Two teams that prefer running the football, Coach Rod Carey and the Northern Illinois Huskies (-3) are set to host the Toledo Rockets at Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium. Fans can tune in to the action on ESPN2 and this key MAC game is scheduled to get going at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Betting Preview: Toledo Rockets vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
In this mid-week Mid-American game, Northern Illinois is projected as the favorite and the team’s currently giving up 3 points. The Rockets are also receiving +135 moneyline odds while the Huskies are -155. If one team can create a bunch of points in the early stages it will create a worthy in-game betting opportunity. Vegas has set the over/under (O/U) at 55.5 points.
The line originally opened at -2 and the game’s O/U was initially 53.5, so sharp bettors are siding with both the Huskies and the over.
The Rockets are 4-5 against the spread (ATS) and have lost 2.3 units so far. The team has posted an O/U mark of 5-3.
The Huskies have been a nice surprise for moneyline bettors this season, gaining 4.8 units. The team is 5-4 ATS and has an O/U record of 2-7.
The Rockets have gone 5-4 straight up (SU), including 3-2 SU against MAC opponents. The Huskies are 6-3 SU overall and 5-0 SU in conference play.
When these two teams faced each other last year, Toledo got the victory 27-17.
The Rockets are looking to maintain momentum after a solid 45-13 victory over Ball State last week. The passing game could’ve been sharper as Eli Peters completed 25 passes on 34 attempts for 327 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Bryant Koback (78 rushing yards on 15 attempts, two TDs) and Art Thompkins (84 yards on 13 carries, one TD) propelled the ground attack while Cody Thompson (six receptions, 75 yards, one TD) and Diontae Johnson (five catches, 100 yards) handled the receiving duties in the win.
Northern Illinois just earned a 36-26 win over Akron. Marcus Childers completed 21-of-28 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown. Tre Harbison (169 rushing yards on 23 attempts, one TD) and Marcus Jones (82 yards on 15 carries) mounted the running game as Jones (four receptions, 21 yards) and Jauan Wesley (three catches, 50 yards) led the pass-catching attack in the win.
In terms of offensive play-calling, each of these squads sports a similar run-pass ratio on the season. Toledo has run the ball on 58.3 percent of its offensive possessions while Northern Illinois has an overall rush percentage of 59.8. Having said that, the Rockets have produced 204.3 rush yards/game (including 229.4 per game against Mid-American opponents) and have 19 touchdowns on the ground this year. The Huskies haven’t been quite as productive. They’re averaging 167.3 rushing yards per game (238.6 in conference) and have 11 total rush TDs.
The Rockets offensive scheme has averaged 235.8 yards in the air overall (208.4 per game versus conference opposition) and has 25 passing scores so far. The Huskies have put up 139.1 pass yards per outing (140 in the MAC) and have nine total pass TDs.
Defensively, Toledo has allowed opponents to run for an average of 177.2 yards and pass for 282.8 yards per game. The Northern Illinois D has given up 243.1 yards per game to opposing passers and 103.8 yards per game to opposing runners. The Huskies are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 5.46 to opposing QBs, while the Rockets have given up a 6.45 ANY/A.
Passing-wise, Peters is up to 891 yards this season, and has completed 53 percent of his 122 attempts with eight passing scores and six interceptions. He has a 5.91 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 7.38 over the last two outings.
The Rockets will probably try to control tempo by feeding their running backs early and often. Along with Diontae Johnson (534 yards, six TDs), Bryant Koback (413 rush yards, eight rush TDs) and Art Thompkins (270 rush yards, three rush TDs) have brought significant production to the Toledo offensive scheme.
Marcus Childers has managed to complete 139-of-242 passes for 1,137 yards, nine TDs and five INTs for Northern Illinois. His ANY/A sits at a terrible 3.39 for the year and 5.05 across his last two games.
The Huskies should also look to control the clock by turning to their backfield. Along with Jauan Wesley (369 receiving yards, two receiving TDs), Tre Harbison (611 rush yards, four rush TDs) and Marcus Jones (364 rush yards, two rush TDs) have seen plenty of looks lately.
Toledo Rockets at Northern Illinois Huskies Free Pick
SU Winner: Northern Illinois, ATS Winner: Northern Illinois, O/U: Over
- The O/U for Toledo’s last game going into it was 64. The under cashed in the team’s 45-13 triumph over Ball State.
- Toledo has rushed for 6.2 yards per attempt over its last three games and 6.5 over its last two.
- Northern Illinois has averaged 4.5 yards per carry over its last three outings and only 4.0 over its last two.
- The Northern Illinois offense has lost four fumbles this season while Toledo has lost three.
- In its last three matchups, Toledo is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
- The Over/Under for Northern Illinois’ last matchup going into it was 37. The over cashed in the 36-26 victory over Akron.
- Over its last three games, Northern Illinois is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
- The Rockets offense has recorded seven pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Huskies have put up one such play.
- The Toledo defense has allowed 10 pass plays of 40 or more yards, while Northern Illinois has given up eight such plays.
- The Toledo offense has created 14 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while Northern Illinois has created nine such runs.
- The Rockets defense has allowed 16 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while the Huskies have given up three such runs.
- The Northern Illinois defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks 32 times this season. Toledo has recorded just 22 sacks.