Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois kicks off this Tuesday (11/14/23) at 7 p.m. EST in DeKalb, llinois as a home game for the Huskies. Get Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois predictions and best bets below. Our best bet is on the under 55.5 with two offenses poised to struggle to generate any sort of consistency.
Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Prediction
Northern Illinois continues to put up confusing results. The Huskies come off an outright loss to the Ball State Cardinals, who are currently playing their third-string quarterback. Northern Illinois now must win out to get a bowl berth. The Huskies et the opportunity to get back on track against an equally struggling Western Michigan squad. The Broncos also must win out to make a bowl.
The postseason stakes make this game especially intriguing.Both offenses are sputtering and both defenses can make stops. While MACtion is normally associated with Explosiveness, the Huskies rank fourth in Def Explosiveness and can negate their own poor open-field tackling by stacking the box against a run-heavy Broncos offense.
Expect a run-heavy game script as both offenses base their “success” on the ground. Success is used loosely as they don’t generate much of it. The Huskies rank league average in Success Rate, Explosiveness and PPA. The Broncos dip to well below average in the same metrics. Even with their struggles on the ground, both teams still heavily rely on the running game for minimal success. That plays into our under bet.
Western Michigan’s struggles in rush metrics, while calling at the 30th-highest run rate, is exactly what NIU’s front seven needs to get them off the field. NIU ranks 110 in Def Rush Success Rate and 107th in Def Rush PPA. But the Huskies limit the big gain by ranking 49th in Def Rush Explosiveness. WMU doesn’t fare much better as they check in at 82nd in Rush Success Rate, 81st in Rush Explosiveness and 65th in Rush PPA.
While the advantage still leans toward WMU, NIU will also get the benefit of crashing their second level to the trenches to help stop the run. The Huskiews back end has done an excellent job at limiting the pass. By ranking 19th in Def Pass Success Rate, sixth in Def Pass Explosiveness and 16th in Def Pass PPA, NIU can keep its secondary on an island and use linebackers as extra run stoppers. This will create more stalled-out drives on WMU’s end, all while bleeding the clock to the benefit of the under.
Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Prediction: Under 55.5
Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Best Betting Odds
Even with Northern Illinois struggling, oddsmakers still have this as their game to lose by opening the Huskies as a -3.5 favorite. Bettors believe that number opened too low, backing NIU up to the current number of -5. Even with their own struggles, WMU’s offense also fails to generate any sort of consistency on the ground or through the air.
Points are expected to be scored at a blistering pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 56.5. Bettors believe that number is a tad too high, backing the under down to 55.5. Offense on both ends has been very sloppy and anemic, giving value toward the under in what is expected to be a run heavy game script.
Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Key Matchups
Can Rocky Lombardi take advantage of a weak WMU secondary?
Rocky Lombardi Vs. Western Michigan Secondary
One potential threat to the under that needs to be mentioned is Rocky Lombardi and the NIU pass attack. He doesn’t necessarily do a good job in that department, ranking 87th in Pass Success Rate, 91st in Pass Explosiveness and 72nd in Pass PPA. But the WMU secondary is brutally bad.
— NIU Huskie Athletics (@NIUAthletics) October 14, 2023
Western’s secondary matches those putrid metrics by clocking in at 105th in Def Pass Success Rate, 96th in Def Pass PPA, and 82nd in Def Pass Explosiveness. Luckily in our under tickets favor, WMU’s defense does a fantastic job at creating disruptions, ranking seventh in Havoc and can keep pass success to a minimum by pressuring Lombardi.