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Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Eagles Win Big?

Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Eagles Win Big? article feature image
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Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Reese (Eastern Michigan)

  • Northern Illinois faces Eastern Michigan in a Saturday MAC matchup in Week 7.
  • The Eagles are clearly the better team, according to Mike Ianniello, and that's where he sees betting value.
  • Check out Ianniello's full betting guide for this MAC matchup below.

Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan Odds

Saturday, Oct. 15
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Northern Illinois Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3
-105
65.5
-110o / -110u
+120
Eastern Michigan Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3
-115
65.5
-110o / -110u
-144
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The defending Mid-American Conference champion Northern Illinois Huskies have not been able to defend their title the way they had hoped.

After starting the year with a win over FCS Eastern Illinois, the Huskies have now dropped five straight games, including a pair of conference matchups.

For Eastern Michigan, it’s still in search of its first appearance in the MAC title game and first conference championship since 1987. The Eagles are off to a 4-2 start with one of the losses coming without their starting quarterback.

After losing 12 straight meetings with the Huskies, Eastern Michigan has now won two of the last three. Can Northern Illinois stop the bleeding here, or will the negative regression from last year continue to crush it?


Northern Illinois Huskies

While negative regression is certainly part of it, the Huskies have also been without veteran quarterback Rocky Lombardi for the last three games.

Redshirt freshman Ethan Hampton has taken over and has seven touchdowns to six interceptions in the last four games.

MAC Freshman of the Year Jay Ducker left for Memphis, but the Huskies are still running the ball well with Harrison Waylee and Antario Brown. Waylee is fifth in the conference in yards after contact on the season, working hard to pick up yards behind an offensive line that sits 78th in Line Yards.

Last season, the Huskies were able to win nine games while overcoming one of the worst defenses in the entire country. The defense ranked 124th in Success Rate, right below UMass, which managed just one win.

Once again, this team is scraping the bottom of the barrel defensively. The Huskies rank in the bottom 15 in the country in Defensive Success Rate, Explosiveness, Finishing Drives and creating Havoc.

This unit has especially been torched against the pass. It has allowed 22 touchdown passes on the year, the most of any team in the country.

Northern Illinois has given up at least three scores through the air in every game while facing the passing attacks of Eastern Illinois, Tulsa, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Ball State and Toledo.


Eastern Michigan Eagles

It is clear that this Eastern Michigan offense is totally different when Taylor Powell is under center. In the four games that Powell started, the Eagles averaged 406.8 total yards. They averaged 333 in the two games with Powell not starting, one being a loss to Buffalo.

After rolling out one of the worst rushing attacks in the conference over the last couple years, they finally have things going on the ground with Samson Evans. He leads the MAC with 105 yards per game and six touchdowns.

The Eagles now rank seventh in the country in Rushing Success Rate.

The Eastern Michigan defense is not very good either. The unit is better than the Huskies’, but not by much.

The Eagles have struggled defending Success Rate, but the one good thing they’ve done is prevent Explosiveness. They actually rank seventh in the country in that area.

Despite their struggles early, they have tightened up over the last two weeks. While not the most impressive offenses, they did hold UMass and Western Michigan each to under 300 total yards.

The Eagles also have a certified game wrecker up front in edge rusher Jose Ramirez. He is second in the entire country with 21 quarterback hurries. He leads the MAC with five sacks and ranks second with 8.5 tackles for loss.

EMU’s Jose Ramirez, get some!! 😤 pic.twitter.com/RbMt9r1Qss

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) October 8, 2022

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Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan match up statistically:

Northern Illinois Offense vs. Eastern Michigan Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 44 96
Line Yards 78 113
Pass Success 37 96
Pass Blocking** 27 87
Havoc 24 115
Finishing Drives 22 129
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Eastern Michigan Offense vs. Northern Illinois Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 49 79
Line Yards 13 74
Pass Success 44 128
Pass Blocking** 64 92
Havoc 101 121
Finishing Drives 18 131
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 98 17
PFF Coverage 121 85
SP+ Special Teams 116 44
Seconds per Play 27.4 (88) 26.1 (60)
Rush Rate 56.0% (48) 55.7% (55)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan Betting Pick

I think it is unlikely that we see Lombardi return for this game, and it is clear that the Huskies are just not the same team under Hampton.

With Powell healthy, the Eastern Michigan passing attack should be able to move the ball all over this Northern Illinois defense that has just been torched all season.

When the Eagles do get into scoring position, they are 18th in the country at Finishing Drives. Meanwhile, Northern Illinois has been the worst in the nation at preventing points per opportunity.

NIU has allowed the most passing touchdowns in the country by far, and the Eagles should be able to put up points on the Huskies every time they cross the 40.

While the Eastern Michigan defense has struggled as well, it does at least rank 17th in the nation in tackling and should be able to keep the Huskies’ offense — that has been forced to rely on the run — in front of it.

Anybody who bet on Northern Illinois at all last season knows it was the benefactor of a ton of good fortune and found crazy ways to win games despite being outplayed.

Well, the negative regression has come in the luck department, and now without its veteran quarterback, it is finally getting exposed.

The Eagles are the better team this season, and I like them to get the win at home by at least a field goal.

Pick: Eastern Michigan -2.5

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