Ohio vs. NIU Odds, Picks | NCAAF & MAC Betting Preview

Ohio vs. NIU Odds, Picks | NCAAF & MAC Betting Preview article feature image

Steven Branscombe/Getty Images. Pictured: NIU quarterback Rocky Lombardi.

Ohio vs. Northern Illinois Odds

Saturday, Oct. 14
4 p.m. ET
Ohio Odds
-110o / -110u
Northern Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

It's almost time for college football Week 7, and I've somehow yet to write about Rocky Lombardi. Fret not, because that is coming to an end.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Lombardi has been one of my favorite quarterbacks to watch over the past… many seasons he's been playing college football, though I've never won a wager on him that I've written up.

Well, this may be my last chance to write an article for a Lombardi-quarterbacked team, so let's cash this ticket.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news and analysis.

Ohio Bobcats

It's getting to the point where we need to start attaching the "elite" tag to Ohio's defense.

The Bobcats rank second in Points per Opportunity Allowed, seventh in Havoc Allowed and 12th in Success Rate Allowed. That's pretty damn impressive, especially considering that they had almost no continuity on that side of the ball, as the Bobcats ranked in the bottom 10 in Defensive TARP.

What has made this defense so successful? Well, it consistently forces teams into uncomfortable situations. The Bobcats rank fourth in passing downs and put teams in these situations roughly 40% of the time.

They're also elite against the run and rank 12th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and seventh in Rushing PPA Allowed.

No one wants to run the ball against them. In fact, opponents rush just 41% of the time (seventh-least in the nation) against Ohio.

The Bobcats also rank seventh in Defensive Havoc, 20th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 14th in passing explosiveness allowed.

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Northern Illinois Huskies

So, Lombardi may have a rough game.

This offense hasn't been lighting it up this season, and that's being kind. The Huskies rank 79th in Success Rate, 94th in explosiveness and 120th in Points per Opportunity.

That being said, this isn't a spot where I expect them to take a step forward.

Ohio is stellar at stopping the run, but Northern Illinois' offense is certainly stronger on the ground than through the air. Unfortunately, the Huskies are merely average and hover in the 60s in total Rushing PPA and Rushing Success Rate. I don't see that being enough on Saturday.

Look for Ohio to tee off on the Huskies in third-and-long situations. The Huskies rank 82nd in Havoc Allowed, and I expect the Bobcats to be hunting Lombardi early and often.

Ohio vs Northern Illinois

Betting Pick & Prediction

As I mentioned, Lombardi has been my kryptonite in these writeups for as long as I've been at Action Network. However, this will finally be the time I get the best of him.

Ohio's strong defense against the run should give it a significant advantage over Northern Illinois, and I don't think the Huskies will be able to get much going in this MAC showdown.

Pick: Northern Illinois Team Total Under 19.5

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