s thriller between TCU and Texas Tech, don’t watch this one because this will be the exact opposite.
The game will likely be decided by a field goal. Don’t be surprised if the Gophers sneak this one out on the road.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Minnesota +4.0
Minnesota wins the turnover battle and wins the football game. Minnesota proves to have the better defense after being tested the most in their opener against TCU.
Week 5 Free Score Prediction: Minnesota 17 – Northwestern 13
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