Week 1: Cardinal vs Wildcats Odds
College football betting sees the Stanford Cardinal taking on the Northwestern Wildcats Saturday September 5th at Ryan Field, Evanston, Illinois. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
For the first time in 21 years, the Stanford Cardinal and Northwestern Wildcats get set to do battle. After being in the top tier of Pac 12 teams, Stanford took a major step back in 2014.
Northwestern typically comes into conference games underdogs, but with a chance to always pull off the upset. That’s the same case here as they come in underdogs, but have a chance to knock off the #21 team in the nation to start the season off.
From 2010-2013 the Cardinal won 46 games which included back-to-back trips to the Rose Bowl. However, the program took a shot in 2014 after finish 8-5.
The same can be said about Northwestern as they had 5 straight bowl appearances. Although, the last two seasons have seen a drastic change as they are coming off back-to-back 5-7 seasons.
Still with both teams having a lot of top talented players in the country, this matchup offers a very interesting Week 1 contest.
Although the Cardinal dropped 5 contests in 2014, 3 of those came back just 3 points in each game. Stanford lost to USC 13-10, 17-14 to Notre Dame, and 20-17 against Utah.
Still, the season wasn’t a total failure as they gained a lot of traction late in the season. They outscored their final 3 opponents 114-48 against California, #9 UCLA, and Maryland.
This marks the 5th straight season the Cardinal find themselves in the Top 25.
There is reason to expect a turnaround from the Cardinal as they have a solid core at the RB and QB positions. At RB, Christian McCaffrey returns after finishing off the 2014 season on a high note.
McCaffrey had 217 yards over the the final 4 games after having just 83 over his first 8 games. Normally a dominant Pac 12 run team, the Cardinal averaged just 158.8 yards in 2014.
At QB, Senior Kevin Hogan returns. He too was a very disappointing performer in 2014 and looks to rebound in a big way in 2015.
Pat Fitzgerald enters his 10th season as Northwestern head coach as he tries to turn the program around following a pair of 5-7 non bowl appearance seasons.
The Wildcats lost 4 straight and 5 of their last 7 in 2014 and one of those included one of the most embarrassing performances they’ve had in quite some time.
Northwestern dropped a 10-9 decision to Michigan that saw zero offense and excessive sloppy play that really summed up the Wildcats’ season.
Pat Fitzgerald announced he’ll go with a red shirt freshman at QB to start this season. Clayton Thorson gets the #1 spot on the depth chart over Senior Zack Oliver following a solid spring.
Experience is the main thing hurting Thorson as he has never taken a college snap, which will be a tough task going up against a stellar defense like the Cardinal’s in Week 1.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
Cardinal are 31-15-1 ATS in their last 47 games on grass.
Cardinal are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games.
Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games on grass.
Wildcats are 6-16 ATS in their last 22 games overall.
Under is 19-7 in Wildcats last 26 home games.
Week 1 NCAA Football Prediction
This has the feeling of real grind it out kind of game here in Week 1. The Cardinal were very inconsistent and didn’t have a downfield threat in 2014. The Wildcats feature an offense with a QB who hasn’t taken a snap.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Under 45
Both teams will establish their run game and we should expect to see a lot of the punters here.
Week 1 Score Prediction: Stanford 20 – Northwestern 10
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