Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#149 Minnesota -13.5 vs.
#150 Northwestern 41
Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 12:00pm EST
Written by Scott Reichel

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#149 University of Minnesota
#150 Northwestern University
9-1
2-8
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3-7
6-4
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35
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Week 13 of college football continues as Minnesota travels to Ryan Field to play against Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 12:00 P.M. This will be the 95th meeting between these two teams. These two teams have not met since last season when the Wildcats beat the Gophers on the road by the score of 24-14.

Minnesota Looks To Stay In Contention For Big Ten Title

Minnesota enters this game with an amazing 9-1 record as it is still currently ranked in the AP Top Ten. However, Minnesota enters this game off a disappointing road loss to Iowa that essentially killed its hopes of making the College Football Playoff. On the bright side, Minnesota is still in serious contention for a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game as it is currently leading its division by one game over Wisconsin. As a result, this game is still extremely important for the Gophers as they have not won a conference title game since 1967 so that drought can still hypothetically end as long as the Gophers take care of business moving forward.

Leading the Gophers offensively is sophomore quarterbackTanner Morgan who has been great this season. He has thrown for 2,468 passing yards and 22 passing touchdowns. In addition, he has also only thrown four interceptions so he has been amazing when it comes to limiting turnovers in the pocket which has helped this team remain efficient offensively. However, Morgan is currently in concussion protocol and he is questionable to play in this game.

Defensively, Minnesota has been extremely solid up to this point. The Gophers are allowing 20.9 points per game which ranks 28th in the nation. In addition, the Gophers are allowing 307.8 yards per game which ranks 15th in the nation. Now, Minnesota will be looking for another great defensive performance on the road in a very hostile environment.

Northwestern Looks For First Conference Win

Pat Fitzgerald has the Wildcats in terrible form headed into this game. Northwestern has lost eight of its first ten games this season as it was already been eliminated from bowl contention several weeks ago. In addition, Northwestern is still winless in conference play through seven games as it has looked completely lost all season long. It is a bit crazy to think about how far the Wildcats have fallen in such a short period of time considering the fact that they managed to make the conference title game last season but that is just the reality of their situation. Now, Northwestern will be looking for a huge upset victory in conference play in the final home game of the season.

Leading the Wildcats offensively is junior wide receiver Riley Lees who has been okay this season. He has recorded a team-high 43 receptions for 330 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown. His statistics are even more impressive when one factors in the constant disarray regarding the quarterback position at Northwestern this season. Regardless of who is behind center, Lees continues to produce.

Defensively, Northwestern has been good up to this point in the regular season. The Wildcats are allowing 23.5 points per game which ranks 40th in the nation. In addition, the Wildcats are allowing 344.5 yards per game which ranks 33rd in the nation. Now, Northwestern will be looking for another solid outing defensively in its final home game of the season.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Even if Morgan does not play, Minnesota is still the much better team and I think that it will show on Saturday. Minnesota is ranked in the top ten for a reason and Northwestern is one of the worst teams in the conference so I expect the Gophers to eventually wear down the Wildcats en route to a two-touchdown victory on the road. Minnesota has the better coaching staff and the better defense in this game so I think that Northwestern will struggle to move the ball for all four quarters of this game. Give me the road team as a result.

Prediction: Minnesota -13.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Based on how both teams like to play, I have to take the under. Both teams love to run the ball and control the clock which should lead to some extremely long drives which will eat up a lot of clock. Plus, Minnesota might be using its backup quarterback so I would expect to see the Gophers go relatively conservative as a result which will also lead to less points. This game should end somewhere in the realm of 24-10 since both teams still possess solid defenses which will be very effective in the cold weather. Give me the under.

Prediction: Under 39.5

Half-Time Side Pick

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Even if Morgan plays in this game, he will be at less than 100% so I expect Minnesota's offense to come out a bit flat on the road as a result. Northwestern will come out motivated on Senior Day and I think that the Wildcats will do whatever it takes to punch the Gophers in the mouth. As a result, I think that Minnesota will fall behind early before it finally gets its offense rolling which could take some time. This first half should be pretty close and low scoring so I will lean to the home team plus the points as a result.

Prediction: Northwestern 1H
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Written By Scott Reichel

Scott Reichel is a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate with an insane passion for sports. His commitment to endlessly researching statistics helps separate him from other handicappers with regard to MLB, NBA, NCAAB, NCAAF, NHL and NFL coverage. Scott also shares his passion for sports on StatSalt's YouTube page where he does a daily show called Scott's Selections.