Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 5:45 PM EST.
Western Michigan -3½ over NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Huskie Stadium – DeKalb, IL
7:00 PM EST. Spotting road points in isolated Tuesday night games is not something we typically endorse but there are exceptions and this is one of them.
The Northern Illinois Huskies come into this game 8-3 on the year and equally have been a fruitful investment against the number, as they stand 7-3-1 in that department. You will also read that NIU is on their way back to the Motor City next week to play for the MAC Championship, which is not uncommon for the Huskies. Historically, they are a familiar face to play for the MAC Championship. That alone will bolster NIU’s market credibility and make them look like a savory play getting points at home against Western Michigan, who, by contrast, has been less than inspiring in their recent performances.
You see, the Broncos have won just once in their last four games and have not covered once over that span. The one win was against who, you ask? Akron; Where, as a 26-point choice in Kalamazoo, the Broncs allowed the Zips to score 40 and narrowly escaped in a five-point win. When all of these factors come into consideration, bolstered by the fact that the Broncos stand last in the MAC West standings, who the heck would want to lay points with this team on the road? When the trend emerges that the underdog in this series has covered in the last five meetings along with the fact that WMU is 5-15-1 in the previous 21 Western Michigan-Northern Illinois meetings, the Corndogs look like easy money. However, we challenge such a position.
Northern Illinois could be 3-8 as quick as they are 8-3. The Huskies won last week in overtime at Buffalo against an atypical Bulls bunch on a down year. Overtime in college football is a virtual coin flip. Preceding that, the Huskies edged out Ball State by a mere point. If we continue further back, NIU lost at Kent State and before that won again by a point at Central Michigan on October 23rd. Had the Huskies lost that game, they wouldn’t even be in the MAC conversation, as CMU would have won the division and been on their way to Detroit next week. Nevertheless, if one wanted to expunge trends of NIU sneaking away, that is what this team has done all season long. Northern Illinois has won seven of its eight victories by a possession and four of these aforementioned wins by a total of five points. NIU’s only comprehensive win came against a FCS side in Maine in September (41-14) who, to put that in perspective, was in a dog fight with UMass two weeks ago.
When we talk about the bounces and breaks going with a side, this NIU bunch has literally made a season off of them and if KenPom rated college football teams the Huskies would be rated #1 in the luck column.
Just to recap, what we have here is a team (WMU) in last place in the conference spotting road points to a team in first place in the conference with a 6-1 record. We all know how the market eats up misleading records like it’s gold, which once again provides us with opportunities like this. The asking price on Western Michigan suggests that NIU’s good fortune is about to change, as the Broncos are spotting a notorious favorite-conducive tag in light of the circumstances surrounding both programs. That is our queue to move in. And if any wish to question Western Michigan’s credentials, just ask #18 Pitt, who may very well win the ACC this year; one of Pitt’s two losses this season came at home against this Western Michigan club. NIU’s luck has very likely run its course and today they get exposed as the very average team that they truly are.
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Western Michigan -4 -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)