The Central Michigan Chippewas head to Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Illinois, on Wednesday night to take on the Northern Illinois Huskies. The Mid-American Conference play continues with Week 2, as each team will play six games this term due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Chippewas started the season on the right foot and will look for their second straight victory over the Huskies. Last year, Central Michigan dismantled NIU 48-10 as a 1.5-point home dog, and the Chippewas are listed as favorites in this one, according to BetAmerica Sportsbook.
The Chippewas fully deserved their opening victory
Central Michigan barely outlasted the Ohio Bobcats 30-27 as a 3-point home dog in the opener. The Chippewas recorded their seventh win in the last ten outings mostly thanks to a terrific defensive effort in the second half.
After surrendering 20 points in the first, the Chippewas improved a lot in the second half and allowed zero points in the fourth quarter. They surrendered 345 total yards to the Bobcats while racking up 427 in a return.
The Chippewas ran for 184 yards, as junior RB Kobe Lewis led the way with 28 carries for 112 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Last year, Lewis averaged 5.9 yards per carry and had 12 touchdowns in 14 appearances.
Freshman QB Kurtis Rourke completed just 12 of his 19 passing attempts, but it was enough for 231 yards and two scores. Junior WR Isiah Cox put on a strong performance and delivered 102 yards and a TD on just four catches.
The Huskies were beaten hard by the Bulls
Northern Illinois is coming off a 49-30 defeat to the Buffalo Bulls. The Huskies racked up 40 total yards more than their rivals (397-357), but they turned the ball over a whopping five times while yielding 21 points in the third quarter.
The Bulls had a massive lead when the Huskies scored a couple of touchdowns in garbage time. Ross Bowers finished the game 17-from-28 for 202 yards, one score, and one interception, while Tyrice Richie had nine catches for 106 yards.
The Huskies carried the ball 47 times for 156 yards, and their offense spent 37 minutes on the field, but it wasn’t nearly enough against the Bulls. They made some costly mistakes, recording four fumbles lost, while the Huskies’ defense struggled on the ground, allowing 182 rushing yards to Buffalo.
- 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings with NIU
- 7-3 ATS in the last ten games overall
- 11-4-1 ATS in the last 16 games on the road
- 0-3 ATS in the last three home matchups with Central Michigan
- 3-7 ATS in the last ten home meetings with the MAC teams
The Winner Prediction
The Chippewas have dominated the NIU Huskies over the last six years. They are 5-1 straight up and 6-0 ATS in that span, and I expect this trend to continue.
The Huskies showed so many flaws in their game in the opener. Their run D will have a tall task to slow down Kobe Lewis, and I expect the visitors to use their ground game heavily.
The Chippewas have a freshman under center which could be a problem, but their receiving corps is well-rounded. Last season, the Chippewas were scoring 31.9 points per game (44th in the country), and it seems their offense is ready for another strong season.
Pick: Take Central Michigan and the points (-7.5) (-110).
The over is 7-1 in the Huskies’ previous eight outings, and it is 7-1 in their last eight matchups with the MAC opponents, too. I don’t trust the Huskies’ defense, while Chippewas’ offense promises a lot of points.
The total has gone over in eight of Central Michigan’s last ten contests. The Chippewas have scored 38 or more points in six of their previous ten showings, but their defense hasn’t been at a high level.
Pick: Go over 57.5 points (-110)