Northern Illinois is favored by the College Football odds tonight as they host the Toledo Rockets, and this handicapper points out why placing your pick on the Money Line is the best option.
As usual at this time of the year, you can throw a blanket over the division leaders in the MAC West. Perennial division contender, Toledo (5-0) is being challenged by reigning champion, N. Illinois (4-1) and the surprise contender, W. Michigan at 4-1. Western’s only league loss is to Toledo, while they finish the season at home vs. N. Illinois. That makes the winner of this game the current leader atop the division and likely winner. Last year, N. Illinois won this game 35-17 at Toledo in a pick-‘em contest, outgaining the Rockets 566-419. It was the 4th consecutive year that NIU has won this rivalry, including victories of 7, 3, and 35 in the 3 previous years.
This would appear to be the Rockets’ best chance to defeat their arch rival as they have 16 RS from last year’s 7-5 team. Though Toledo stands 6-3 SU for the season (losses to Missouri, Cincinnati and Iowa St.), they are a perfect 5-0 in league play. Yet, they have underachieved to the number, standing 3-6 ATS for the season and 0-4 ATS in league play. In last week’s 30-20 win at Kent, Toledo held a comfortable 30-6 advantage before allowing the offensive oaf that is Kent St. to score a pair of meaningless backdoor TDs. Again this season, the Rockets’ offense has ascended to status as both a 200 Club Member at 34 PPG and 501 YPG, as well as a STEAMROLLER at 251/6.1 overland. Major reason for concern this evening is the “doubtful status” of starting QB Woodside with a leg injury.
After a combined record of 46-10 SU the previous 4 years, NIU is in a bit of a rebuilding phase. Of greatest concern was the Huskies’ ability to replace QB Lynch, who finished 3rd in the Heisman vote. Though it has been a season-long process, QB Hare has emerged as yet another in a long line of dual threat Huskie QBs. For the year, Hare has completed 61% of his passes and averaging 6.6 YPR. Northern has ascended to STEAMROLLER status themselves, as they average 32 PPG with a running game that goes overland for 266/5.1. Having already suffered a rare defeat to C. Michigan on this field (34-17 on October 11th), I will place my College Football pick on the perennial champion, N. Illinois, to show their mettle in this victory tonight.
History says it will happen, as N. Illinois is 33-1 SU on this field of late and has not lost more than one conference game in the previous 5 seasons.
Free College Football Pick: Northern Illinois -185 at The Greek