Pick Marshall -9.5 Over N. Illinois in NCAAF Boca Raton Bowl

Jeff Grant

Monday, December 15, 2014 8:15 PM GMT

Marshall possesses numerous players from the Sunshine State on its roster, which makes it a top College Football pick against Northern Illinois in the Boca Raton Bowl.

Nearly Perfect
Marshall nearly entered the postseason with a perfect 13-0 SU record, as it dropped a 67-66 overtime decision to Western Kentucky as 23.5-point home favorites on Nov. 28, but it did bounce back and win its first Conference USA Championship over Louisiana Tech.

The Thundering Herd are the only FBS team to average 275-plus passing and rushing yards this season—allowing them to score 23 or more points in every contest.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 6-7 SU and 7-5 ATS versus teams with a winning record, with the OVER going 8-4 in that situation.

 

Becoming Commonplace
Northern Illinois secured its seventh consecutive bowl appearance by winning the MAC Championship for the fourth time in school history, which can’t be ignored when making your College Football picks, as it has tallied 11 or more victories in each of the last five years.

The Huskies current senior class has tied last year’s group with 46 wins since arriving on campus, as they look to hold one of the best offenses in the country to 24 or fewer points, as they’ve put together a 44-1 SU record in their last 45 games when accomplishing that feat.

It’s important to point out that the team is 5-4 SU and 6-3 ATS as underdogs since the start of the 2012 campaign.

 

All About the Sunshine
The Thundering Herd have reaped the benefits in recruiting players out of Florida, which is important to consider when looking over the College Football odds, with the biggest name being Rakeem Cato.

The Miami native has established a new FBS record by throwing a touchdown pass in 45 consecutive games, while he’s completed 58.5 percent of his passes for 3,622 yards in 13 games played this year.

 

Hare Is the Key
The Huskies will need to score some points in hopes of covering this type of number, which means that Drew Hare will need to build off his MAC Championship performance against Bowling Green, as he established career highs with 29 completions and 49 attempts.

Northern Illinois still needs to establish some type of running game, as Hare’s previous highs were 18 and 33 respectively in those categories.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Thundering Herd as one of their Bowl Championship Series picks, as they’ve gone 5-0 SUATS when playing with two or more weeks rest the last two-plus seasons, while their opponent has failed to cover their four games in that situation in the same time period.

Free College Football Pick: Marshall Thundering Herd -9.5 at 5Dimes