Northwestern vs. Stanford College Football Predictions, Preview & Betting Tips
The NCAAF season kicks off this weekend and we preview Northwestern vs. Stanford with our College Football Predictions.
Two of the most prestigious academic schools in the country are set to meet to open up the college football season as the Northwestern Wildcats venture west to take on the No. 25 Stanford Cardinal.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 EST on Saturday, August 31. At home, Stanford is listed as a 6.5-point favorite with an over/under of 46 points.
This will be just the eighth time the two schools have met on the gridiron. Stanford has won three of the previous seven meetings, although two of those games ended in a tie. The last meeting was a 16-6 win for Northwestern back in 2015.
With four years between meetings, the rosters of both programs have completely turned over since the last time Stanford faced Northwestern.
Americans can bet at 5Dimes for all College Football games this season.
Stanford Cardinal Form
Stanford begins the 2019 College Football season coming off what was a down season by their standards. The Cardinal went 9-4, including a win in the Sun Bowl. However, they only finished third in the Pac-12 North, a division they’ve at least tied for the top spot in five of David Shaw’s eight seasons.
Stanford also finished the year outside the top-25 for just the second time in Shaw’s tenure. That being said, the Cardinal has cracked the top-25 heading into the 2019 season and will be looking to bounce back and once again compete for a conference title.
If Stanford is going to improve from last season, the first thing they have to fix is their offensive line. In past years, the Cardinal has had a powerful offensive line that has been able to push teams around and the run the ball at will. That wasn’t the case, especially with Bryce Love dealing with injuries all year rather than making his case for the Heisman Trophy.
The good news is that four of their five expected starters on the offensive line started at least three games last season and should be able to help pave the way for running back Cameron Scarlett.
Of course, Stanford has a nice fall-back plan in the form of quarterback K.J. Costello. He was the biggest reason Stanford’s season didn’t fall off the rails in 2018 when they couldn’t generate much of a running game.
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) August 21, 2019
Despite losing a couple of his best receivers, Costello still has plenty of capable targets, including tight end Colby Parkinson, who has NFL potential.
Whether they do it by ground or by air, Stanford better be ready to score a lot of points this year. The Cardinal took some major hits on defense, especially at inside linebacker where last year’s leading tacklers, Sean Barton and Bobby Okereke, are no longer with the program.
The Stanford secondary also has some potential holes outside of All-Pac-12 cornerback Paulson Adebo.
Northwestern Wildcats Form
At Northwestern, Pat Fitzgerald led the Wildcats on an impressive turnaround last season. Following a 1-3 start, Northwestern won seven of their last eight games, losing only to Notre Dame to finish the regular season 8-4 and 8-1 in conference play.
The Wildcats won the Big Ten West division and played in the conference title game for the first time, ultimately winning the Holiday Bowl to finish 9-5 and in the top-25.
The bad news for Northwestern heading into 2019 is that they have to replace quarterback Clayton Thorson, a four-year starter who could be trusted to make the right play in clutch time.
However, the good news is that they can expect an upgrade at that position talent-wise in Hunter Johnson. Once a five-star recruit coming out of high school, Johnson sat out last season after transferring from Clemson and is ready to take over for Thorson. While he obviously lacks playing experience, Johnson has more arm talent than Thorson and gives the Northwestern offense more big-play potential.
The other piece of good news is that the Wildcats have their leading rusher returning. Isaiah Bowser came out of nowhere last season to average 108 yards per game over Northwestern’s final eight games.
If the Wildcats get similar productivity from their running game this year, they should have a good balance with Johnson and the passing game, even if Northwestern’s receiving corps is lacking in proven commodities.
Of course, a hard-nosed defense has long been the key to Northwestern’s success. The Wildcats have linebackers who can help stuff the run and a handful of capable pass rushers who can create problems for opposing quarterbacks. Plus, after the secondary was hit hard by injuries last season, the Wildcats have quality depth on the back end of their defense.
Northwestern vs. Stanford Betting Trends
- Stanford are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in August.
- Stanford are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Northwestern are 5-1 ATS in thier last 6 games in August.
- Northwestern are 19-7 in their last 26 road games.
- Over is 4-1 in Stanford’s last 5 games on grass.
Northwestern vs. Stanford College Football Predictions
Stanford has two distinct advantages for their matchup with Northwestern. First, they’re the home team, and second, they have an established and experienced quarterback. However, the Wildcats may have the more talented quarterback, not to mention a better defense.
With that in mind, it makes sense to take Northwestern as a 6.5-point underdog to at least beat the spread, possibly steal a win on the road to open the season.
Northwestern vs. Stanford College Football Predictions: Northwestern +6.5 (+105) @ 5Dimes