Miami Ohio-Northern Illinois Betting Preview: What Do Huskies Have to Play For?

Miami Ohio-Northern Illinois Betting Preview: What Do Huskies Have to Play For? article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Marcus Childers and Gus Ragland

Miami Ohio at Northern Illinois Betting Odds

  • Odds: NIU -7
  • Over/Under: 48.5
  • Time: 8 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 10:45 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets

Miami Ohio is 4-6 and needs wins over NIU and Ball State to reach bowl eligibility, while Northern Illinois has locked up the MAC West for the first time in three years after six straight titles.

NIU went 1-3 against an intentionally brutal non-conference schedule, which set the Huskies up to thrive in MAC play. They have the league’s best defense, but the offense has struggled for most of the year and special teams is still a mess. Miami Ohio is more balanced, ranking top 75 in S&P+ in all three phases of the game, but no higher than 40th in any.

Market Report for Miami Ohio-NIU

By Steve Petrella

Northern Illinois is attracting most of the action in this game, with 67% of bets and 65% of money wagered (get updated numbers on our live odds page).

The line dropped from NIU -7 to -6.5 for some time before bumping back up to -7 on Wednesday morning.

As for the total, 81% of bets are on the over, but just 57% of dollars wagered are on that side.

What Does NIU Have to Play For?

By Collin Wilson

In Gus Ragland we trust, as Miami of Ohio looks to keep its bowl hopes alive. With Western Michigan’s overtime loss to Ball State on Tuesday night, Northern Illinois has officially wrapped up the MAC East. The Huskies have nothing to play for against Miami of Ohio, with a MAC Championship Game looming against Buffalo or Ohio.

Northern Illinois plays excellent defense, ranking 13th in S&P+. The issue with the Huskies is scoring points, as they rank 128th in overall explosiveness and 111th in finishing drives.

The offense has improved over the past two weeks, scoring 74 points total against Akron and Toledo. With an adjusted pace of 13th, Northern Illinois may set the tempo to call for points that should eclipse the total.

Back Miami of Ohio and the over in a game where the Huskies have little to play for.

Collin’s Pick: Miami Ohio +6.5, Over 47

Will Miami’s Close-Game Luck Improve?

By Steve Petrella

After starting 0-3 against the spread, Miami Ohio has covered six of its past seven games. The RedHawks are still losing some close games — Chuck Martin is 6-20 straight-up in one-possession games as Miami’s coach and 1-3 this year — but they finally got off the schnide last week in a 30-28 win over rival Ohio.

Fortunately, the RedHawks are a touchdown underdog, so they don’t have to win. They just need to cover.

Trends to Know

By Evan Abrams

— Rod Carey has been the head coach at Northern Illinois since the 2013 season. Carey has led the Huskies to four bowl appearances (the school has 12 in its history) and multiple 10-win seasons.

One thing Carey has not been able to do is cover the spread in Dekalb. In 31 home games, he is 12-18-1 ATS (-6.7 units), and 26-11-1 ATS (+13.7 units) on the road.

— Road underdogs of 14 or fewer points, like Miami Ohio, in a low-total game (48 or fewer points) have gone 568-456-21 (55.5%) ATS since 2005, per our Bet Labs data.

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