Eastern Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Betting Odds, Picks: Will EMU Find Success Through the Air?

Eastern Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Betting Odds, Picks: Will EMU Find Success Through the Air? article feature image
Credit:

Christopher Hanewinckel, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tre Harbison

Two teams out of the MAC West race but still fighting for bowl eligibility meet Tuesday night in DeKalb, Ill.

NIU (4-6) needs two wins to reach the postseason, and will face the best team in the MAC next week in Western Michigan. EMU just needs one win, either Tuesday night or next week against Kent State.

Eastern Michigan vs. NIU Odds

  • Spread: Northern Illinois -5
  • Over/Under: 54
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

Collin Wilson: Fade the EMU Steam?

Circa Sports opened this number at Northern Illinois -7 and it slowly crashed behind some early money on Eastern Michigan.

The Eagles have an advantage with Mike Glass III in the passing game, as Eastern Michigan ranks 22nd in passing success rate. Four different EMU receivers have at least 30 catches and Glass has not thrown an interception in his last three games.

The Huskies, who field a defense that ranks 124th in preventing explosive rushes and 111th in sack rate, have had issues with air attacks in losses to Miami of Ohio and Central Michigan.

emu vs. niu-odds-picks-betting-november 19-2019

The Over/Under is steaming over our projected total of 50.5, but with both teams struggling to limit explosiveness, there could be a few quick scores.

As for the side, our projected spread is Northern Illinois -3.5, so there’s some value on the Eagles through a field goal.

I will be looking to back Eastern Michigan, either pregame or live.

Kyle Miller: Is EMU’s Edge in the Air Going To Be the Difference?

It’s been a roller coaster of a season for Chris Creighton and Eastern Michigan. A win over Illinois in Champaign was followed up with a miracle, last-second win against FCS Central Connecticut and back-to-back losses to open conference play. A win over MAC West leader Western Michigan had me thinking the Eagles were back on track, but they went on to drop their next two.

After last week’s win against Akron, this squad finds themselves one win away from bowl eligibility with two games to go. They’ll have a toss-up game at home against Kent State but this week the Eagles travel back to the state of Illinois to face Northern.

Northern Illinois has bowl motivation of their own, but they have a much tougher path. They’ll need to beat Eastern Michigan this week and then take down Western Michigan as a significant home underdog next week.

With motivations outlined for each team, it’s time to dig into the advanced statistics. Only one of the four units in this game rank better than 96th according to SP+: Eastern Michigan’s offense. They use a pass-heavy offense that ranks 22nd in passing success rate on the year. Glass has been up and down for much of the season, just like his team. I expect to get one of his best performances this week as the senior tries to get to a bowl game one last time.

Northern Illinois’ defense has gotten great play from their linemen but the same can’t be said about their secondary. The Huskies rank 41st in rushing success rate defense but just 90th in passing success rate. Eastern will be able to complete passes all the way down the field against this defense.

Eastern’s defense and Northern Illinois’ offense is a bad-on-bad situation. Northern Illinois has a little bit of explosiveness, but not a shred of efficiency. If they aren’t hitting long plays, then they aren’t moving the ball much at all. Eastern Michigan’s defense is bad, but they do rank 43rd in defending explosive plays.

I’m betting that Eastern Michigan gets bowl eligible on Tuesday night in chilly Dekalb, Ill., so I’ll take the +5.

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