Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Ohio Bobcats
Betting Pick: Ohio +3 (November 18th 2014)
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Both teams have a lot to play for coming into this one. Northern Illinois (8-2) is trying to win the MAC West as it’s currently in a three-way tie for first place. Ohio (5-5) needs one more win to become bowl eligible. So, both teams will be highly motivated for a victory Tuesday night.
I just believe Ohio is showing solid value as a 3-point home dog to Northern Illinois with the way it has been playing of late. It has won two of its last three games overall with its lone loss coming at Western Michigan, which is 5-1 within the MAC and battling NIU for first place in the West.
The Bobcats have a huge scheduling advantage in this one as they will be coming in on two weeks’ rest, while the Huskies played last Tuesday in a grueling 27-24 home win over Toledo. That extra preparation should pay big dividends for the Bobcats as they look to stop this solid NIU offense.
The Huskies have been one of the most overrated teams in the country this season. That has been evident by the fact that they have gone 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall. They lost 14-52 at Arkansas as a 13.5-point dog, beat Kent State 17-14 as a 25-point home favorite, lost to Central Michigan 17-34 as an 8-point home favorite, beat Miami Ohio 51-41 as a 13.5-point home favorite, and beat Eastern Michigan 28-17 as an 18-point road favorite during this stretch.
I really like what I saw from Ohio in its last game against Buffalo. It beat down the Bulls 37-14 as a 4-point home favorite, limiting them to just 134 yards of total offense while forcing four turnovers. That’s the same Buffalo team that is coming off a 55-24 home win over Akron last week.
While NIU has a solid offense, its defense is extremely suspect this year. Indeed, it is giving up 25.5 points and 400.0 yards per game against opponents that are only averaging 21.1 points and 354 yards per game offensively. It is allowing 4.4 points and 46 yards per game more than its opponents average on the season.
Ohio has been the better defensive team this year. It is allowing 25.6 points and 408.9 yards per game against opponents who average 28.2 points and 420 yards per game. It is holding its opponents to 2.6 points and 11 yards per game less than their season averages.
The key to this game for Ohio will be stopping the run as NIU averages 262 yards on the ground compared to just 190 yards through the air. It is equipped to do just that. The Bobcats are only allowing 135 rushing yards per game and 3.9 per carry against teams that average 161 yards per game and 4.4 per carry on the ground this year.
Ohio is 4-1 SU & 4-1 ATS at home this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 7.0 points per game. Plays against road favorites (N ILLINOIS) – excellent offensive team (>=440 YPG) against an average offensive team (330 to 390 YPG), after allowing 6.25 or more yards/play in their previous game are 26-6 (81.2%) ATS over the last five seasons. Ohio is 7-0 ATS in its last seven home games when playing against a team with a winning percentage of 75% or better. Bet Ohio Tuesday.
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