Michigan football: Northwestern betting odds and prediction

(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images) /

Saturday is the definition of a trap game for Michigan football.

Michigan football is set to square off against Northwestern Saturday afternoon but will indeed have Michigan State looming in the back of their mind.

Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines have nearly arrived at the part of their schedule fans have been waiting for as dates with Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State loom with Indiana and Maryland sandwiched in the schedule.  Before this challenging part of the schedule can occur, the undefeated Wolverines need to take care of business with the Wildcats.

Northwestern isn’t very good, but when asked, Harbaugh mentioned if you look at the Wildcats historically over the years, they seem to get better and better as each season wears on.  Harbaugh suggested running into Pat Fitzgerald’s group in late October isn’t a simple task.

At noon, the 6-0 no. 6 ranked Michigan football will host the 3-3 Wildcats in Ann Arbor.

Northwestern averages 21.8 points per game which ranks 110th in the country, yet allows 23.8 points per contest, ranking 61st in college football.

Michigan football prides itself on pounding the rock. Although they’ve seen tremendous success doing so, Northwestern is coming off an excellent effort defending the run, yielding just 1.9 yards per carry last week against Rutgers.

The Wildcats defeated Rutgers 21-7.  Rutgers is not Michigan, but the Scarlett Knights gave the Wolverines all they could handle earlier in the season, outgaining the Wolverines 352 to 275.   More alarming, Rutgers, limited by Northwestern gashed Michigan football on the ground totaling 196 yards.

Michigan football averages a stellar 246 rushing yards per game, averaging 5.5 yards per carry through their first six games this season.  Heading into the year, many fans wanted Harbaugh to create an identity for the school’s program, and he’s undoubtedly established one with his ground and pound offense.  Although it’s not flashy, it’s gotten the job done thus far.  The question remains; is it a sustainable philosophy to carve out victories over the upcoming competition Michigan will face during the second half of the season?

The Wolverines have a one-two punch in the backfield led by Blake Corum, who has amassed 610 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 97 carries.  The second part of the tandem is Hassan Haskins, who has carried the ball 101 times totaling 492 yards and eight rushing touchdowns.

Harbaugh is a stubborn coach, and despite having a potential game-changer at quarterback with J.J., McCarthy prefers the game manager in Cade McNamara.  McNamara has completed just 60% of his passing attempts totaling 986 yards totaling a mere five touchdown passes to one interception through six games.

Michigan football betting odds, spread, and prediction.

Michigan football is considered 23.5 point favorites heading into this matchup, according to WynnBET.

The Wolverines carry a hefty -2500 Moneyline number compared to Northwestern’s +1100.  The Under/Over is set at 51 total points with odds set at -110 each way.

Michigan carries an overall record of 58-15-2 into Saturday’s game.  I expect more of the same from the Wolverines, but with Michigan State on the mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if Michigan wins the game but fails to cover the 23.5 points.

I expect Michigan to come away with a 38-21 victory this Saturday.