Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Pick – Cure Bowl December 17, 2021

The Northern Illinois Huskies and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers meet on the first day of bowl season in the Cure Bowl at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.

This is the second game, with Toledo and Middle Tennessee State opening the bowls on Friday afternoon, and then Northern Illinois and Coastal Carolina in the evening.

I have no interest in the early matchup, so I’m going to take a pass and head to Florida for the Cure Bowl. The Cure Bowl isn’t a matchup to go heavy on, but it’s a better matchup than the Bahamas Bowl.

Northern Illinois looks to wrap up their season with a MAC Championship and bowl win against a capable opponent. Beating Coastal Carolina would be a great win for their final resume in 2021.

The Huskies finished with a record of 9-4, while Coastal Carolina are going into Friday night at 10-2. They’re perfect besides a 30-27 loss on the road against the Appalachian State Mountaineers on October 20, and Georgia State on November 13, 42-40.

I was on Appalachian State and saw everything setting up perfectly for them in that one. However, the Georgia State loss was a surprise, as the usually reliable Chanticleers’ defense was a no show.

Coastal Carolina was a Group of Five buster last season with a record of 11-1. They were perfect going into the Cure Bowl against the Liberty Flames.

The Sun Belt Championship was cancelled because of Covid, so they didn’t have a chance to add one more win to their resume. That said, Coastal Carolina expected something better than the Cure Bowl after a 11-0 season.

This invite to the Cure Bowl was easier to see coming after going 10-2. They can’t be thrilled about another trip to Orlando, though at least there’s no letdown potential. Head below for our free Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina Cure Bowl pick on December 17, 2021.

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Cure Bowl Betting Odds and Team Statistics:

The following odds are courtesy of BetUS:

Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Northern Illinois Huskies +10.5 (-110) +320 Over 63.5 (-110)
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers -10.5 (-110) -400 Under 63.5 (-110)
Team Data Northern Illinois Huskies Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Overall Record 9-4 10-2
ATS Record 8-4-1 6-6-0
Away/Home Record 4-2 6-1
ATS Away/Home 4-2-0 4-3-0
Points Per Game 31.5 40.4
Points Against Per Game 32.7 20.0
Passing Yards Per Game 187.8 261.8
Rushing Yards Per Game 234.3 230.4

Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina Prediction:

Northern Illinois and Coastal Carolina have the same idea on offense. They both like to run the ball and wear their opponent out. The difference in this one is that Coastal Carolina has Grayson McCall and Northern Illinois doesn’t.

McCall is good enough that he doesn’t necessarily need to lean on the backfield. If McCall was in an air raid offense, I’m confident he’d still have success. He’s passed for 2,558 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions on 73% completions.

He’s also run for 250 yards and 4 touchdowns on 3 yards per carry. The strong running game is a luxury for Coastal Carolina. They are sixth in the nation with 230.4 yards per game on the ground. Shemari Jones is in for a big game versus the Northern Illinois defense.

Jones has gained 988 yards and 13 touchdowns on a whopping 6.5 yards per carry. The senior is coming off a 211-yard effort against South Alabama. McCall and Jones should combine to do damage. Unfortunately for the Huskies, their defense doesn’t hold up against the run.

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Betting Trends:

Northern Illinois

  • 0-6 ATS in their previous six games as an underdog
  • 0-6 ATS in their previous six bowl games
  • 3-9-1 ATS in their previous 13 games at a neutral site
  • 3-14 ATS in their previous 17 games in December
  • 2-5 ATS in their previous seven games after scoring more than 40 points

Coastal Carolina

  • 11-4 ATS in their previous 15 games versus non-conference
  • 7-3 ATS in their previous ten games versus a team with a winning record
  • 17-3 overall in their previous 20 games
  • 1-5 ATS in their previous six games
  • UNDER is 5-2 in their previous seven games

Northern Illinois is 120th in the FBS against the run. There aren’t too many teams in the country that have struggled against the run like the Huskies, and this is through a MAC schedule. Northern Illinois had the 92nd toughest schedule in the country, while the Chanticleers had the 51st strength of schedule.

Rocky Lombardi needs a big game for Northern Illinois, but can’t see him keeping pace with McCall. Lombardi passed for 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions on 58.1% completions. He’s more of a runner with 406 yards and 8 touchdowns on 4.7 yards a carry.

Coastal Carolina holds a sizable advantage on defense. They are 18th in the FBS with 326.5 yards allowed per game, with 190.9 passing yards allowed and 135.6 rushing yards per game.

The Chanticleers finished the regular season with 20 points allowed per game for 19th in the FBS. The Huskies gave up 32.7 points allowed per game to finish 107th in the nation. Again, Northern Illinois wasn’t exposed to the best offenses in the MAC.

McCall is returning to college next year, but it may not be with Coastal Carolina. There’s the potential that he transfers elsewhere for his final season. If this is going to be his final game at Coastal Carolina, expect him to put on a show for a finale.

After winning the MAC, I’m not so sure Northern Illinois is going to have much motivation for the Cure Bowl. It’s hard to see them getting up against a physical Coastal Carolina squad. The Chanticleers won’t completely run away with this, but a 42-24 win looks good.


Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina Pick
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of TheSportsGeek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at TheSportsGeek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, NHL, and horse racing. Prior to writing for TheSportsGeek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily only at TheSportsGeek.

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