NIU vs. Buffalo Odds & Predictions 11/17/21

by | Nov 16, 2021 | cfb

Northern Illinois Huskies (7-3 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bulls (4-6 SU, 3-6-1 ATS)
When: Wednesday, November 17, 7 p.m.
Where: UB Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y.
TV: ESPN2
Point Spread: NIU -1.5/BUF +1.5 (Intertops - Go through our link, deposit $25, enter bonus code ROOKIE200 and they’ll give you a 200% bonus by adding an extra FIFTY BUCKS to your account balance!)
Total: O/U 64

Outlook

One more win would get the job done for Northern Illinois, as the Huskies can lock up the Western Division with either a win or losses by both Central Michigan and Western Michigan over the final two weeks of the season. The Huskies would currently win a tiebreaker with anyone in the division except Western Michigan, whom they face in their season finale, and a win over the Bulls would ensure that nobody could pass the Huskies for the division lead.

But Buffalo isn’t about to go easily, because a loss would be devastating for the Bulls. At 4-6, Buffalo has to find a way to beat both Northern Illinois and Ball State just to make a bowl, as the Bulls have given away all of their margin for error by losing to both Bowling Green and Miami. Buffalo is just 2-4 in the MAC and has just one cover in its past seven contests, that being a blowout win over Akron. This has been a nightmarish matchup for the Bulls, who only have one win in their history over Northern Illinois since Buffalo first joined the MAC. That came last year during the COVID-addled season, but the Huskies have never lost to the Bulls in New York, winning all five meetings between the teams in Buffalo.

How the Public is Betting the Northern Illinois/Buffalo Game

The public is riding with the Huskies in this one, as they’ve put 57 percent of tickets on Northern Illinois to cover the small margin. It hasn’t affected either the spread or the total.

Injury Concerns

Northern Illinois:
Running back Harrison Waylee (arm) and safety Devin Lafayette (leg) are out. Wide receiver Tyrice Richie (leg) is questionable.

Buffalo:
Defensive end Taylor Riggins (undisclosed) and defensive end Max Michel (undisclosed) are questionable. Wide receiver Jovany Ruiz (knee) is out.

When Northern Illinois Has the Ball

Watching a Northern Illinois game is like a roller coaster, because the Huskies keep finding new ways to pull games out of the fire despite getting themselves in tough situations. The Huskies managed to do it again against Ball State despite an early 10-0 deficit, in large part because Rocky Lombardi’s passing and Jay Ducker’s work on the ground brought them back into the game. With Richie a question mark, Lombardi has gone all-in on his connection with Trayvon Rudolph, who topped 100 receiving yards for the third consecutive game in the win over the Cardinals.

But in this game, Ducker might be the better option for the Huskies, as Buffalo’s defense has really struggled on the ground, giving up 198 yards per game. The Bulls did the job well against Miami’s ground game a week ago, but Northern Illinois runs the ball a lot better than Miami does and relies on both Ducker and Lombardi to grind out yards throughout the game. If Buffalo’s run defense doesn’t do a much better job than it did in past games, NIU has a big edge.

When Buffalo Has the Ball

The Bulls’ ground game is still a strength, but isn’t quite as good as it was a year ago when it had Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks going full blast. Marks is finally getting back into game shape, but it’s now Dylan McDuffie who’s been leading the charge for the Bulls’ offense. The good news for Buffalo is that the passing game has improved a fair amount since last season, as Kyle Vantrease has started to come into his own as a thrower.However, Buffalo’s passing game remains inconsistent, as Quian Williams is the only real threat the Bulls have in the aerial attack. Northern Illinois’s defense has been very inconsistent this year, but the Huskies have also gone up against Central Michigan, Ball State and Kent State in the past three weeks, which really wears a defense down. The Bulls could make this interesting if they can get the ground game going.

More Picks: Get Dan’s CMU at Ball State Against the Spread Pick >>>

Betting Trends

Being an underdog or small favorite hasn’t really been a problem for NIU, as the Huskies have gone 5-2 ATS in their past seven games. They’ve also been excellent on the road as a bet, covering in 40 of their past 61 trips from DeKalb and have never lost to the Bulls in Buffalo. Buffalo, on the other hand, has been a disaster in MAC play this year, covering just once in its past seven contests in the league.

MACtion overs have usually been an excellent recipe for success, and Buffalo has certainly been part of that trend, having gone over the total in four straight games on Wednesdays. The same holds for NIU, which has gone over in four straight as a road favorite.

Weather Report

This could be a rough one for football. Winds are set to blow at 20 miles per hour to the south-southwest, with gusts of up to 30 miles per hour. Rain is also in the forecast, with temperatures dropping to 51 degrees.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

This looks like it’s going to be a lower-scoring contest, as lousy weather and two teams that can run the ball well mean that the clock should run and that these teams might have trouble getting traction. This kind of game favors Northern Illinois, which has played tight battles all year long.

I’ll take the Huskies. Note: If you are laying -110 odds when placing your bets YOU-ARE-OVERPAYING! Did you know that there are a couple sportsbooks out there where you lay -105 or less? Do yourself a favor and take 5 minutes to start saving yourself hundreds of dollars by reading this short article and making the switch to reduced odds sports betting.

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