Northwestern still a covering machine

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

August 31, 2018 12:04 AM

Northwestern leads the Big Ten! Scores and stats from a busy Thursday night in college and pro football. Plus, the latest from MLB pennant races as we close out another big week in VSiN City.

College Football:  Northwestern plays turnover-free football to beat mistake-prone Purdue

Not exactly a scintillating start to major conference football Thursday night. If you didn’t watch, Northwestern’s 31-27 victory over Purdue sounds more exciting that it was. Extremely long night. Sloppy play in a high-scoring first half, followed by conservative, boring play in a low-scoring second half. Northwestern played cleaner through 60 minutes, and fittingly clinched the win when Purdue committed a dumb penalty when the Boilermakers were about to get the ball back in the final moments. 

Northwestern (plus 1) 31, Purdue 27 

Total Yardage: Northwestern 401, Purdue 472

Yards-per-Play: Northwestern 5.1, Purdue 6.6

Rushing Yards: Northwestern 166, Purdue 202

Passing Stats: Northwestern 23-37-0-235, Purdue 30-46-3-270

Turnovers: Northwestern 0, Purdue 3

TD Drive Lengths: Northwestern 64-65-55-30, Purdue 60-85-71

Northwestern led 31-17 at halftime, helped partly by Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar’s penchant for throwing interceptions. His passing line of 18-30-3-196 got him benched. Backup David Blough was safer but less explosive at 12-16-0-74. Purdue won the second half 10-0.

Clayton Thorson was able to return at quarterback for NW after tearing ligaments in last season’s bowl game. He wasn’t at 100% though. Might be awhile before he trusts his footing.

Northwestern takes temporary control of the Big Ten with a 1-0 start in league play. Wildcats now 10-4 against market prices this season and last. Purdue won’t catch people by surprise in 2018. Offense must be less erratic than this to score any meaningful upsets. 

Also Thursday night on the main board…

*Central Florida (-24) won at Connecticut 56-17. UCF won total yardage 652-486, rushing yards 296-220, third downs 82% to 56%, and turnovers 3-0. New head coach this season. Same ability to bully lesser opponents. Definitely some defensive issues because UCONN gained too many yards and converted third downs too easily. That’s going to matter for UCF against better opponents. 

*Minnesota (-21.5) mauled New Mexico State 48-10. Maybe Wyoming wasn’t so great after all. New Mexico State was helpless for the second straight week, even though having a head start on the season has been known to help college teams in the past. Minnesota won total yardage 522-271, rushing yards 295-38, and third downs 36% to 12%. 

*Wake Forest (-7.5) won at Tulane 23-17 in overtime. More yards than you’d expect for a low scoring game. Wake Forest won total yardage 548-436, but lost turnovers 3-1. Game stayed Under by two touchdowns even with overtime. 

In “extra” games…

Ball State (-18.5) beat Central Connecticut 42-6

Georgia State (-2.5) beat Kennesaw State 24-20

Louisiana Monroe (-21) beat SE Louisiana 34-31

Utah (-31) beat Weber State 41-10

Oklahoma State (-46.5) beat Missouri State 58-17

UAB (-39) beat Savannah State 52-0

Texas A&M (-48) beat Northwestern State 59-7

Monroe had a scare. Nothing else that would change your perceptions of the board teams in those matchups.

NFL Thursday: All 32 teams in action, but starting quarterbacks sat

Let’s run through the results of the early finishers in Nevada Rotation order…

*Indianapolis (plus 2.5) beat Cincinnati 27-26. Colts had a big yardage edge of 429-313, but lost the turnover category 3-0. Quarterback Philip Walker out of Temple led the Colts from 26-14 down in the fourth quarter with two long drives. You can tell he wants a job. Bengals backers hated to see that rally. 

*Miami (-2) won at Atlanta 34-7. Dolphins not as dominant in the stats as the score makes it sound. But, they were clearly the team playing to win (as anticipated by the market with the road favorite price). Atlanta gearing up for Thursday night opener at Philadelphia.  

*Philadelphia (plus 1.5) beat the NY Jets 10-9. This road favorite didn’t show. Eagles won yardage 359-186, but lost turnovers 4-2. Christian Hackenberg now flails for Philadelphia. A passing line of 7-16-2-69 in a scrimmage suggests he’s out of chances in this league. Maybe Canada? Or Arena Football? 

*Cleveland (-1) won at Detroit 35-17. Baker Mayfield started, going 9-16-0-138. Led the Browns to a big early lead. It was 25-0 after a defensive score. Cleveland won total yardage 424-253. This road favorite did show in this one.  

*New England (plus 2.5) won at the NY Giants 17-12. Yawner featuring irrelevant quarterbacks. Giants better pray Eli Manning doesn’t get hurt. 

*Baltimore (-5) beat Washington 30-20. Ravens deserve a trophy for multi-year August dominance. Helped here by a defensive score. Lamar Jackson seemed less overwhelmed than usual with a passing line of 9-15-0-109. He’s not scaring Joe Flacco any time soon. 

*Pittsburgh (-2.5) beat Carolina 39-24. Could it mean something that Pittsburgh was much more aggressive than usual this August? They have to know Big Ben’s window is gradually closing. A couple of cheap touchdowns…but three long drives too. 

*Jacksonville (plus 1) won at Tampa Bay 25-10. Jags helped by a defensive score. Better stats across the board, though. 

*Buffalo (plus 3) beat Chicago 28-27. Did you stop paying attention to this one when the Bears were way ahead? Chicago led 27-3 in the third quarter! A.J. McCarron dug out of his own hole with three TD drives to steal the win and cover. Played the whole game, with a lousy passing line of 13-34-2-156. That fourth quarter must have been something. Bears won most of the stats. Some very angry Bengals and Bears bettors.

*Minnesota (plus 1) won at Tennessee 13-3. Vikings and Ravens should play a Super Bowl of exhibitions someday. Vikes won total yardage 267-165 on 4.2 to 3.2 yards-per-play. 

*New Orleans (-5) beat the LA Rams 28-0. Sorry Biloxi! We kept pointing out through August in our articles for the Sun Herald that the Saints hadn’t been playing with much preseason enthusiasm in recent seasons. They kept running into tankers this month! True blowout, though a little help from a blocked punt return TD. It’s like the Rams decided not to have a preseason. If that works, it’s going to become a trend. 

*Houston (-4.5) beat Dallas 14-6. A shame people have to pay to see games like this. 

*Kansas City (-3) beat Green Bay 33-21. That’s more like it!

We look forward to writing about NFL games that count. We know you look forward to betting them. The 2018 regular season is just a week away. If you’ve been dragging your feet on the livestream subscription…we’ve definitely arrived at the spot on the calendar when it’s time to take the plunge. Just $3.99 per month. Or, watch for no additional charge if you subscribe to a calendar year of Point Spread Weekly. 

MLB Wednesday: Cubs beat Braves in potential playoff preview

A rare one-game midweek series as the Chicago Cubs visited the Atlanta Braves to make up an earlier rainout. Might be a playoff preview with both teams currently leading their divisions. Would have to be in the NLCS because Chicago’s in the driver’s seat for a #1 seed, that would draw the wild-card winner in the divisional round. Both bullpens brought postseason intensity Thursday. 

Chicago Cubs (plus 120) 5, Atlanta 4

Total Bases Plus Walks: Chicago 13, Atlanta 13

Starting Pitchers: Montgomery 4.1 IP, 4 ER, Foltynewicz 6 IP, 4 ER

Bullpen: Chicago 4.2 IP, 0 ER, Atlanta 3 IP, 0 ER

Both offenses were efficient with their scoring. Should have been more like a 3-3 tie. Tommy La Stella’s pinch-hit two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning turned out to be a virtual walk-off for the Cubs. No runs scored after that. Great work from both bullpens. Cubs now 79-54 on the season. Braves 74-59. 

In other Thursday early finishers involving playoff contenders…

*Milwaukee (-145) won at Cincinnati 2-1. Brewers can’t gain ground on the Cubs, now five games back of first place at 75-60.  

*St. Louis (-115) beat Pittsburgh 5-0. Back into the win column after a rare loss. Cards just barely ahead of Milwaukee at 75-59. 

*Cleveland (-210) beat Minnesota 5-3. Still chugging along. 

*NY Yankees (-340) LOST to Detroit 8-7. The Tigers scored three runs in the ninth against the late-game bullpen that’s supposed to be invulnerable! A shocker in betting terms, but probably not a result that’s going to matter down the road. Yanks fall to 84-50. 

*Houston (-265) LOST to the LA Angels 5-2. Possibly a letdown off the huge Oakland series. Astros certainly played flat. Now 30 games over .500 at 82-52. Oakland also looked flat in a late-finisher in Seattle. You’ll know that final score by the time you read this.   

*Boston (-215) beat the Chicago White Sox 9-4. Quite the rally after falling behind 4-0 early. Boston doesn’t need much help…but losses by the Yankees and Astros further solidify playoff positioning in terms of the division and home field throughout the postseason. Red Sox now 93-42.  

US Open: #2 seed Caroline Wozniacki upset, but most other market threats still winning

Though Caroline Wozniacki was the #2 seed, she wasn’t seen as a force likely to win the women’s draw in global betting markets. We haven’t had a chance to look at odds the past few days. Let’s get caught up before the traditional Labor Day Weekend of tennis thrills. 

Women’s Exchange Odds

Serena Williams: risk $1 to win $4.10, risk $4.20 to win $1 that she won’t win

Sloane Stephens: risk $1 to win $7.20, risk $9. to win $1 that she won’t win

Angelique Kerber: risk $1 to win $7.80, risk $8.20 to win $1 that she won’t win

Madison Keys: risk $1 to win $11, risk $17 to win $1 that she won’t win

Elina Svitolina: risk $1 to win $12, risk $13 to win $1 that she won’t win

Petra Kvitova: risk $1 to win $13.50, risk $15 to win $1 that she won’t win

Men’s Exchange Odds

Rafael Nadal: risk $1 to win $2.35, risk $2.40 to win $1 that he won’t win

Novak Djokovic: risk $1 to win $2.55, risk $2.60 to win $1 that he won’t win

Roger Federer: risk $1 to win $4.90, risk $5.20 to win $1 that he won’t win

Juan Martin Del Potro: risk $1 to win $14, risk $16.50 to win $1 that he won’t win

Alexander Zverev: risk $1 to win $16, risk $20 to win $1 that he won’t win

Nadal now the favorite on the men’s side, at least as of late Thursday night US time. If you’re a tennis fan, you’ll have fun monitoring price changes over the weekend of there any upsets. We’ve included the links before you below. Remember that the number in blue represents odds to win (a “20” in blue means the player is 19/1 to win), and that the number in pink represents the price that the player WON’T win (a “20” in pink means you have to risk 19 to win 1 on “no”).

Click here for complete men’s odds.

Click here for complete women’s odds.

Though Monday is a holiday, we will be back to crunch key box score stats from college football marquee matchups like Auburn/Washington, Michigan/Notre Dame, Miami/LSU, and whatever else jumps out as noteworthy (particularly major upsets). We’ll get caught up in the pennant races too. 

Have a great weekend!

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