College Football Picks: Lock N. Illinois +12 vs. Bowling Green

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 6:43 PM GMT

We analyze the college football odds for Friday's MAC Championship Game between the Northern Illinois Huskies and the Bowling Green Falcons and provide our college football pick.

N. Illinois vs. Bowling Green (-12) 8:00 ET ESPN2
At 8:00 ET on Friday, NIU and Bowling Green face off for the MAC Championship at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  These teams have met for the Title in each of the last 2 seasons with NIU winning (51-17) last year to avenge the (47-27) loss from the 2013 MAC Title Game.  Last year, it was all about the Huskie defense, who shut down the high-powered Bowling Green attack, holding the Falcons to just 287 total yards.  In that game, NIU was a 5 point favorite.  This season, despite each having successful seasons and ascending to the MAC Title Game, there has been more than a 2 TD line swing.  With that in mind, we will gladly lineup with the more balanced offense, the better defense and a team that is very hungry following their embarrassing performance last Tuesday night. 

 

Northern Illinois Huskies
With an opportunity to clinch the MAC West title, NIU took to their home field last Tuesday night as a 13 point favorite against an Ohio U team, who had lost their previous 2 MAC road games by 38 at Bowling Green and 24 at Buffalo.  In a most startling performance, the Bobcats outrushed the Huskies 230-73 in a (26-21) upset victory.   With virtually no hope of their 6th consecutive MAC West title, the Huskies gathered around their Thanksgiving TV sets to watch the Toledo/W. Michigan game.  Much like the Huskies, the Rockets controlled their own destiny.  But, in a scenario which we saw play out numerous times this past weekend (as usual), it was “with need you bleed.”  Toledo was upset by Western (35-30), affording NIU the MAC West Title in a tiebreaker.  With that renewed hope, look for a very focused performance by a veteran NIU team.  The Huskies offense averages 35 PPG with a balanced attack gaining 213 overland and 228 through the air.  In addition, they have the superior defense which allows just 25/392.  It is an outstanding statistical combination when considering this “been there, done that” team is a double digit dog.  

 

Bowling Green Falcons
That is to take nothing away from this outstanding Bowling Green offense led by 2nd year HC Dino Babers and piloted by QB Johnson.  The Bowling Green “fast attack” looks to run a minimum of 90 plays per game.  In so doing, they have authored a 9-3 SU ATS season in which they have a (+131) AFP.  That includes wins at BIG 10 teams Maryland and Purdue which highlights a 6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS road mark for the Falcons.  Last week, with a MAC East Title clinched already, Bowling Green defeated Ball St. (48-10).  It came with a 576-264 yardage edge, including 336 through the airways.  That was actually a subpar night for the Falcons’ passing attack, which averages 388/8.9.  It keys a Bowling Green offense that averages 44 PPG, 566 YPG and 6.9 YP play (best in the conference). 

Though the Bowling Green offense is very impressive, NIU proved they can shut it down in the MAC Title game last year.  Again this season, the Huskies have the superior defense, as well as the more balanced offense.  Combined with the embarrassment of last week’s home field loss, expect an outstanding effort from the team who has been the best in conference for the last 6 seasons.  I invite you to put the college football odds in your favor and join me in my college football pick with NIU in the MAC Championship Title Game.     

College Football Picks: Northern Illinois +12 at Pinnacle

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