There were a few games on the college football docket last week but the August 30th NCAA football free pick is the beginning of a full slate. Oddsmakers are predicting a close one when the Northwestern Wildcats visit the Purdue Boilermakers, setting the line at PUR -1. The Wildcats ended the 2017 season on an 8-game win streak and hope that momentum carries over into 2018. The Boilermakers were 6-6 in coach Jeff Brohm’s first season last year and should be even better in the second year of a multi-set formation offense. We’ve got the tendency for an explosive conference opener for both teams.
Northwestern Must Replace Justin Jackson
RB Justin Jackson was a 4X 1,100+ yard rusher for Northwestern but he’s off to the NFL to try and catch on with the L.A Chargers. That means the 2018 season will undoubtedly belong to the 4th year starter at QB Clayton Thorson. That being said, what Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald is hoping is that the ground game will be a plug-and-play for 2018 mainly because of the big men up front. 7 players on the O-line have combined for 103 career starts and that includes 4 seniors. Sophomore Jeremy Larkin will get a bulk of the carries as he rushed for 503 yards a year ago. The Wildcats aren’t explosive through the air, but they may take some chances behind the experience of Thorson.
The August 30th NCAA football free pick has an O/U of 53 which seems very high with the Northwestern defense on the field. The Wildcats return 7 of 8 in their D-line rotation and 5 of 7 LB’s. This defense allowed 13 points or less in 4 of 6 games to wind down last season. That being said Safety is a concern for the Wildcat D after losing the top two from last year. Can Purdue coach Jeff Brohm attack this potential weakness?
Purdue Is Going to Be Very Offensive Minded This Year
It was a solid 6-6 season in Coach Brohm’s debut with Purdue last year but the offense is going to need to carry more weight in 2018 as the Boilers have to rebuild their front 7 on defense. Only one of the D-line’s top tacklers is back as is just one of the leading tacklers for linebackers. Of course one of those ‘backers is Markus Bailey who is the 2X leading tackler overall for the Boilermakers. In last year’s contest the Purdue D held the potent Northwestern ground attack to just 94 yards on 38 carries (2.5 per) even though the Wildcats were able to pull out a 23-13 win. The Wildcats have the experience in the battle of the trenches tonight so could that be the deciding factor in the August 30th NCAA football free pick?
One thing that Purdue has the ability to do is get into a shootout. QB Elijah Sindelar threw for 396 yards and 4 TD’s in the Boilermakers bowl win over a dangerous Arizona team – and he did so on a torn ACL that he played with the last part of the season. Sindelar tossed for 376 and 2TD’s in last years loss to the Wildcats and he should be even better when healthy and with a 2nd year of Brohm’s offense under his belt. 10 of the top 12 passing targets return for the Boilers including one of the Big Ten’s best TE duos. The Boilers could also wear down the Northwestern front 7 with a 4-headed RB monster that rushed for 1645 yards and 8 scores in 2017.
August 30th NCAA Football Free Pick Betting
Purdue kind of flew under the radar last year and if they had anything returning on defense they’d be a huge pick for tonight’s contest. The fact that Northwestern has so many O-lineman returning against Purdue’s green front 7 is a bit scary when the line is Boilermakers -1. Purdue is on their home turf however. Even so, 60% of the public likes Northwestern even though they may have issues at the QB spot with Thorson’s injury in last year’s bowl game. We’re going to bank that last year’s Purdue defensive success was system not personnel and the offense can definitely pull their weight.
NCAA Free Pick: Purdue Boilermakers -1