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Northwestern is a 39-point favorite against UMass. How?

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Well, this is a thing.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

10 pm last Saturday, the dreaded knock on my door came.

It’s my bookie (who is also both my RA and the Northwestern mascot). “Jacob, it’s time to pay up,” an annoyed Willie says.

“I can’t,” I reply. “I’m busy right now. Don’t you see the sock on the door?”

“Nice try, Jacob. But I need my money.” After cursing myself for being such a loser, I panic, breaking out into perhaps the most fake coughing fit of all time. “I know you’re not sick, but I’m not going to argue,” he says. “You better have my money next week.”

But Willie was wrong. He was very wrong. I am sick. I’m sick of Northwestern Football. I’m sick of them destroying not only my will to live, but my wallet. I have not won a bet on NUFB this year.

“Stanford -6.5? The Wildcats are going to crush them! I’m sick of this lack of respect.”

“Hunter is going to light it up in his first start. Give me NU -19.5 against UNLV.”

“They never lose to Lewerke. I’m taking the ‘Cats.”

And so on and so forth....until this week. I promised myself that I would no longer be roped into making bad bets on Northwestern.

But to go cold turkey permanently, I needed a miracle. And oh, did Vegas give me one. -39.5? They think NU will score 40 points in a game? What is going on?

But my excitement was fleeting, as I quickly realized that the oddsmakers can’t be as off as they seem. Something is going on. Thus, my team and I put on our detective hats, and went to work on figuring out how the hell the line ended up this high. Here are the three most compelling reasons we came up with:

Vegas made a typo

NU -38.5 sounds like a stretch. But NU -3.85? I’d believe it. Hell, even -.385 seems more likely than 38.5. We’ve all submitted an assignment or sent an email with a silly typo. Sure, you never see a line go to the hundredths place in sports gambling, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

The oddsmakers haven’t watched NU this year

There’s a lot of teams to watch in college football. Who, other than an Wildcat fan, would want to watch a Northwestern game? These games aren’t much fun, explosive plays. There’s not going to be very many amazing feats of athleticism. All you’re going to see is stifling defense, and the always exciting run, run, incomplete pass, punt. That’s not fun to watch. With so many options out there, why would you turn the channel to willingly watch Pat Fitzgerald and co?

Besides, 11 a.m. in Evanston is 9 a.m. in Vegas. Do you think anyone in Vegas is up before 3 pm on a Saturday?

“Northwestern won the West last year. They were ranked a bunch. They’ll blow UMass out. Just make it -40 or something.”

UMass is not going to show up

Picture this: you’re a college football player at UMass. It’s the week before Thanksgiving. It’s cold out. You want to get drunk Thursday night, and stay drunk until your Monday morning hangover. Do you want to go play an 11 a.m. game in freezing Evanston, Illinois, just to almost certainly lose in one of the ugliest contest of the year?

If you’re the UMass athletics program, you get paid a lot to come play this game, but some of it was likely a down payment, and NU might still pay if you don’t show up because they need a win so badly. Why not save yourself the headache and just stay home? Who loses in this scenario? NU gets a win, the UMass players get to get hammered, and the athletics department doesn’t have to go through the pain of getting to Illinois.

With that said, it’s still questionable as to whether NU could break 40 even without a defense opposing them.