Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Pick 11/11/20
Central Michigan Chippewas (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
When: Wednesday, November 11, at 8 p.m.
Where: Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, Ill.
Point Spread: CMU -7/NIU +7 (Bovada - Credit cards work for deposits there! They offer a 50% real cash bonus up to $250 free! BEST live betting on the planet! Getcha some!)
Total: O/U 61
Up until last season, this had been a traditionally close series. Prior to 2019, the past four games in the series had all been decided by 10 points or less, but that went way off the rails when Jim McElwain arrived in Mount Pleasant. In his first year with Central, the Chippewas blasted Northern Illinois, scoring a 48-10 victory on their way to the Western Division title. CMU looks good to go for this season, as the Chippewas got off to a strong start by knocking off a decent Ohio squad in their opener.
Northern Illinois, on the other hand, has got a lot of work ahead of it. On the one hand, the Huskies’ defense appears to be much improved, as they were able to slow down Buffalo’s potent ground game and keep Jaret Patterson from running all over them. On the other, Northern Illinois blew the game with five turnovers, three of which Buffalo returned for touchdowns. There are reasons to be hopeful for the future in DeKalb, but can Northern Illinois clean up its mistakes well enough to be competitive with a team that’s got genuine dreams of getting back to Detroit and winning the title this time?
How the Public is Betting the Central Michigan/Northern Illinois Game
The public has pushed the line on the Chippewas up a point, as 59 percent of tickets have come in on the Chippewas and boosted the spread from an opening of -6 to the critical number of -7. The total hasn’t budged from its opening.
Quarterback David Moore continues to wait on the NCAA to officially reinstate him and is questionable. Running back Josh Crawford opted out of the season.
Running back, Jevyon Ducker has an ankle injury and is out indefinitely.
When Central Michigan Has the Ball
Here we go again at the quarterback spot for Central Michigan. Actually, it might not even matter at this point. David Moore continues to wait for a decision that he’s eligible to play, so the Chippewas handed the reins to redshirt freshman Daniel Richardson. Richardson is no Trevor Lawrence or Tua Tagovailoa, but he doesn’t have to be in this offense and played well enough to keep the Chippewas moving against a solid Ohio defense.
Richardson’s most important thing against the Bobcats was not to turn the ball over and find Kalil Pimpleton. Central Michigan’s offense doesn’t require a quarterback to be spectacular as long as he doesn’t make mistakes, gets Kobe Lewis plenty of touches on the ground, and makes Pimpleton into his primary target. Richardson did all three successfully against Ohio, as Pimpleton led the Chippewas with five catches and a touchdown, and Lewis gashed the Bobcats for 112 rushing yards and two scores.
The matchup of Lewis vs. the NIU front seven will be the most important of this game by a mile. NIU gave a credible effort against Jaret Patterson, who many believe to be the best running back the MAC offers. But last year, they never came close to stopping Lewis, who gained 143 yards against the Huskies and could have gone for much more if he wasn’t sharing carries with Jonathan Ward, who had 138 rushing yards of his own against NIU. Ward is now with the Arizona Cardinals, leaving Lewis as the main man in the Chippewas’ backfield. Expect him to get the ball early and often.
More Picks: CMU at NIU Against the Spread Pick >>>
When Northern Illinois Has the Ball
The most important thing for the Huskies is to hang on to the football. The Northern Illinois offense gave up three touchdowns in the loss to Buffalo, including one stretch where the Bulls scored 14 points without their offense ever touching the ball because the Huskies’ running backs put the ball on the turf on back-to-back possessions. Harrison Waylee appears to be the main man in the NIU backfield moving forward. He averaged a solid 5.1 yards per carry against Buffalo and was the only regular Northern Illinois running back who didn’t put the ball on the turf.
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If NIU is going to compete in this game, Waylee needs to be more productive than the Huskies’ ground game was a season ago. Last year, the NIU ground game was a total non-factor, as the Huskies gained a measly 22 yards on 25 carries. That forced Ross Bowers to open up the offense and take to the skies, and the results weren’t pretty. Bowers ended the evening with three picks, and the Huskies’ offense only scratched out 251 yards of offense for the entire night, compared to 615 for the Chippewas. Tyrice Richie wasn’t much of a factor last year in the passing game against Central Michigan, but he opened 2020 with 106 receiving yards against Buffalo. He’ll have to be a solid contributor in this game, as will Cole Tucker, who had a quiet opening against the Bulls but was Bowers’ favorite target against the Chippewas last season.
November was when Central Michigan hit its stride last season, as it’s covered in four straight games in the 11th month on the calendar. It also didn’t hurt that several of those games were Wednesday night MACtion games, as it’s hard to find anyone who’s been better in early week games than the Chippewas. Central has covered in 11 of its last 13 games on Wednesdays, with one push. The Chippewas’ offense is a large reason for that, as the over has hit in six consecutive Central games.
That said, there’s two reasons for the Huskies to hope. First, they’ve been a tremendous bounce-back team, as they’ve followed their past four straight-up losses by covering the spread in their next game. Second, the underdog has covered in six straight games in this series. However, that second stat isn’t anywhere near as good for Northern Illinois as it seems: the Huskies were favored in all six of those matchups. This is the first time in a long time that Central has been the favorite, despite their recent dominance of NIU. In five of the past six meetings between the two, Central won the game outright, despite being the underdog in all of those contests.
While the Eastern Division MAC schools battle rain and thunderstorms on a warm Tuesday night, the Western schools will face chilly fall temperatures and clear skies on Wednesday. Rain and wind will not be factors, as the wind will drop to five miles per hour from the south-southwest, but temperatures could fall to 35 degrees at kickoff.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
The most important thing for the Chippewas here is not to get caught looking ahead. Central Michigan has what could be a title showdown for the Western Division next week against archrival Western Michigan, and there’s a real worry that CMU could get caught looking past an opponent that it pasted a season ago.
However, Northern Illinois doesn’t really appear to be capable of pulling off this upset because the Huskies still can’t get out of their own way. NIU didn’t take care of the ball against Buffalo, and given that they didn’t take care of the ball last year at Central Michigan, I can’t see them staying together for four quarters in this one. Trends say to expect many points here, and I’ll go with Central Michigan to win this battle and cover the number. Bet your Week 11 college football picks and ALL your sports wagers EVERY WEEK at -105 odds (instead of the spendy -110 your book is socking you with!) at one of the web’s best betting sites: BetAnySports!
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