NIU Huskies (0-2) vs. Ball State Cardinals (1-1)
The Mid-American Conference season goes on Wednesday, November 18, with the NIU Huskies versus Ball State Cardinals showdown at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Indiana.
These two schools play each other once a year, and the Huskies have dominated the Cardinals lately. Still, Ball State is a firm home fave in this one, according to BetAmerica, so I’ve prepared all the key betting tips and trends for Wednesday clash along with my best betting pick.
The Huskies are struggling mightily, especially on the defensive end
Northern Illinois opened the new season with a couple of games at home, but that didn’t help the Huskies to start on the right foot. After a 49-30 defeat to the Buffalo Bulls in the opener, the Huskies were dismantled by Central Michigan 40-10 this past Wednesday.
They went scoreless through the first three quarters, allowing 26 points in a return. The Huskies racked up just 244 total yards and surrendered 433 to the Chippewas, while Ross Bowers completed only 16 of his 32 passing attempts for 139 yards and no scores.
Furthermore, the Huskies posted 74 rushing yards on 33 carries, and their run D was helpless on the other side, allowing a whopping 237 yards on the ground to Central Michigan.
The Cardinals are looking for their second straight win
As well as their next rivals, the Ball State Cardinals started the season with a loss. They were beaten by Miami (OH) 38-31 as 1-point road favorites, but the Cardinals managed to bounce back last week, outlasting the Eastern Michigan Eagles 38-31 as 8.5-point home favorites.
Caleb Huntley led the way against the Eagles. Senior RB had 34 carries for 204 yards and three touchdowns. Back in the opening clash against the RedHawks, Huntley ran for 130 yards and a couple of touchdowns, so he’ll be the main threat to the Huskies’ defense.
The Cardinals racked up 536 total yards against Eastern Michigan while surrendering 477 in a return. Their fragile defense is a big issue this season, but the Cardinals didn’t impress defensively in 2019 either, so their struggle might continue in future days.
- 3-6 ATS in the last nine games played in November
- 2-4 ATS in the last six contests overall
The Winner Prediction
The Huskies have won 10 of their previous 11 encounters with the Cardinals and are 7-1 ATS in their last eight matchups with Ball State. However, the Cardinals beat the Huskies last season, 27-20, as 4-point road underdogs.
Ball State is only 1-4 ATS in its previous five outings overall and 3-7 ATS in its last ten showings at home. Still, I think they are a better team than NIU at the moment, so this is a great opportunity for the Cardinals to cover the spread.
The hosts’ ground game with Caleb Huntley onwards should be a key factor. The Huskies have struggled to defend the opponents’ running backs, and I’m looking for more of the same, as Huntley has been spectacular thus far.
Pick: Take Ball State and the points (-14.0) (-110).
The Cardinals’ last six games went in the over, as well as eight of their previous nine home contests. Ball State’s offense is potent and will dominate the Huskies’ defense on the ground, but with all their problems on the defensive end, I expect to see a proper high-scoring affair at Scheumann Stadium this Wednesday.
On the other side, the over is 7-2 in the Huskies’ last nine tilts overall, 6-2 in their previous eight outings away from home, and 7-2 in NIU’s last nine matchups with the MAC.
Pick: Go over 61.5 points (-110)