Quick Lane Bowl
Northern Illinois Huskies (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Duke Blue Devils (6-6 SU, 6-5-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 5:15 P.M. ET
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
by Jerbeek, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Duke -5.5/NIU +5.5
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The Duke Blue Devils and the Northern Illinois Huskies will travel to Detroit, Michigan to play in the Quick Lane Bowl on the day after Christmas. Northern Illinois finished 2nd in the MAC West division. Duke finished 4th in the ACC- Coastal division. Duke is led by 10th year coach David Cutcliffe and is returning to the bowl season after missing out with 4-8 record in 2016. Northern Illinois is also returning to the bowl season after missing out following a 5-7 2016 campaign. The Huskies had played in 8 straight bowls before last season. Head Coach Rod Carey, in his 5th year at the helm, has taken the Huskie to 4 bowl games but they have lost all 4 games by a combined score of 54-159. Duke started off the 2017 with 4 straight wins but then fell on hard times and 6 straight games before finishing the season with wins against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest to become bowl eligible. Northern Illinois has won 2 of their last 3 and had a big win early in the season as they went to Lincoln and upset Nebraska.
QB Marcus Childers took over the starting duties for Northern Illinois in game 4 and despite not throwing for a lot yards he has thrown 15 touchdowns in the 8 games he has started. Jordan Huff leads the Huskies running attack with a 5.8 yard per carry average. Overall the Huskie offense has struggled a little this season as they are only averaging 5.1 yards per play against teams that give up 5.8 yards although they are averaging 30.2 points per game.
Duke is led by Sophomore QB Daniel Jones who is in his 2nd year as a starter for the Blue Devils. Jones has thrown for 2,439 yards with a 55.7% completion percentage. His TD/Interception ratio is not good as he has only thrown for 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Duke has only had 3 touchdown receptions from their wide receivers on the season but their tight ends have combined for 7 receiving touchdowns. This displays their lack of big play ability. The Blue Devils will be without their starting punter, Austin Parker, who has been suspended for disciplinary reasons. In a game that is expected to be a low scoring game this could be significant in the battle for field position.
Defensively, Northern Illinois has been very tough against the run as they have only given up 2.8 yards per rush against teams that average 4.1 yards per play. They have held opponents to 4.6 yards per play overall against teams that average 5.3 yards per play. That strong defensive play has led to the Huskies only allowing 20.8 points per game to teams that average 25.5 points.
The Blue Devil’s defense has also been the strength of the Duke team as they have only given up an average of 5.2 yards per play against teams that average 5.5 yards. This has led to giving up 20.7 points per game against teams that average 25.9 points. The Duke pass defense has been especially tough on opponents as they have held 3 teams to under 100 yards passing; however, their run defense has struggled a bit late in the season has they have given up an average of 233 yards rushing in the last 6 games of the season.
Duke has been a strong team out of conference the past 3 years as they have gone 10-3 ATS against teams that are not in their conference. Northern Illinois has had good success against ACC teams as they are 6-1 ATS against teams from that conference.
Jerbeek’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I look for this game to be a game dominated by the defenses as the strength of both teams lies in their defense and neither team has an explosive offense. My projection shows Duke winning by a score of 21-17. My recommendation is to play under the total of 47.5. – Where are you betting this game? Wanna bet it for FREE? Simply deposit $100 to $1000 at MyBookie! and use promo code PRDCT14 and they will match your deposit with FREE PLAY loot!