Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Northwestern Wildcats: Week 2 College Football Predictions

Vanderbilt Commodores at Northwestern Wildcats
Saturday, 9/8/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  Big Ten Network
Opening Point Spread:  Vanderbilt -3.5
Current Betting Line:  Vanderbilt -3.5
Opening Total:  53
Current Total:  54.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Vanderbilt Commodores head to Big Ten country on Saturday

Vanderbilt suffered a 17-13 loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks last week as 6.5-point home underdogs, as the program was supported by one of its largest crowds in history.  The Commodores now head to Big Ten country, looking to improve upon its 7-18-2 all-time mark against the conference, but are 7-8-1 when not playing the Michigan Wolverines.  Vanderbilt is 5-2 ATS as a favorite over the last two years, but none of those seven games were on the road, while the “over” is 5-2 in that situation.

The Commodores need a major performance out of running back Zac Stacy, as the senior ran 13 times for 48 yards in the season opener.  He current ranks seventh on the school’s all-time rushing list.  Vanderbilt came into the campaign with very high expectations, considering the offense averaged nearly 10 points more in 2011 than the previous year.  Quarterback Jordan Rodgers should have a breakout game in facing a defensive unit that allowed 596 yards of total offense last week.

Northwestern earned a dramatic one-point win last week against Syracuse as two-point road underdogs, while the game flew over the posted total of 53.5.  The Wildcats are off to a 1-0 start for the seventh time in as many seasons under head coach Pat Fitzgerald, while he’s gone 20-5 versus non-conference opponents.  A key to this game is the offensive line going against a Southeastern Conference defense, as the group has combined for just 69 starts.  Northwestern is 1-4 ATS as a home underdog the last two-plus seasons, while the “under” is 4-1 in that situation.

The Wildcats have one of the deepest wide receiver units in the nation, which was on full display in the Carrier Dome, with eight different players catching a pass.  Quarterback Kain Colter will continue to get better as the season progresses, but may be slowed a bit this week due to a rib injury, which could limit the amount of production the team’s most important player is able to contribute.

Sports bettors will likely back the Commodores due to their 20-6-1 ATS mark in September, while the Wildcats are 6-15 ATS in the same situation.

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  1. This will be a good game, but when in doubt choose the SEC. Vanderbilt has changed over the past two years, and playmakers are in nearly each position, maybe with the exception of linebacker. Speaking of D, while Vandy did lose a lot last year, they still have very talented players in most of those positions (ie Walker May and Colt Nichter on DL, Trey Wilson and Kenny Ladler at DB)

    NU will definitely fight, that was obvious against SU, but I doubt that vanderbilt will yield as much as the orangemen. VU gets a win, but no by too much.

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