|Northwestern Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Purdue Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-162/+135 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||49.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||5:00 p.m. ET|
|TV||Big Ten Network|
Pat Fitzgerald’s efforts to resurrect the Wildcats program is noteworthy, even only three games into the 2020 season. After only covering and winning three games in 2019, Northwestern is undefeated and has covered every game this season.
The offense has been transformed with stability at the quarterback position under Indiana transfer Peyton Ramsey. In 75 passing attempts, Northwestern has just three drops on the season.
The defense has been the driver behind the Wildcats’ success. Northwestern ranks top 20 in defensive Havoc, opponent pass explosiveness, coverage and Finishing Drives. While there has not been much pressure on the quarterback, the Wildcats’ defense has come up big when needed the most.
Head coach Jeff Brohm released a list of players who will not see action against Northwestern, with Rondale Moore headlining the group. In the absence of the All-American has been David Bell, the wide receiver opposite of Moore who is working on his own All-American season.
In 31 targets, Moore has four touchdowns and just one drop.
While COVID-19 has played a part in the Boilermakers’ starting defense, the unit has produced a top-20 rank in opponent pass explosiveness and Finishing Drives. The biggest key is in Pro Football Focus’ tackling grade of ninth in FBS.
Purdue has just six tackles for loss on the season and a grade of 106th in coverage. The Boilermakers have been willing to give up short passing, but have defended chunk plays through the air better than any team in the Big Ten.
Betting Analysis & Pick
One element that will be missing when the new heavyweights from the Big Ten West collide is a pass rush. Each of these teams ranks in the bottom 15 in FBS in Sack Rate. That might only be a positive for Purdue, as the Boilermakers pass at a 59% rate.
While Northwestern has not put up the numbers Purdue has in tackling, it has feasted on Havoc plays.
As discussed in the Havoc Ratings for Week 11, Northwestern ranks third in the nation in passes defended per game. Purdue’s offense has been subpar in rushing and in scoring opportunities, which will be a bad combination against a Wildcat team ranking fifth in Defensive Finishing Drives.
Northwestern will also have its share of problems putting points on the board. Opponent Passing Success Rate and explosive playmaking is the forte of the Purdue defense.
Our Action Network projections make this game a Pick’em. Taking each side with points live during the game should be the play.
As for the total, these defenses are stingy past the 40-yard line. Northwestern has relied on Havoc and coverage, with Purdue excelling in tackling and Finishing Drives. Look for points to be at a premium.
Pick: Total Under 50.5 or better.