NCAAF Odds, Picks for Northern Illinois vs. Boston College

NCAAF Odds, Picks for Northern Illinois vs. Boston College article feature image

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Northern Illinois vs Boston College Odds

Saturday, Sept. 2
12 p.m. ET
ACC Network
Northern Illinois Odds
-110o / -110u
Boston College Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

We head to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts for an intriguing MAC-ACC clash between the Northern Illinois Huskies and Boston College Eagles. You may not think this game contains any juice, but whenever QB Rocky Lombardi is taking snaps under center, you're in for quite the afternoon full of chaos.

The Eagles will look to rebound after a miserable 2022 season, and they'll officially enter the post-Phil Jurkovec era.

There's an angle that I like here, so let's waste no further time in breaking down both of these squads.

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Northern Illinois Huskies

Northern Illinois is one of the strongest teams in all of FBS. Led by Lombardi, it went from an 0-6 record in 2020 to a MAC Championship in 2021.

Last season, they finished a disappointing 3-9 overall and 2-6 in MAC play.

I think this team has a lot of issues on both sides of the ball, so with that said, it's now officially a lock for a 10-2 season.

Let's start with some positives, as on the offensive side of the ball, the Huskies won't be lacking veteran presence. Between Lombardi and the returning group of offensive linemen, they'll be one of the best units in the entire MAC.

The offensive line dealt with a lot of injuries last season, but they didn't skip a beat when the backups filled in. Between pass protection and run blocking, the Huskies have the right pieces in place to have some success on offense.

I simply think Lombardi is overrated, but he's shown plenty of flashes of being a stable quarterback. The issue with him as of late has been his ability to stay on the field, so there's no guarantee how many starts he'll be able to make.

The other issue is that the Huskies lost two key running backs, and they'll be looking to rely on Antario Brown, alongside Iowa transfer Gavin Williams.

Digging into this matchup, I think the Huskies will be able to have some success on the offensive side of the ball, thanks to the factors I mentioned above. However, if Lombardi has one of his turnover-prone type of afternoons, I don't see how they're competitive in this matchup.

The reason I bring this up is because we have yet to dive into the defensive side of the ball. This defensive unit finished past the top 100 in the majority of defensive metrics, specifically against the pass. This is a group that allowed over 32 points per game.

I don't see how this gets any better, but they do have some returning production coming back in the trenches. The pass rush should be decent, and the Huskies did manage to force a decent amount of turnovers last season.

However, I don't think that'll be enough to improve the defense a significant amount, which will allow the Eagles to have plenty of offensive success in this matchup.

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Boston College Eagles

This Boston College team couldn't catch a break in the health department last season. Not only did it suffer key injuries at the skill positions, but the offensive line took a beating physically.

I realize the loss of Jurkovec is a big deal, but I think this is going to be a much better team than people think.

Although they suffered a plethora of injuries, the defense was the true strength of this team in 2022. This defensive line is absolutely vicious, led by Donovan Ezeiruaku.

They should continue to cause a ton of Havoc on standard downs, which was an area where they finished in the top 35 last season. They also don't allow a lot of big plays, which is a key in this matchup.

Despite the NIU depth in the offensive trenches, I still think the physicality of this Eagles unit will give Lombardi trouble all afternoon.

As for the offense, there are definitely some big questions heading into this matchup. First off, the Eagles will be turning to Rob Chudzinski and Steve Shimko in the play-calling department. This will be the Eagles' third set of offensive coordinators in the past three years. Hopefully, for BC fans, the third time is the charm.

Quarterback Emmett Morehead is getting a lot of buzz around camp, but he has big shoes to fill. Jurkovec struggled to stay healthy, but he truly was a terrific player for this program.

Luckily for Morehead, he has all of the tangibles to be successful in this offense. His big arm and poise will be under the microscope right away.

With their top two running backs returning and UCF transfer Ryan O'Keefe beefing up the receiving corps, as long as this offensive line can stay healthy, we should see a significant jump in offensive production. Morehead should have a field day against this NIU secondary.

I think the offense will come out on fire with a chip on its shoulder trying to make a statement out of the gate.

Northern Illinois vs Boston College

Betting Pick & Prediction

I was pretty stunned to see Boston College favored by 8.5 points here, but this made me love the Eagles even more in this spot.

Clearly the public has taken a side on this one, as majority of the bets are on the Huskies. However, I've already seen a large amount of sharp money come in on the Eagles.

Our Action Network team projects this game NIU -1, so clearly the market knows something that we don't. But I really think we see a fired up Eagles effort here, as they'll be able to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

I think Morehead has a big day through the air, and this Eagles defensive front will force a few Lombardi turnovers. It's gonna sting to swallow the points, but I'm sold on this under-the-radar Boston College team.

Pick: Boston College -8.5 (Play to -9.5)

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