Northern Illinois Huskies at Toledo Rockets Pick 11/13/19
Northern Illinois Huskies (3-6 SU, 5-4 ATS) at Toledo Rockets (6-3, 4-5 ATS)
When: Wednesday, November 13, 8 p.m EST
Where: Glass Bowl, Toledo, Ohio
Point Spread: NIU +2.5/TOL -2.5
Total: O/U 55
Outlook For Week 12
It’s “do or die” time for Northern Illinois. One more loss for the Huskies means that they’re ineligible for a bowl and will be playing for nothing but pride in their final two games of the season. Actually, pride might already be out the window after absorbing a 48-10 loss at Central Michigan to drop their record to 3-6. The Huskies have only beaten two FBS squads this season, in part because they scheduled very tough games at Utah, Nebraska, and Vanderbilt. Three Power 5 opponents might have been one too many, however, as the Huskies haven’t been able to show much toughness inside the MAC this year.
On the other side, Toledo is bowl eligible after getting two close wins to follow up two humiliating road losses. Losing to Ball State made it very unlikely that Toledo wins the MAC West, but the possibility is still there that the Rockets could win a tiebreaker as long as the Cardinals aren’t part of it. That would be quite a feat given that Toledo managed to lose to Bowling Green, but that’s the MAC for you.
How the Public is Betting the Northern Illinois/Toledo Game
With little time to change the line, the public hasn’t had much of an effect on this game. The total has dropped from 55 to 54, but the line has hung at -2.5.
More Picks: OU/BAY Pick Against the Spread 11/16/19
Linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis is out for the season with a leg injury.
Quarterbacks Mitchell Guadagni and Carter Bradley are both questionable with undisclosed injuries while running back Bryant Koback left the last game with a leg injury and is questionable.
When Northern Illinois Has the Ball
For the Huskies, it all starts and ends with Ross Bowers at quarterback. The Huskies’ signal-caller has been Northern Illinois’ biggest threat because of his ability to make plays with his arm, which has led Northern Illinois to almost 2,000 yards of offense through the air. However, it hasn’t led to a lot of scoring, as Bowers has thrown for just six touchdowns and eight interceptions. Bowers does do a good job at spreading the ball to his receivers, but when those passes aren’t resulting in touchdowns, the yards aren’t really worth much. Tre Harbison does provide a decent ground game with seven touchdowns, but overall, this is an offense that has struggled to put up points more often than not. Only Ohio and Akron, neither of whom can play defense well, have given up more than 24 points to the Huskies this season, and that includes FCS Illinois State.
When Toledo Has the Ball
The Rockets are now on their third quarterback of the season. Eli Peters has come out of the bullpen in the past two games after injuries to Guadagni and Bradley. So far, he’s looked pretty darn good given that he’s a third-stringer, tossing three touchdowns in wins over Eastern Michigan and Kent State to make the Rockets bowl eligible. It’d be a big help for Toledo to have Koback active, but if he can’t go, Shakif Seymour has proven a capable replacement. He stepped up big last game against Kent State, rushing for 175 yards and two scores to allow Toledo to hold off the Golden Flashes.
The point is, this team has been through adversity throughout the season and come through it very well, making Toledo a solid option at home, where the Rockets haven’t lost this season.
Given the struggles of the Northern Illinois offense, it might be a wise play to take the under here. It’s hit in seven consecutive matchups between these teams, who know each other well and know how to slow down the other’s tendencies. That would fly in the face of the Huskies’ streak of four straight games where the over has hit, but with Toledo as the opponent, there’s a good chance the oddsmakers have overestimated the Huskies’ ability to put up points.
As for the spread, two trends are working in the Huskies’ favor. They’ve yet to lose consecutive games against the line this season. Also, the road team has covered in six of the past eight in this series. However, the previous two have gone to the home team, and you bet against Toledo in the Glass Bowl at your own peril. The Rockets have covered five of their past six at home, only missing by two points last game against Kent State.
After a frigid Tuesday, Wednesday will feel better in Toledo, with the temperature hitting around 29 degrees at kickoff.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Toledo has had two disasters this year, but if you take a look at them, they’ve both come on the road. At home, they’ve been a competent squad that puts up points at a fairly solid clip. Only BYU has held them under 28 points in the Glass Bowl this year, and that’s a stark contrast to a Northern Illinois offense that has had trouble scoring against everyone but Ohio. Who can’t stop anyone, and Akron, which might be the worst FBS team in the country outside of Massachusetts.
Toledo isn’t a terrible defensive team and should be able to score pretty regularly against the Huskies. The Rockets also have more to play for. They’re still in the hunt for the Western Division title, they can lock up a bowl bid with a win, and they’re playing their final home game of the season. The motivation is higher for the Rockets, and they’re the better team anyway. The spread is manageable, so I want Toledo here.
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