NCAA Football Free Pick: Ohio Bobcats at Northern Illinois Huskies

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

Two schools that like running the football, Head Coach Rod Carey and the Northern Illinois Huskies (-4) are set to face their in-conference nemesis Ohio Bobcats at Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium. ESPN+ will broadcast the action and kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET.

Betting Preview: Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Ohio Bobcats

In this Saturday Mid-American game, Northern Illinois has been projected as the favorite and is currently giving up 4 points. The Bobcats are also receiving +155 moneyline odds while the Huskies are -175. On the surface it looks like there should be some good live betting opportunities in this game.

This game’s line initially opened at -4 but has recently moved.

The Bobcats are 2-3 against the spread (ATS) and have recorded 0.0 units so far. The team’s recorded an O/U mark of 3-1.

The Huskies have gained 0.6 units this season. The team is 3-3 ATS and has an O/U record of 1-5.

The Bobcats are 3-2 straight up (SU), including 1-0 SU against MAC opponents. The Huskies are 3-3 SU overall and 3-0 SU in conference play.

Both teams enter the matchup on two-game winning streaks. The Bobcats are coming off a 27-26 victory over Kent State last week. Nathan Rourke completed 18-of-20 passes for 284 yards, along with a score and a pick. A.J. Ouellette (72 yards on 18 rush attempts, two TDs) and the signal-caller Rourke (49 yards on 15 carries, one TD) led the ground attack. Papi White (five receptions, 89 yards) and Andrew Meyer (four catches, 90 yards, one TD) handled the receiving duties in the win.

Northern Illinois enters this one after just earning a 24-16 win over Ball State. Marcus Childers completed 18-of-29 passes for 143 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Tre Harbison (48 rushing yards on 15 attempts, two TDs) and Marcus Jones (130 yards on 12 carries) spearheaded the running game while D.J. Brown (seven receptions, 49 yards, one TD) and Dennis Robinson (three catches, 27 yards) led the pass-catching corps in the win.

In terms of offensive play-calling, each squad sports a strikingly similar (58-42) run-pass ratio on the season. Having said that, the Bobcats have produced 204.4 rush yards per game and have 13 touchdowns on the ground this year. The Huskies haven’t been quite as successful. They’re logging 144.3 rushing yards per game (214.0 in conference) and have five total rush TDs.

The Bobcats offense has averaged 251.0 yards through the air overall and has nine passing scores so far. The Huskies have recorded 134.0 pass yards per contest (123 in the MAC) and have eight total pass TDs.

Defensively, Ohio has allowed opponents to rush for an average of 145.2 yards and throw for 363.6 yards per game. The Northern Illinois defense has allowed 229.8 yards per game to opposing passers and 126.7 yards per game to opposing runners. The Huskies are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 5.17 to opponents, while the Bobcats have given up a staggering 8.90 ANY/A.

Passing-wise, Rourke has put up 752 yards on the year. He’s connected on 48-of-86 attempts with four scores through the air and two interceptions. He has a 7.34 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number sits at 9.78 over the past two outings.

Look for a balanced attack offensively from Ohio in this one. Nathan Rourke, A.J. Ouellette and Papi White have collectively accounted for 599 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns over the last two outings.

Marcus Childers has managed to complete 81-of-146 passes for 683 yards, seven TDs and three INTs for Northern Illinois. His ANY/A sits at a minuscule 3.35 for the season and 2.13 across his last two outings.

We’re expecting the Huskies to control tempo by putting the ball into the hands of their running backs. Jauan Wesley (182 receiving yards, two TDs this season) has stepped up lately, but Tre Harbison (283 rush yards, two rush TDs) and Marcus Jones (231 rush yards) have been focal points in the Huskies’ recent offensive gameplans.

These two conference foes did not get a chance to face one another in 2017.

Ohio Bobcats at Northern Illinois Huskies Free Prediction

SU Winner: Ohio, ATS Winner: Ohio

Team Betting Trends

  • The Northern Illinois offense has lost three fumbles this season while Ohio has let six get away.
  • The Northern Illinois defense has produced twice as many sacks as Ohio this season (18 to nine).
  • Ohio has averaged 5.96850393700787 yards per carry across its past three contests and 6.4 over its last two.
  • Northern Illinois has averaged 3.7 yards per carry over its last three matchups and 4.4 over its last two.
  • In its last three matchups, Northern Illinois is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • Ohio was the underdog by 12 points in its previous game and the O/U was set at 70. The under cashed and Ohio covered in the 27-26 victory over Kent State.
  • Over its last three matchups, Ohio is 2-1 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • Northern Illinois was getting 3 points in its previous outing and the Over/Under going into it was 53.5. The under cashed and Northern Illinois covered in the 24-16 win over Ball State.