Ball State-Northwestern Free Play

On September 26, 2015, in Free Picks, NCAAF, by Stephen

Ball State plus 20 at Northwestern

Northwestern is off to a great start winning and covering its first three games. The Wildcats already own upset victories against Stanford and Duke.

But the Wildcats are in a flat spot here. They just knocked off Duke on the road last week and host Minnesota next week in their Big Ten opener. The Wildcats are just 4-11 ATS in their last 15 home games.

Ball State has covered 71 percent of its past 63 road contests. The Cardinals rallied from 17 points down to beat Eastern Michigan last week giving them a boost of confidence for this step-up game. Ball State didn’t surrender a point during the final 37:23 of that game.

The Cardinals are a MAC school and treating this game with a lot more importance than Northwestern. The last time Ball State met a Big 10 team was in Game 2 of last season taking 18 points at Iowa. The Cardinals were in that game the entire way losing, 17-13.

Northwestern has been outstanding defensively. But the right formula is in place for Ball State to cover this large spread.

Ball State runs the ball well. Darian Green leads the MAC in rushing yards. The Cardinals have rushed for at least 199 yards in each of their last six games. They have a lot of veterans, including four senior starting offensive linemen, and a steady respected coach in Pete Lembo.

The Cardinals also have upgraded themselves at quarterback turning to freshman Riley Neal, who sparked their comeback victory against Eastern Michigan accounting for 280 passing/rushing yards.

The second part of the equation is that Northern is not dynamic offensively. Discounting their game against Eastern Illinois, the Wildcats are averaging 17.5 points. They managed just two touchdowns during those games.

The Wildcats are not much of a passing team ranking 122nd. They are not a team to be laying this high of a number.


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