14-15 overall, 6-10 conference, 9th Big Ten
Against the spread
11-13 (5-4 home, 5-6 away)
6-16-2 (2-6-1 home, 4-7 away)
2005 Season Summary
The Northwestern Wildcats completed the 2004-05 season with a record of 15-16 straight up and 13-13 against the spread as they were a streaky team against the sportsbooks. Northwestern started off with four straight losses against the spread, followed by three consecutive covers. After a 3-5 stretch against the number the Wildcats covered five consecutive games before going 2-4 against the oddsmakers down the stretch. The Wildcats proved to be semi competitive at times in Big Ten play but they were yet to reach their goal of becoming the Stanford of the Big Ten.
Bleeding red ink at the start
Northwestern opened the 2005-06 season with a 61-59 neutral court win over Lehigh as 8-point chalks. This was followed by a 61-47 win over Charlotte as 4-point neutral court dogs. The underdog became a perfect 3-0 against the spread in Northwestern games as the Wildcats lost to North Carolina-Wilmington 48-56 as 1.5-point neutral court chalks. After an unlined home win over Florida Atlantic the Wildcats lost at DePaul 49-59 as 2.5-point dogs and followed that up with a 57-72 loss at Virginia as 6-point dogs. After another unlined home win over Delaware State, (a scary 61-54 overtime escape), the Wildcats lost at home to Illinois-Chicago 62-71 as 5.5-point chalks as they were bleeding red ink at the start of the season with a mark of 1-5 against the spread.
The less than inspiring start by Northwestern did have the positive affect of transforming them into forgotten bargains as other programs that were either winning more or who were “name brand” type teams were getting the attention and the “action” from gamblers.
Northwestern scored a 44-42 win at Seton Hall as 5.5-point dogs and followed that up with back-to-back unlined home wins over Depauw and Northern Colorado.
Northwestern began Big Ten Conference play with back-to-back wins and covers over Purdue and at Minnesota for three straight covers against the pointspread.
Back in the tank
Northwestern next suffered a discouraging home loss to Penn State 61-65 as 9.5-point home chalks. This was followed by a 52-68 loss at Wisconsin as 13.5-point dogs and a 51-68 loss at Michigan as 10-point pups. Back home against rival Illinois, the Wildcats suffered a 47-58 loss as 8.5-point dogs to fall back in the tank with four consecutive losses against the sportsbooks.
Closed as a bargain value
Northwestern next won at Purdue in overtime 78-76 as a 1-point chalk. This was followed by a 63-72 loss/cover at Indiana as an 11.5-point dog. Michigan State beat Northwestern next 66-77 as 6.5-point chalks and the Wildcats followed that up with an unlined home win over IUPU-Ft. Wayne.
Northwestern next lost at Illinois 47-63 as 15.5-point dogs but recovered with a 52/61 loss/cover at Ohio State as 15-point dogs. The Wildcats next scored an impressive 62-51 upset home win over Wisconsin as 4-point dogs.
Northwestern had something of a hangover after that win over the Badgers as they lost at Penn State 55-68 as 2.5-point dogs but closed out the regular season with back-to-back covers against the sportsbooks. They first got a loss/cover against Ohio State 53-56 as 6.5-point home dogs and followed that up with a 57-53 home win over Minnesota as 1-point chalks, the Wildcats closed as a bargain value with a mark of 7-3 against the spread in their final 10 lined games of the regular season. This was yet another classic example of how forgotten teams that are lost in the shuffle and out of the race can often bring excellent value to sharp gamblers that are paying attention and looking to take advantage of overlays by grabbing those extra points against contending “name brand” programs.
Blowout loss tainted an otherwise respectable year
In the Big ten tournament Northwestern lost to Penn State 42-60 as 3.5-point chalks as the blowout loss tainted an otherwise respectable year.