Spread: Northwestern -5.5 @ Minnesota
Moneyline: NU -220/UM +180
This means Vegas sees a 29-24 win for the Wildcats
The Pick: Northwestern -5.5
What you’ve got here is the most underrated team of the last two decades, facing a team who has lost to Northern Illinois and an FCS team. I don’t think the favored team will mind being on the road – a comfortable five hour trip to the least intimidating road environment in the Big Ten Conference (except for the Wildcats’ own Ryan Field).
When I looked at this matchup I fully expected the line to be between Northwestern -9 and -11. You’ve got to figure, the Wildcats are a touchdown better than the Gophers, then tack on a few points because Pat Fitzgerald will out coach Tim Brewster.
Maybe Vegas knows something I don’t. On stats alone, Northwestern QB Dan Persa is the national media’s biggest omission from the early season Heisman race. Already this season, NU has gone into Rice and Vanderbilt and come away with victories, plus the team dispatched a good Central Michigan squad at home (being a Michigan State fan, I know how good Central is).
It’s the 12 ET game on ESPN, so start your Saturday off with a winner, Northwestern -5.5 is the pick.