Northern Illinois Fresno State Spread Line and Bowl Predictions

The Northern Illinois Huskies take on the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Humanitarian Bowl. NIU enters with a 10-3 straight up, 9-3 against the spread. Fresno State is 8-4 straight up. Northern Illinois is spectacular running the ball, getting 6.2 yards per rush versus teams that normally allow just 4.6. They are solid in the air as well as they average 7.8 passing yards per attempt to defenses that usually surrender just 7.4. Overall, they get a full yard more per play than their opponent normally allows. NIU allows four yards per carry to offenses getting an average of 3.8. They allow 6.4 yards per pass to squads that normally accumulate 6.5 and 5.2 yards per play to 5.1. Fresno State averages just 4.1 yards per rush to defenses that allow 4.5, but 7.9 yards per pass to 7.5. Either way, the game represents a good mix of teams that are completely different.

The Northern Illinois Huskies come into the game with a bit of the unknown. Head coach Jerry Kill has just taken the job at the University of Minnesota. Interim coach Tom Matukewicz will take over for NIU during their bowl game. The Huskies are 13th in the nation in scoring offense at 37.9 points per game. Before their loss to Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship, NIU had ripped off nine wins consecutively. Their biggest question won’t be about personnel or x’s and o’s. It will be whether a team who had won nine in a row and lost, while seeing their coach depart for greener pastures, will be up for a second-tier bowl game.

Fresno State, unlike NIU, comes into the game with a nice bit of confidence. The Bulldogs beat Illinois in Fresno 25-23 to close out their regular season. It was a far cry from three weeks earlier when they lost 51-0 to conference rivals Boise State. This Fresno team has rebounded nicely since then with a win over Idaho, on top of their Illini triumph, as they head into the Humanitarian Bowl at 8-4. The biggest question for Boise State will be how their defense, which ranks 79th nationally in points per game, stacks up against a Northern Illinois team that has had little trouble putting up points this year.

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Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State Spread, Line and Betting Odds:


Northern Illinois -1.5
Vs. Fresno State +1.5

Game Total:

Over (-110)
Under (-110)

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Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State Prediction for Humanitarian Bowl:

Spread Prediction (Top Play) – If college football has shown us anything, it is that confidence can play a big part in a games outcome. With that said, Fresno looked decently above-average in their triumph over Illinois a few weeks ago while Northern Illinois will be smarting from not only their loss to Miami (OH) in the MAC Championship, but the loss of coach Jerry Kill to Minnesota. While there is no doubting how good NIU is—on paper, at least— we think the Fresno confidence level will play a big part.

Spread Prediction (Top Play) = Fresno State +1.5

Game Total Prediction – This terrific bowl battle showcases a pair of very, very different styles. A Fresno State team that had a lot of balance on offense and a defense that was suspect against both the run and the pass. You have a Northern Illinois team that’s offense was terrific running the ball. NIU should move the ball well but Fresno will have their opportunities as well. With the Over 7-3 in Fresno State’s last 10 non-conference games, we think both teams will be able to score a touch here.

Top Play Prediction = Over 57.5

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