Michigan vs Northwestern

Michigan vs. Northwestern odds: 2018 college football picks, predictions from expert on 8-2 run

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Surging Michigan faces a stiff test Saturday against Northwestern in a Big Ten showdown at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Wolverines are 14.5-point favorites and the Over-Under for total points scored is 46.5 in the latest Michigan vs. Northwestern odds.

Before locking in any Michigan vs. Northwestern picks, listen to what SportsLine senior analyst Josh Nagel has to say. A Nevada-based expert with 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry, Nagel specializes in handicapping college athletics.

He’s having another solid season in college football and has had a keen eye for the tendencies of these two programs. Over the past two years, Nagel boasts a spread record of 8-2 in games involving either Michigan or Northwestern.

In Week 1, he advised SportsLine members to take the points with Notre Dame, which closed as a three-point underdog against the Wolverines. The result: the Irish dominated early and held on for a 24-17 victory, and anyone who followed Nagel’s advice booked another winner.

Now, he is locked in on Saturday’s Northwestern-Michigan game at Ryan Field. Nagel knows the Wildcats (1-2) will be desperate to turn their season around and avoid a third straight home defeat after starting with an impressive 31-27 win at Purdue. In that game, Northwestern forced three turnovers and held Purdue’s explosive playmakers in check for most of the night. Senior quarterback Clayton Thorson engineered four touchdown drives through the first three quarters behind a balanced offensive attack.

But that performance failed to carry over to the next two games. Northwestern came out flat and never recovered in a 21-7 home loss to Duke as a three-point favorite in Week 2. The bigger concern is a 39-34 home loss to Akron in which the Wildcats squandered an 18-point halftime lead and yielded 36 second-half points to the Zips. Thorson threw a pair of pick-sixes and also had a sack-fumble that led to an Akron score.

But just because Northwestern struggled against Akron doesn’t mean it can’t stay within the spread against Michigan.

The Wildcats have covered six of the last eight meetings against Michigan, which can’t afford a letdown following three straight blowout wins. The Wolverines (3-1) fell short at Notre Dame, but have won three straight by a combined score of 150-33. They are coming off a 56-10 win over rebuilding Nebraska in their Big Ten opener. Karan Higdon rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown, while quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 120 yards and a score.

Only one of the last four meetings between Michigan and Northwestern would have covered a 14.5-point spread. And Thorson is seventh is No. 4 in the Big Ten in completions with 71.

For Michigan vs. Northwestern, we can tell you Nagel is leaning Over, but he has analyzed key the factors and unearthed the critical factor that causes one side of the spread to hit hard. His pick is only available at SportsLine.

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