Can Northern Illinois put the exclamation mark on its 10-win season with a victory over Fresno State in the Humanitarian Bowl? TheÂ betting decision will come down to whether or not you think Fresno state can stop the Huskiesâ€™ prolific ground attack.
Northern Illinois Huskies (10-3) vs Fresno State Bulldogs (8-4)
Saturday, December 18, 5:30 p.m. ET
Bodog.com favorite: Northern Illinois -3
Northern Illinois was a force against the spread this season. It went 9-3-1 ATS for the year and went 9-1-1 ATS over its final 11 games. It sometimes struggles to cover against tougher competition, however; the Huskies are 2-9 ATS over their last 11 against teams with winning records. Thanks to their solid offense, the OVER was 8-5 over Northern Illinoisâ€™ 13 games this season.
Fresno State wasnâ€™t as strong from aÂ sports betting perspective, going 5-6-1 ATS on the year. However, it enters the Humanitarian Bowl 4-0 ATS in its last four bowl games as an underdog. The Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS over their last seven non-conference affairs. However, though Fresno State closed its season with two straight victories, its offense sputtered; the Bulldogs are 1-7-1 ATS over their last nine games when failing to reach 100 rushing yards the previous game. The total trends toward the OVER for Fresno State as well; itâ€™s 4-1 over the Bulldogsâ€™ last five bowl games.
On paper, Northern Illinois looks superior across the board. Offensively, the Huskies are 21st in the country with 447.8 total yards per game. They field the leagueâ€™s No. 7 rushing attack, averaging 266.7 yards per game. Their star runner, Chad Spann, leads the team with 1,293 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Itâ€™s no wonder the Huskies are 13th in the country with 37.8 points per game. Quarterback Chandler Harnish was efficient this year, throwing 20 touchdown passes versus five picks, but this is a run-first team; Northern Illinois ranks 89th in the nation with 181.2 passing yards per contest.
Defensively, the Huskies are no slouches, ranking 28th overall (328.2 YPG), 35th against the pass (202.1 YPG), 29th against the run (126.2 YPG) and 16th in points allowed (19.1).
Fresno Stateâ€™s numbers donâ€™t look as impressive toÂ NCAA football betting players but the Bulldogs arguably had a much tougher schedule this season, having faced offensive powerhouses like Boise State, Nevada and Hawaii. Their defense still clocks in at 41st with 342.7 yards allowed per game. Theyâ€™re stronger against the pass (201.2) than the run (141.5). Fresno State struggled to keep opponents off the board this year, allowing 29.2 points per game and surrendering 49 or more points three times.
Fresno Stateâ€™s underwhelming offense is 69th in the country (375 YPG), including 67th in passing (214.3) and 51st in rushing (160.7). The Bulldogsâ€™ go-to offensive weapon is Robbie Rouse, who ran for 1,097 yards and eight scores this year.