Minnesota vs Northwestern Prediction - College Football Picks 9/23/23

Northwestern Wildcats (1-2) vs Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-1)

Game Info: Saturday, September 23, 2023 at 7:30 pm (Ryan Field)

Betting Odds: Northwestern Wildcats +11.5 -- Over/Under: 39.5 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Minnesota Golden Gophers will play the Northwestern Wildcats in a Big Ten game on Saturday night at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. Minnesota had a tough time with North Carolina last week, while Northwestern was beat pretty badly at Duke. 

Minnesota Preview

The Minnesota Golden Gophers are 2-1 (1-0) this season after they lost to North Carolina by a score of 31-13 in their last game. Minnesota scored a late touchdown in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 21-10 at the half, but only managed to score three points in the second half for the loss. The Golden Gophers were out gained by a total of 519-303 and turned the ball over twice in the loss. Minnesota defeated Nebraska by a score of 13-10 in Week 1 and Eastern Michigan by a score of 25-6 in Week 2. The Minnesota offense is averaging 17 points per game with 148.7 passing yards per game and 173.7 rushing yards per game, while going 45.2% on third downs this season. Athan Kaliakmanis has thrown for 446 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions for the Golden Gophers this year. Darius Taylor has rushed for 334 yards and two touchdowns, while Corey Crooms Jr. has caught 14 passes for 154 yards. The Minnesota defense is allowing 15.7 points against per game, but had a rough outing against UNC last week.

Northwestern Preview

The Northwestern Wildcats are 1-2 (0-1) this season after they lost to Duke by a score of 38-14 last week. Northwestern trailed 17-7 at the half and allowed Duke to score the first 21 points of the second half for the loss. The Wildcats were out gained by a total of 487-267 and turned the ball over one time in the game. Northwestern lost to Rutgers by a score of 24-7 in Week 1, but they did defeat UTEP by a score of 38-7 in Week 2. The Northwestern offense is averaging 19.7 points per game with 186.3 passing yards per game and 100 rushing yards per game, while going 47.7% on third down attempts. Ben Bryant has thrown for 408 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions for the Wildcats this season. Cam Porter has rushed for 147 yards, while Cam Johnson has caught 12 passes for 141 yards. The Northwestern defense is giving up 23 points against per game this year. 

Northwestern Wildcats Team Facts

  • The favorite has won each of Northwestern's last 11 games.
  • The favorite has covered the spread in each of the last four games between Minnesota and Northwestern at Ryan Field.
  • Northwestern has lost the first half in five of its last six games against conference opponents.
  • Five of Northwestern's last six September home games against non-AP-ranked teams have gone UNDER the total points line.

Minnesota Golden Gophers Team Facts

  • Minnesota has won 10 of its last 11 September games against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Minnesota has failed to cover the spread in each of its last four games as a favorite against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Minnesota has lost the first half in three of its last four road games against conference opponents.
  • Six of Minnesota's last seven games as a favorite have gone UNDER the total points line.

Matchup/League Facts

  • Northwestern suffered the equal-most losses by a margin of 10 points or less of any FBS team last season (6).
  • Minnesota ranked T5th among FBS teams for Q2 win percentage last season (.769).
  • Minnesota ranked T5th among FBS teams for Q3 win percentage last season (.692).

Pick

Both of these teams have struggled this season, but Minnesota did open Big Ten play with a win over Nebraska in Week 1. Northwestern has really struggled offensively against Duke and Rutgers, and the Minnesota defense should have a great game here. Minnesota should win this game, but I like the under here. Neither team has scored a ton of points this season and I don’t see the Northwestern offense having much success against this Minnesota defense. Take the under here. 

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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