MAC College Football Betting Picks: Northern Illinois Huskies at Ohio Bobcats

Northern Illinois Huskies at Ohio Bobcats
Peden Stadium – Athens, Ohio

Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Opening Line: Northern Illinois -4
Current Line: Northern Illinois -2 1/2
Opening Total: 51
Current Total: 51
Opening Money Line: NIU -140 / Ohio +120
Current Money Line: NIU -135 / Ohio +115

Northern Illinois travels to Ohio Tuesday in a key MAC game.
Northern Illinois travels to Ohio Tuesday in a key MAC game.

While Bowling Green has already clinched a berth in the MAC championship game by winning the East Division, the West Division is wide open with two games left. Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Western Michigan are all 5-1 and Central Michigan is 5-2. The 8-2 Northern Illinois Huskies travel to the 5-5 Ohio Bobcats Tuesday night in a key game for both. Ohio is 3-3 in the East Division and is trying to become bowl eligible with one more win. Northern Illinois controls their own destiny for the West Division and will clinch with wins over Ohio and Western Michigan next Friday.

Northern Illinois holds a slim 10-9 lead in the series against Ohio, but the Bobcats lead 7-3 in Athens. The Huskies won the last meeting 23-20 in the 2011 MAC Championship game in Detroit. This is only the third time since 1998 that Northern Illinois has traveled to Athens. The Huskies have not won in Athens since 1982.

Northern Illinois is coached by Rod Carey. The Huskies have losses at Arkansas 52-17 and at home to Central Michigan 34-17. NIU has won 4 straight games. The Huskies have home wins over Presbyterian 55-3, Kent State 17-14, Miami-(OH) 51-41, and last Tuesday against Toledo 27-24. Northern Illinois has road wins at Northwestern 23-15, UNLV 48-34, Eastern Michigan 28-17, and Ball State 35-21. The Huskies are 4-6 ATS and the total is 3-7 this season. NIU was a 3.5 point favorite against Toledo and the total was 62.5.

Ohio is coached by Frank Solich. The Bobcats have road losses at Kentucky 20-3, Marshall 44-14, Central Michigan 28-10, and Western Michigan 42-21 along with a home loss to Bowling Green 31-13. Ohio has home wins over Idaho 36-24, Eastern Illinois 34-19, Akron 23-20 and last Wednesday against Buffalo 37-14, along with a road win over Kent State 17-14. The Bobcats are 5-5 ATS and the total is 3-7 this season. Ohio was a 4 point favorite against Buffalo and the total was 57.

Northern Illinois is outscoring teams 32-26 this season. The Huskies are averaging 452 yards per game on offense including 190 passing and 262 rushing. NIU is #37 in total offense, #14 in rushing and #99 in passing out of 128 FBS teams. On defense the Huskies are allowing 400 yards per game including 236 passing and 164 rushing yards. NIU is +5 in turnovers with 12 takeaways. The Huskies average 61 penalty yards per game and opponents average 40 per game. NIU is 87/176 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 69/165. The Huskies have forced 21 sacks and opponents have 8 sacks. Northern Illinois is 39/48 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns and opponents are 31/34 with 22 touchdowns. NIU has a pick six and has allowed a kick return and a fumble return for touchdowns.

NIU quarterback Drew Hare has completed 60.9% of his passes for 1,542 yards with 12 touchdowns and an interception, and also has 110 carries for 687 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. Anthony Maddie and Matt McIntosh have combined for 55 snaps this season. Running back Cameron Stingily has 138 carries for 706 yards with 10 touchdowns. Joel Bouagnon has 84 carries for 441 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus 12 catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Running back Keith Harris, Jr. is questionable for undisclosed reasons. Receiver Da’Ron ¬†Brown has 47 catches for 810 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 8 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown. Juwan Brescacin has 22 catches for 322 yards and 4 touchdowns. Aregeros Turner and Chad Beebe will also get a lot of carries. Receiver Tommylee Lew is is out for the season with a lower body injury.

Ohio is being outscored 26-21 this season. The Bobcats are #111 in scoring nationally. Ohio is averaging 375 yards per game on offense including 216 passing and 169 rushing yards. On defense, the Bobcats are allowing 409 yards per game including 274 passing and 135 rushing yards. Ohio is #111 in pass defense and #32 in rush defense. The Bobcats are -2 in turnovers with 18 giveaways. Ohio averages 59 penalty yards per game and opponents average 58. The Bobcats are 63/160 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 73/166. Ohio has forced 20 sacks and allowed 20 sacks as well. The Bobcats are 30/36 scoring in the red zone with 19 touchdowns and opponents are 25/32 with 18 touchdowns. Ohio has allowed one defensive touchdown this season.

J.D. Sprague and Derrius Vick have split the snaps at quarterback for Ohio. Sprague has completed 48.5% of his passes for 1,183 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and has 62 carries for 245 rushing yards with 3 touchdowns. Vick has completed 57% of his passes for 894 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions and also has 52 carries for 249 yards and a touchdown. Running back A.J. Ouellette has 117 carries for 562 yards and 6 touchdowns along with 12 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Daz’mond Patterson has 86 carries for 348 yards and a touchdown, plus 12 catches for 116 yards. Receiver Chase Cochran has 19 catches for 421 yards and a touchdown. Sebastian Smith has 26 catches for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jordan Reid, Brendan Cope and Landon Smith will also get a lot of catches. Six defensive players are questionable or out.

NIU is 15-5-1 ATS in road games, 5-2-1 in November, 3-7-1 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 1-4 after a straight up win, 1-6 after failing to cover, overall, and on fieldturf, 1-7 in MAC games, and 0-4 in Tuesday games. The road team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently.

Ohio is 4-1 ATS at home and against teams with winning road records, 7-15 in MAC games, 2-5 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 3-9 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 2-6 in November, 1-6 after a cover, 1-7 after a straight up win and against teams with winning records, 1-9 after passing for less than 170 yards, 0-4 in Tuesday games, after allowing less than 275 yards, 0-4 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, after allowing less than 20 points, and 0-5 after allowing less than 170 passing yards. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in this series recently. Ohio has covered the last 4 times against Northern Illinois.

While Ohio is trying to get bowl eligible, they still have a very winnable game against Miami-(OH) next week to accomplish that feat. NIU needs this game if they want to make a fifth straight trip to the MAC Championship game. I think the Huskies with this game on the road in a close game.

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