Underdog Huskies Are Barking In Boca Raton Bowl Against UAB

Monday, December 10, 2018 11:47 AM UTC

Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 11:47 AM UTC

Get the latest college football picks on the Boca Raton Bowl between Northern Illinois and UAB. The game from Boca Raton, Florida is on Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com.

<p> </p><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/betting-odds/college-football/northern-illinois-huskies-vs-uab-blazers-3690879/odds/" rel="nofollow" title="Game Odds">Boca Raton Bowl: Northern Illinois (8-5 SU, 7-6 ATS) vs UAB (10-3 SU, 9-4 ATS)</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Tuesday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NCAAF Pick: Huskies ATS</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4403&amp;book=Bookmaker" rel="nofollow" title="Top-Rated Sportsbook">Bookmaker</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3690879, "sportsbooksIds":[93,180,169,1096,139], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>Both coaches are looking for their first bowl win with their respective team. NIU’s Rod Carey is 0-5 SU and ATS in bowls. Four of those defeats came as underdogs and two of them were against Power Five schools. Bill Clark coached UAB in one bowl game. Last year, the Blazers lost as seven-point underdogs 41-6 to Ohio.</p><h2><strong>How They Got Here</strong></h2><p>NIU won the MAC title game 30-29 after falling behind 29-10 in the third quarter. Almost as shocking as the comeback itself was the performance of quarterback Marcus Childers. Childers had been averaging only five yards per pass attempt on the season. But against Buffalo’s highly-ranked pass defense, he averaged nine per pass attempt while throwing for 300 yards and four touchdowns. UAB steamrolled through most of its conference schedule and held on to defeat Middle Tennessee in the Conference-USA title game for its 10th win of the season.</p><p>[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/Zx05anTulP8", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]</p><h2><strong>Why UAB Can Win/Cover</strong></h2><p>The Blazers run the ball and stop the run well. Its workhorse is bruising 220-pounder Spencer Brown, who has carried the ball at least 20 times in eight games. Despite the heavy volume, he averages 4.7 YPC and has accrued 1,147 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. UAB is 9-1 ATS when running for over 120 yards.</p><p>Defensively, UAB ranks 19th in opposing YPC. Stopping the run is an important ability against the Huskies, which rank 36th in run play percentage.</p><p>[/]{"component":"video", "type":"youtube", "url":"https://www.youtube.com/embed/zG8qHBC82QE", "videoSize":"Large" }[/]</p><h2><strong>Why Northern Illinois Can Win/Cover</strong></h2><p>The Blazers’ run defense numbers look strong because of the poor rushing attacks it faced, six of which rank outside the top 100 in YPC, eight outside the top 90. The two rush attacks in the Group of Five that it faced that rank in the top 60 are Tulane, which achieved 4.4 YPC, .1 off its season average, on 40 carries, and North Texas, which averaged 2.8 YPC, but focused on passing and never established its running game.</p><p>The Huskies boast two different running backs with at least 90 carries that average over 5 YPC. The leader of the duo is Tre Harbison, who is approaching the 1,000-yard mark on 5.2 YPC. He averaged at least 4.8 YPC against top-50 run defenses like Miami, (Ohio) BYU, and Utah. UAB failed to cover its last two games when allowing over 100 rushing yards.</p><h2><strong>Common Opponents/Series History</strong></h2><p>Both schools took on some Power Five teams. UAB got blown out by Texas A&amp;M by three touchdowns. Northern Illinois lost by multiple scores to Florida State, Iowa, and Utah.</p><h2><strong>The Verdict</strong></h2><p>Besides boasting a well-tested duo of running backs, the Huskies have dual-threat quarterback Childers. UAB has shown some problems defending mobile quarterbacks. They allowed Tulane’s Jonathan Banks to achieve a season-high rush gain and Coastal Carolina’s Kilton Anderson to gain a season-high yardage total. Childers has rushed for for over 50 yards on six different occasions, including 169 against Ohio. Childers also showed against Buffalo that he is capable of throwing beautiful deep passes. He became a quarterback who is able to march his team down the field. UAB ranks highly in opposing passer rating, but also faced six teams that rank outside the top 90 in opposing passer rating. Against North Texas’ Mason Fine, the Blazers allowed over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns. I expect Childers’ passer rating to be somewhere between his season average of 111 and Fine’s rating of 167.</p><p>UAB’s offense will struggle to show the same balance as NIU's because it has less depth at running back and a shaky starting quarterback in A.J. Erdely who has thrown as many touchdowns and interceptions and is listed as "questionable" for the game with a shoulder injury. His backup, Tyler Johnston III, has thrown one more interceptions than touchdowns. The Huskies rank third in opposing YPC. It shut down the likes of Ohio star running back A.J. Ouellette to 1.5 YPC and limited Buffalo’s 41st-ranked rush attack to 3.4 YPC, 1.3 below its season average. NIU will also contain Spencer Brown.</p><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/college-football/2018-boca-raton-college-football-picks-trends-betting-history/87794" rel="nofollow">Read About Boca Raton Bowl History and Betting Trends</a></h2>
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