Western Michigan +5 at Northwestern
Western Michigan is a popular pick in week one among many professional handicapping experts this week. I will not be playing it. I like Western Michigan’s experience returning on offense and PJ Fleck has done a great job recruiting, #1 in the MAC. However, I’m not ready for them to beat Northwestern who still has enough returning, and arguably another great defense, especially in the back 7 led by Matthew Harris who should be able to take Corey Davis away.
Overall, I just don’t see value in Western Michigan at this number. I would have liked to see them at 7 or higher, but going on the road against Northwestern, a team that runs the ball 60% of the time and is returning their star RB in Jackson. Western Michigan was 116th vs. the run last year and they just do not match up that well in my opinion.
I get why many like Western Michigan, it’s their offense, but my strategy is to typically back the underdog when they have a good defense. I can see Northwestern getting up in this game and controlling the game with their running game. I will look to back this Western Michigan team later in the season especially if they lose this game big, because I think there is a lot to like about them. I also want to fade Northwestern later this year as I thought they were very lucky a year ago. If Northwestern wins this game big I’ll be looking at both of these teams in future match ups, because the value will bet there.