The Northern Illinois Huskies (12-15, 5-9 MAC) look to put an end to their 10-game road losing streak when they clash with the Ball State Cardinals (18-9, 9-5 MAC), who will attempt to continue their five-game home winning streak. Ball State is a 10-point favorite on the opening line, while the Over/Under (O/U) for the game opened at 149 points. Action gets underway at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.
Northern Illinois Huskies at Ball State Cardinals Free Preview
The last time the Huskies played, they defeated the Western Michigan Broncos, 75-67. Eugene German was the games high scorer with 31 points on 11-for-22 shooting. The Huskies, who came into the game averaging an effective field goal percentage of 0.514, had a great mark of 0.582, while the Broncos had a turnover percentage of 18.8 (above their season average of 13.4).
The Cardinals come in on a high note after thoroughly outplaying the Toledo Rockets in their last outing, 99-71. Ball State rallied around Tahjai Teague, who recorded 16 points and 12 rebounds. Ball State played a perfect game. They had a fantastically low turnover percentage of 7.2 (better than their season average of 16.9) and a free throw rate of 0.459 (above their season average of 0.231). Toledo was 16.9 and 0.305, respectively, for those same stats.
This contest should be a matchup of contrasting tempos. Ball State has preferred to play up-tempo (74th in possessions per game), while Northern Illinois has been slower-paced (210th in possessions per game). Ball protection should be an advantage for the Huskies. They rank 59th at avoiding errors (turnover percentage of 16.9 percent). Conversely, the Cardinals force the 77th-fewest turnovers in the nation (opponents turnover percentage of 17.2 percent).
Of Northern Illinois 23 games that accepted bets, 13 have finished over the O/U total, while 11 of Ball State’s 21 games have finished under the O/U total. The Cardinals have the sizable advantage straight up (SU) (18-9 vs. 12-15), but the Huskies have been superior against the spread (ATS) (11-11-1 vs. 10-11).
This will be the first matchup of the year between these two teams, after the Cardinals won both matchups last season. In the last contest, Ball State won 87-82. The Cardinals dominated nearly every facet of the game. They had a turnover percentage of 11.5 and a great effective field goal percentage of 0.591. For those same stats, the Huskies recorded marks of 15.0 and 0.484, respectively.
Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Ball State Cardinals Betting Prediction
Pick: SU Winner – Ball State, ATS Winner – Northern Illinois, O/U – Over
- The Cardinals average 37.9 rebounds per game, which ranks 61st in the NCAA. The Huskies rank 159th in rebounds allowed per game (34.9).
- Ball State averages 3.5 blocks per game, which ranks 106th in the nation. Northern Illinois ranks 154th in blocks allowed per game (3.9).
- Northern Illinois is 4-8-1 ATS on the road, while Ball State is 4-5 ATS at home.
- The Huskies have 8 overs and 5 unders in 13 road games.
- The Cardinals have 5 unders and 4 overs in 9 home games.
- Ball State ranks 91st in assists per game (14.8) while Northern Illinois ranks 277th (10.0).
- The Cardinals rank 104th in three pointers attempted per game (23.2) while the Huskies rank 289th (16.5).
- Northern Illinois ranks 10th in steals allowed per game (4.6) while Ball State ranks 183rd (7.1).
- Ball State is 3-2 ATS with 3 overs and 2 unders in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Northern Illinois is 3-2 ATS with 4 overs and 1 under.
- The Cardinals average margin of victory in their last five games has been 9.2, up from 2.7 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Huskies have scored an average of 75.8 points per game (1.5 above their season average) and allowed an average of 79.6 points per game (4.6 above their season average).