Western Michigan Broncos vs. Northern Illinois Huskies Pick 11/26/19

by | Nov 25, 2019 | cfb

Western Michigan Broncos (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (4-7 SU, 6-5 ATS)
When: Tuesday, November 26, 7 p.m EST
Where: Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, Ill.

Point Spread: WMU -7/NIU +7
Total: O/U Off

Outlook For Week 14

Well, so much for Northern Illinois caring about the postseason. Dealt a struggling opponent in Eastern Michigan with a chance to give themselves a shot at bowl eligibility, the Huskies instead played a horrendous game and got blown out by the Eagles, dropping them to 4-7 and ending any hopes of Northern Illinois making it to a postseason game. The Huskies have nothing left to play for except pride and ruining Western Michigan’s season, as they have no chance of winning the MAC West and could finish last in the West with a loss here.

For Western Michigan, it’s all there to play for. A win means that the Broncos win the division and will go to Detroit to play Miami-Ohio for the MAC title. Lose, and the Broncos will be nervously spending Black Friday hoping for help from Toledo, as the Rockets would then need to defeat Central Michigan in order for Western to win the MAC West. Western also fell victim to the dreaded Eastern Michigan Disease, but other than that loss to the Eagles (and at least Western’s was a 7-point game on the road, as opposed to 28 points at home), the Broncos are playing some of their best football as of late, having won four of their past five.

How the Public is Betting the Western Michigan/Northern Illinois Game

The line has not moved off of its 7-point spread, and the total has not been placed on the board.

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Injury Concerns

Eastern Michigan:

Western Michigan reports no new injuries since Week 13, and in fact, states no lingering injuries since Sept. 21.

Northern Illinois:

Quarterback Ross Bowers was held out of the Eastern Michigan game with a concussion and will not play against Western Michigan. Linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis is out for the season with a leg injury, while linebacker Kyle Pugh has a shoulder injury and is out for the season.

When Western Michigan Has the Ball

Levante Bellamy has to be salivating at this matchup after seeing what Shaq Vann did to the Northern Illinois defense. Vann is not known for putting up big numbers, but against Northern Illinois, he rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries, pretty impressive for a team that does not commit to the run. Western Michigan heavily commits to the ground game because it has Bellamy, the best running back the MAC has to offer. Bellamy struggled against Ohio last week, but otherwise, he has broken the century mark in five of seven conference games and has 15 touchdowns in league play to his name.

Given what Eastern Michigan quarterback Mike Glass did to Northern Illinois last week, Jon Wassink might also want to take his shots at the Huskies’ secondary. Wassink comes off a sharp performance against Ohio, which saw him toss three touchdowns and accumulate 322 passing yards. Last week, Glass threw just four incompletions against the Huskies, giving the Broncos their choice of how they want to attack their hosts.

When Northern Illinois Has the Ball

Tre Harbison really has to be the man now with Ross Bowers on the shelf. Bowers wasn’t doing a great job at directing the NIU offense, but he was a better option than Marcus Childers, who threw three interceptions against Eastern Michigan and almost ran for more yards than he threw for against the Eagles. Harbison couldn’t really get going against Eastern, which was able to shut down the pass and stymie the Huskie offense.

Western might have a harder time doing that. The Broncos’ strength is in moving the football, not stopping their opponents. Three of Western’s past four opponents scored at least 31 points, and the Broncos gave up 50 or more points to Michigan State and Syracuse, neither of whom will be confused with a top offense anytime soon. Even if the Huskies can’t get going, don’t expect a low number from their attack, strictly based on who they’re facing.

Betting Trends

The semi-annual trip to DeKalb has been a frustrating one for Western Michigan, which has lost five straight in Northern Illinois and has not won there since doing so in 2007. In the past two visits, the game has been close, with NIU pulling out a four-point win in 2017 and an eight-pointer in 2015. For the Broncos to cover here, they’ll have to pull themselves out of their funk on the road covering just once in their past seven games outside of Kalamazoo. For Northern Illinois, bouncing back has been the name of the game. When they failed to cover the previous week, they have made up for it by winning ATS the following week.

Both teams have been hitting the over fairly consistently, with NIU hitting it in its past six games and Western hitting in 12 of its previous 14 in November.

Weather Report

This won’t be a great night for football, as temperatures are projected at 44 degrees with rain in the forecast.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Desperation didn’t work for Northern Illinois last week, and I don’t think complete apathy will be any more effective. The reality for NIU is that the Huskies appear to be too beat up and unable to compete with a Western Michigan squad that can check off one of its primary goals with a win in this game. The Broncos are healthy and playing well, and if playing for itself didn’t do the job for NIU’s motivation, I doubt that the Huskies will be any more motivated to play for Central Michigan. Give me Western for the cover.