Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Odds, Picks, Predictions (11/2/22)

Wednesday night football might not be as fun as Tuesday night football, but it’s pretty close. MACtion rolls on as Northern Illinois plays host to Central Michigan in a battle of MAC teams looking to salvage what’s become a hugely disappointing season. Both the Huskies and Chippewas are 2-6 and sit tied at the bottom of the MAC West. Who’s coming out of this one with their third win?

Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this Tuesday night matchup in Illinois.

Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Odds

Northern Illinois enters as a 6-point home favorite at -225 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at 56.5 points.

Well, somebody has to win. Northern Illinois does have some positive signs to write home about this season, including a loss by only one possession on the road against Kentucky and a 39-10 win over Eastern Michigan in mid-October.

Between close losses and home-field advantage, Northern Illinois looks like the safer pick as an outright winner, but will the Huskies cover -6 after this line moved a couple points in their direction this week?

Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Prediction & Pick

Central Michigan has shown next to nothing offensively of late. The passing game is in flux after a benching last week, and the running game has been badly inefficient. While Northern Illinois has had issues of its own, this game feels very winnable at home if the Huskies can keep the ball on the ground.

Northern Illinois has only played three of its eight games at home, going 1-2 with losses to Vanderbilt and division-leading Toledo. They should benefit from playing on their home turf. The Huskies are by no means a MAC power, but their ceiling is higher than their 2-6 record. It wouldn’t surprise me to see NIU win by a touchdown or more.

Prediction: NIU wins and covers

Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Key Matchups

Northern Illinois has a pretty dynamic running game, but that’s not entirely by choice. The Huskies have been beset by quarterback injuries all season, losing former Michigan State QB Rocky Lombardi two separate times. Backup Ethan Hampton struggled in his place, throwing 4 INT against Toledo early in October, so Justin Lynch – brother of former Heisman finalist Jordan Lynch – took over in NIU’s last game and completed only nine passes. Whether Lombardi will play isn’t certain, but you’d have to think the Huskies are preparing to be without him.

If that’s the case, the duo of Harrison Waylee and Antario Brown will have to carry the load on the ground. The pair has combined for more than 1,300 rushing yards this season. Lynch is notably another rushing threat if he starts at quarterback. This approach hasn’t worked for Northern Illinois against most teams, but it could work against Central Michigan. The Chippewas have allowed a 100+ yard rusher in four of their last five games, with a shutdown performance against Akron’s rushing attack skewing their overall numbers.

On the other side of things, Northern Illinois has one of the MAC’s strongest run defenses, allowing 114.6 yards per game on the ground. Central Michigan hasn’t run the ball all that well this season – lead back Lew Nichols is averaging 3.6 yards/carry and isn’t guaranteed to play due to injury – so expect a pass-happy offense to keep passing.

The quarterback situation is uncertain for the Chippewas after Daniel Richardson was benched for Jase Bauer in their last game. Richardson threw 40+ passes in five of Central Michigan’s first six games but wasn’t efficient at all aside from a 424-yard performance in Week 1.

It’s tough to feel confident in a Central Michigan offense that’s scored 20+ points in just one of its last five games, and you’d have to think the Chippewas’ only paths to victory come via a breakthrough game from one of their quarterbacks or through a big defensive performance against NIU’s shaky passing game.

Dan is a lifelong sports fan and graduate of Boston University. He’s covered several sports on Instagram since he was 12 and now writes about everything from betting trends to breaking news for Lineups.

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