The Purdue Boilermakers visit the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday (noon ET) in Big Ten Conference play. While Northwestern owns the better record, it’s Purdue that’s currently favored. The Boilermakers are -2 (-110) on the college football betting line and -130 on the moneyline. Conversely, the Wildcats are +2 (-110) on the spread and +110 to win outright. The projected total is 46.5 (-110 Over, -110 Under). Read on as we break down both NCAAF teams and assess the Purdue vs Northwestern NCAAF betting odds in our college football game preview.
Date/Time: Saturday, noon ET
Where: Ryan Field; Evanston, Ill.
The Purdue Boilermakers are 4-6 against the spread this season and 6-12 over their last 18 games. The total has gone Over in five of Purdue’s last seven games. Conversely, the Northwestern Wildcats are 6-4 ATS, including 4-1 over their last five games. The total has gone Under in four of Northwestern’s last five games. That’s important to remember when assessing the Purdue vs Northwestern NCAAF betting odds.
‘Cats Keep Trumping the Skeptics
The Northwestern Wildcats’ season appeared to be over before it started when head coach Pat Fitzgerald was fired in July amid allegations of allegations of widespread hazing. David Braun, Fitzgerald’s hand-picked defensive coordinator, was seemingly left in an impossible spot as an interim replacement.
Fast forward four months, and the Wildcats are one of the biggest surprises in college football. Now 5-5 (3-4 in Big Ten), the Wildcats need just one more win to become bowl eligible. It wasn’t long ago that seemed like even a faint possibility.
Remember, Northwestern was projected for only 3.5 wins. It started 1-2 but has heated up of late, with upset victories over Maryland and Wisconsin within the last three weeks. The Wildcats were double-digit underdogs in both games.
A 12-point underdog to Wisconsin, Northwestern opened a 24-3 lead at halftime and handed the Badgers their third straight loss. Ben Bryant, playing his first game since late September following an upper-body injury, completed 18 of 26 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns in his return. He also ran for a score. Keep that in mind when analyzing the Purdue vs Northwestern NCAAF betting odds.
With a victory against either Purdue or Illinois, Northwestern will be eligible for its first bowl appearance since the COVID-shortened 2020 NCAAF season.
Boilermakers Sputtering to Finish
The Purdue Boilermakers defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 49-30 last week, defeating the odds as a 2-point underdog. Despite that, the Boilermakers remain near the bottom of the Big Ten football standings. At 2-5 in the Big Ten West and 3-7 overall, the Boilermakers are simply playing out the string with two games left.
Projected for 5.0 wins,Ryan Walters’ team still has a chance to match expectations. But that’ll be of little satisfaction. For the first time since 2020, the Boilermakers will fall short of a bowl game.
Texas transfer Hudson Card is coming off his most productive performance of the season, having thrown for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 44 yards and a score. The 49 points were a season high for the Boilermakers, who still rank middle of the pack on offense nationally (366.3 yards per game).
For Purdue, much of the focus will soon shift to next College Football season. Walters, formerly the defensive coordinator at Big Ten rival Illinois, has yet to have a full offseason under his belt. He’ll soon have more time to shape the roster to his liking. Of course, that won’t have any impact this week.
Handicapping the Game
After a turbulent offseason, Northwestern has become one of the biggest surprises in the Big Ten. Its roster is still deeply flawed, but recent results are encouraging. The Wildcats were noticeably more efficient with Bryant under center.
Given that, it’s a bit surprising to see Purdue favored in this spot. The Wildcats have covered the spread in four of their last five games and are 3-2 at home. Look for those trends to continue this week.