NCAAF Vegas Odds: Nevada vs Northwestern, Free Pick and Game Preview

The Nevada Wolf Pack open up their 2017 season on the road against the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday, September 2nd, in Evanston, Illinois. Kickoff at Ryan Field is 3:30 P.M. EST.

NCAAF Football Preview and Betting Line for Nevada at Northwestern

This game is the third ever meeting between the two teams. In 2006, Nevada won at home and in 2007, Northwestern won at home. The Wildcats look to win this 3rd meeting and potentially be the Big 10’s dark horse in 2017. They feature NFL prospects at QB and RB, with talent sprinkled throughout the rest of the offense and defense. Expectations are that this team will easily exceed the 7 wins from last season.

In 2016, Nevada finished with a 5-7 record. However, there’s a lot of optimism surrounding this team especially with their new offensive style, which will be an air-attack.

The line opened at Northwestern being a 23.5 point favorite. It has since gone up to 24 points and should stay around this number.

Free Vegas Spread Pick and College Football Prediction: Nevada +24

When looking at both teams, it’s easy to see why Northwestern is favored so heavily at home. Although they finished 7-6 last year, they bring back some of the conference’s top talent at key positions. At quarterback, Clayton Thorson returns to lead an offense that is pegged for big things this season. Last year, Thorson through for almost 3,200 yards with 22 TDs and 9 INTs. He also added 5 TDs on the ground. Clayton is poised for a big year, with some pundits thinking he could be a mid-round NFL draft pick next year.

Part of Thorson’s predicted success in 2017, will be due to the stellar efforts at running back by Justin Jackson. The hard-nosed runner posted over 1,500 yards on the ground and 15 TDs. He’s a wrecking ball in the run game and he looks to exploit a terrible Nevada run defense.

With all eyes on Jackson, Thorson should see soft coverages and plenty of opportunities to pick apart a defense that only had 13 sacks last year and 55 tackles for a loss. Without the ability to put pressure on Clayton, and an inability to stop the run, the Wolf Pack are going to be in for a long day.

On the offensive side of the ball, Nevada has switched up its philosophy under a new coaching staff. So, it will take some time before the Wolfpack can put up a respectable amount of points. A road game versus a tough opponent is not the ideal scenario to debut a new system.

Northwestern is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 September games. They also went 3-4 ATS in their last 7 home games.

Look for this game to get out of hand early and Northwestern to open up a huge lead. But, Nevada should be able to score enough garbage points to get the deficit down below 24 points by the end of the game. Last year, they scored 103 points in the 4th quarter throughout the season, which was about 1/3rd of their total points for the season (305). They should be able to continue that trend this week.

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