Coastal Carolina vs. Northern Illinois Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top Bet for Friday Night’s Cure Bowl (Dec. 17)

Coastal Carolina vs. Northern Illinois Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top Bet for Friday Night’s Cure Bowl (Dec. 17) article feature image

Steven King and Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured from left: Northern Illinois Huskies wide receiver Trayvon Rudolph (85) and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers safety Enock Makonzo (43).

Coastal Carolina vs. Northern Illinois Odds

Friday, Dec. 17
6 p.m. ET
Coastal Carolina Odds
-115o / -105u
Northern Illinois Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Cure Bowl
Friday, Dec. 17 · Orlando, FL

The seventh edition of the Cure Bowl features MAC champion Northern Illinois against Sun Belt powerhouse Coastal Carolina at Exploria Stadium in downtown Orlando.

Head coaches on each side are searching for their first bowl victory, and for the Chanticleers, a chance to avenge their 2020 overtime loss.

Huskies head coach Thomas Hammock reached a lot of new goals after finishing 2020, his first season at the helm of NIU, winless.

All of the Huskies' losses came against bowl-eligible programs, but a closer look at the teams' wins suggests regression may be coming. In seven conference wins, Northern Illinois recorded a total winning margin of just 25 points.

The Huskies will have one of the biggest second-order win total numbers in the offseason but will first try to cap off a magical MAC Championship season with a Cure Bowl victory over one of the best Group of Five teams in the country.

All eyes are on Coastal Carolina's Grayson McCall, one of the best quarterbacks in college football, who could hit the transfer portal after the season. The latest comments show his commitment to playing in the Cure Bowl but indicate his future may be outside of Coastal Carolina in 2022.

With McCall's efforts to win this game for the seniors and the staff, Northern Illinois and the college football consumers have the opportunity to watch one of the elite quarterbacks in the sport.

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

McCall busted out on the scene as a freshman during the pandemic season of 2020.

Leading a complicated RPO scheme with 21 and 12 personnel has generated a top overall offensive rank in big play percentage, the number of 12-plus yard runs and 20-plus yard catches by number of attempts.

With wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh as the leader in targets, McCall has posted a 23:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Perfectly executed RPO by Grayson McCall to Jaivon Heiligh

— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) September 18, 2021

At running back, Shermari Jones has kept the Chanticleers in standard downs with an explosive drive percentage more than double the national average.

When Coastal Carolina is in scoring opportunities, rarely has the offense come away without a touchdown. Of the 41 scores by the Chants this season, only three have been field goals.

The defense rotates between three- and four-man fronts with success in limiting explosive plays with a top-25 rank in tackling.

Coastal defenders are 50th in Rushing Success Rate and a lower 72nd in Stuff Rate, suggesting any decent ground attack will have success against the Chanticleers.

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Northern Illinois Huskies

Hammock is a former running backs coach and puts that on full display through the Huskies offense. Northern Illinois runs the ball on 64% of snaps with an even distribution of 11 and 12 formations.

This heavy-rush offense is top-10 in Rushing Success Rate and finds plenty of success in standard downs.

Jay Ducker has been the workhorse running back, accumulating over 1,000 yards and create 44 missed tackles. While Ducker is smooth in space, Clint Ratkovich has been the bruising red-zone force with an extra dose of explosiveness.

How about a 96-yard touchdown run by Northern Illinois' Clint Ratkovich, who the broadcast is calling a FB!

— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) November 24, 2021

The issues for the Huskies offense begin in passing downs, with a complete drop in Success Rate and efficiency from quarterback Rocky Lombardi. The junior has committed eight of his 11 turnover-worthy plays from a clean pocket.

Also on the struggle bus is the Northern Illinois defense, as nearly every single statistic sits outside the top 100 of all FBS teams. Specifically, the Huskies are 122nd in Standard Downs Success Rate.

Defensive coordinator Derrick Jackson has the inevitable task of getting his multiple 4-2-5 looks to give pause to the Chanticleers. Coastal Carolina is one of the best offenses in standard downs with a top-15 rank in Success Rate and explosiveness.

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Coastal Carolina vs. Northern Illinois Matchup Analysis

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

Northern Illinois Offense vs. Coastal Carolina Defense
Rush Success850
Line Yards1944
Pass Success5535
Pass Blocking**6911
Big Play7610
Finishing Drives5474
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Coastal Carolina Offense vs. Northern Illinois Defense
Rush Success12126
Line Yards6128
Pass Success1799
Pass Blocking**42112
Big Play1116
Finishing Drives6104
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling5822
Middle 81093
SP+ Special Teams8494
Plays per Minute102123
Rush Rate64.8% (7)62.4% (15)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Coastal Carolina vs. Northern Illinois Betting Pick

McCall will be the hottest free agent on the market known as the transfer portal.

Coastal Carolina's top-10 mark in Standard Downs Success Rate contrasts the Northern Illinois' bottom-10 rank in the same category on defense.

With the top red-zone touchdown scoring rate in the nation, the Chants have generated 4.4 points for every possession that crosses the 40-yard line.

Both offenses move at the slowest tempo numbers in college football, but to counter Coastal's explosiveness, the Northern Illinois offense must put together efficient drives.

The Huskies have been above average in methodical drives all season, posting two-plus first down drives at a rate 7% higher than the national average. This comes from averaging 5.3 yards on rushing attempts and six yards in standard downs. The biggest area of struggle for Coastal is defending the run, leaving the current market number wide open for a Northern Illinois backdoor cover.

The Action Network projects this game at Coastal Carolina -14 with McCall under center, giving value to the current market number. The posted total has bounced in the low 60s, but the best bet is on the Chanticleers offense.

Northern Illinois has no defensive presence in stopping the rush, generating pressure on the passer or stopping the explosive play. Considering Coastal Carolina's touchdown scoring percentage in the red zone, a Chanticleers team total over is the safest way to avoid a Huskies offense that has fourth-quarter backdoor potential.

Pick: Coastal Carolina Team Total Over 37

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