The Northern Illinois Huskies hope to get back on track this week as they host the Ball State Cardinals. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 EST on Thursday, November 9 at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Illinois. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
Oddsmakers have Northern Illinois as 32-point favorites. That line has grown after the Huskies opened as 28.5-point favorites. The over/under for the game is 53 points. Click here to check out a full list of Week 11 betting odds and links to game previews.
Ball State vs Northern Illinois Vegas Betting Line & Game Preview
The Huskies saw their four-game winning streak snapped last week when they lost to Toledo. The loss all but knocked NIU out of contention to play in the MAC Championship Game unless Toledo losses at least two of their final three games. Nevertheless, the Huskies will look to keep the pressure on Toledo just in case they falter, so they have much to play for this season.
The same can’t be said for Ball State, losers of six games. The Cardinals are 2-7 on the season and yet to win a conference game this year. Last week, they got blown out by Eastern Michigan, who also entered the game winless in MAC play. Ball State doesn’t have much to play for this season, but the Cardinals definitely don’t want to finish winless in conference play.
College Football Free Pick Against the Spread: Northern Illinois -32
I hate swallowing this many points, but I will. Despite last week’s loss to Toledo, I still think Northern Illinois is one of the top two or three teams in the MAC. Meanwhile, Ball State is clearly the worst team in the MAC this year and among the worst teams in the country. This game has blowout written all over it, so I’ll lean toward the Huskies.
The Cardinals are among the worst 10 teams in the country in terms of both points scored per game and points allowed per game. That’s not a good combination, to say the least. Even against Eastern Michigan, another MAC basement dweller, the Cardinals were atrocious on both sides of the ball and lost in blowout fashion.
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In their five conference games this season, the Cardinals have lost by an average of 42 points. Their closest game was a 28-point loss to Akron. To be fair, the Cardinals are definitely in the better of the two MAC divisions. But that’s not an excuse to lose by an average of six touchdowns against your conference rivals.
My only concern in this game is that Northern Illinois has struggled to win convincingly against lesser teams this season. NIU’s four MAC wins have come by an average of 14 points, with two of them decided by a field goal or less. In fact, they’re only scoring 27 points per game on the season. But they have good balance on offense and a young quarterback in Marcus Childers who’s getting better week by week.
After last week’s loss to Toledo, I expect the Huskies to come out focused. As long as they don’t overlook Ball State, they should have no problem moving the ball and scoring points against one of the worst teams in college football. This is a lot of points to cover, but Ball State has lost every conference game in blowout fashion and this game will be no different.