Alamo Bowl Betting Preview: Northwestern vs. Missouri

Written by:
Frank Doyle
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Sports Interaction betting analyst Frank Doyle looks at the big cat battle of the Alamo Bowl.

One of the great fascinations of sports - and sports betting - is finding the intersect of talent and desire. At what point does one outweigh the other? Reading that intersection between the talent of Missouri and the desire of Northwestern is the key to making a pick for this year's Alamo Bowl. had the line on this game set at Missouri -12 ½.

Missouri was a national contender at the start of the season because of the Tigers' remarkable ability to ring up scores. Quarterback Chase Daniel and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin were one of the most feared one-two offensive punches in football, and they delivered on that promise this year - Missouri is in the top ten in the nation in passing yards, total yards and points scored.


But the defense has let the Tigers down, as has a confidence sapping humiliation in the Big 12 Title game, when the Tigers were comprehensively declawed by the rampant Sooners. Oklahoma rang Missouri's bell for a 62-21 whipping, and it's hard to see any team bounce back too high from that.


By contrast, Northwestern is on a high after its best season in twelve years. The Wildcats finished with a 9-3 record, becoming only the fifth team in Wildcat history to win nine games. The Wildcats haven't won a Bowl game since 1949, and have only been to five in the fifty-nine years since. Head coach Pat Fitzgerald was a linebacker on the team that made it to the Rose Bowl in 1996, although a broken leg prevented him from lining out that day against USC. Now Fitzgerald is back in charge of his alma mater, and he's building a team very much in his own image.


Defense is where it's at for Northwestern, and nobody epitomises that defense better than team MVP Corey Wootton. Wootton, a junior, is a defensive end who racked up nine sacks and fifteen tackles-for-loss for the season. He's 6'7" tall and weighs 270 pounds so if he gets into the Missouri backfield and catches Chase Daniel - 6'0", 220 pounds - Wootton's going to smash him.


And that's where the game lies. If Missouri can pick itself up after that Sooner smackdown - and no Missouri team has put ten-win seasons back to back before, so there is something to play for - then Daniel has the artillery to beat Northwestern. But if the Tigers are still bearing scars from the Big 12 title game, then Northwestern has the desire and ability to punish them. Northwestern +12.5 is the pick.

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