UAB vs. Northern Illinois Pick – Boca Raton Bowl

-2.5SPREAD
-110ODDS

OUR PICK

UAB

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<p>There are some teams who treat bowl games as an exhibition. Actually, most teams treat bowl games as exhibitions, especially with how many there are being played these days. Then there are other schools who get excited about going bowling. Usually that’s schools that don’t have much of a history playing in the postseason. </p>
<p>For a program that folded up and had a 2-year hiatus, and has never won a bowl game, this is going to be an event for them. The Blazers played in just their second bowl in school history last season. They took on Ohio and got blasted by a score of 41-6. Going to the game was an accomplishment in itself, though. In their other bowl appearance, they lost to Hawaii at the Hawaii Bowl in 2004. </p>
<p>After going to the Bahamas Bowl last season and a 10-3 record in 2018, the Blazers expect to win their first ever bowl in school history. Last season was more of a celebration going to the Bahamas. Now it should be business going to the Boca Raton Bowl. The bowl committee at least should be happy to have a team playing in their game that wants to be there. </p>
<p>UAB will face a formidable opponent Tuesday evening. The Northern Illinois Huskies are coming off an upset win over the Buffalo Bulls in the MAC Championship. Northern Illinois’ backers were in the vast minority, as the sportsbooks trapped a lot of money on Buffalo. </p>
<p>The Huskies leaned on their defense like they’ve done all season long. Quarterback Marcus Childers also had the game of his life, with 4 touchdown passes and 1 interception on 300 yards against Buffalo. It was his best game passing the football and it came at exactly the right time. Childers is not a prolific passer, but he did what he had to do in the biggest game of his career. He is more of a runner, so when both are working, the Huskies can be dangerous. Head below for our free UAB vs. Northern Illinois pick in the Boca Raton Bowl. </p>
<h2 class=UAB Blazers vs. Northern Illinois Huskies Boca Raton Bowl Betting Odds:

Spread:

  • UAB -2.5(-110)
  • Northern Illinois +2.5(-110)

Total:

  • Over 43.5(-107)
  • Under 43.5(-113)

UAB vs. Northern Illinois Pick:

Childers has passed for 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 57.6% completions. He’s also rushed for 496 yards and 6 touchdowns, which is why he is the starting quarterback at Northern Illinois. That was the first multi-touchdown game for Childers through the air since September 22nd against Florida State.

They lost that contest by a score of 37-19 and ultimately finished 8-5. The Huskies are 123rd with 325 yards recorded per game. Akron and Central Michigan were the only teams in the MAC who averaged less than Northern Illinois. However, their defense led the conference with 348 yards allowed per game. The Huskies have surrendered an average of 21.5 points per game. Northern Illinois leads the nation with 50 sacks.

UAB are similar to Northern Illinois defensively. These teams both want to do the same thing. Control the ball and allow the defense to win the ball game. Nothing is overly complicated, but UAB is capable of punching an offense in the mouth and knocking them out. One of their losses was against Texas A&M on the road and they did a terrific job holding Kellen Mond to just 192 yards. They lost 41-20, but were outgained by only 27 yards.

The Blazers are 11th in the nation with just 311 yards allowed per game. They’re allowing less than 20 points per game at 17.3. UAB have been able to get after the QB as well, notching 43 sacks for 3rd nationally in the FBS. They have been fantastic on 3rd down, holding teams to just a 25 percent conversion rate.

Don’t expect Childers to be able to pass the ball on this defense. They have allowed only 181.9 yards per game through the air and this was against much better passing offenses than Northern Illinois. UAB will try and hit the Huskies hard on the ground behind Spencer Brown who has ran for 1,152 yards. This is an even matchup on paper, with both teams wishing to establish the same game plan.

It’s the south vs. the north, as the Conference USA Champions are pitted against the MAC Champions. If we’re looking at motivation in this game, I think the edge has to go to UAB here. The Blazers are likely hungry for more and to earn their first bowl win in school history. The Huskies are coming off an upset win over Buffalo, and they needed a career day from Chidlers to get it done. He will not be as comfortable in the pocket on Tuesday night against UAB. Northern Illinois are satisfied with being winners of the MAC, while UAB wants more. The Blazers edge out the Huskies for their first bowl win and secure a final record of 11-3.

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Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek 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 The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.