Northern Illinois vs Coastal Carolina Cure Bowl Predictions, Picks, Odds
- When Northern Illinois has the ball – Can the rushing attack be stopped
- When Coastal Carolina has the ball — Balanced offense has led the way
- X-factors to watch
Northern Illinois vs Coastal Carolina Odds
Odds presented by: DraftKings Sportsbook
|Northern Illinois Huskies||+10.5 (-115) |
|O 63.5 (-110) |
|Coastal Carolina Chanticleers||-10.5 (-105) |
|U 63.5 (-110) |
Northern Illinois vs Coastal Carolina Prediction and Picks
Coastal Carolina has been a consistent winner the past few years, yet hasn’t been able to get a bowl win. Northern Illinois meanwhile comes off one of the biggest turnarounds in the country, having gone 0-6 last year before going 9-4 this season with a MAC title. The Huskies like to run the ball, but may have trouble keeping up with Coastal. When that happens, Lombardi has a tendency tot turn the ball over, which could lead to a lopsided game. But still, will the possibility of a backdoor cover.
Northern Illinois to cover the spread +10.5 (-115)
Garcia’s 2021 record: (25-24)
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Trends to Watch
- Huskies are 5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- Huskies are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games
- Huskies are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Friday games
- Huskies are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall
- Huskies are 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games in December
- Huskies are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 bowl games as an underdog
- Over is 5-0 in Huskies last 5 games following a straight up win
- Over is 5-2 in Huskies last 7 games overall
- Chanticleers are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games
- Chanticleers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall
- Under is 4-1 in Chanticleers last 5 games following a ATS loss
- Over is 4-1 in Chanticleers last 5 vs. a team with a winning record
- Under is 5-2 in Chanticleers last 7 games as a favorite
Huskies Want to Run, the Question Is if They Can
If you missed the MAC championship game at Ford Field in Detroit last week when Northern Illinois took on Kent State, here’s how 76 offensive play calls broke down.
Rushing attempts: 61.
Passing attempts: 15.
It’s not as if they don’t have a solid quarterback (for MAC level football). Rocky Lombardi transferred from Michigan State in the offseason and led the Huskies to their first MAC title since 2018, just their sixth in program history.
The senior completed 58.1 percent (180-of-310) of his passes this year, for 2,416 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also used his 6-foot-3, 220-pound frame to rush 86 times for another 406 yards and eight scores.
But this offense is at its best when Lombardi is limiting turnovers and they’re running behind Jay Ducker. The freshman had just 85 yards through the first four games of the season, yet he had seven games with more than 100 rushing yards over the next eight weeks to finish with 1,038 yards and three scores on the season.
NIU will face a defense that has been solid this year in Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers held 10 of their opponents to 28 points or fewer, winning all 10 games. The two times they didn’t, they gave up 30 and 40 points, losing both.
Balanced Attack Has Led to Success
There’s nothing an offensive-minded football coach likes more than having a balanced attack. A rushing game and passing attack you can lean on makes your offense tough to stop and that’s why the Chanticleers put up so many points this year.
The team racked up nearly 6,000 yards of total offense – just more than 3100 of them came through the air while nearly 2,800 came on the ground.
But even with the balance, the offense starts with quarterback Grayson McCall, who protects the ball better than most quarterbacks and is a legitimate dual-sport threat.
McCall completed 73 percent (154-of-211) of his passes for 2,558 yards with 23 touchdowns and just three (tied for second-fewest in the nation) interceptions. He’s also added 250 yards and four scores on the ground, rushing for 50 yards or more in each of the past three games.
McCall has two favorite targets, starting with Jaivon Heiligh, who leads the team in receptions (59) and yards (1,034) and is second in scores (7). The other man to watch is the security blanket, tight end Isaiah Likely. The senior had the best year of what was an impressive career, finishing second on the team in receptions (52) and yards (816) and first with 10 touchdowns.
X-factors to Watch
Clint Ratkovich, who also transferred to Northern Illinois this offseason and rooms with Lombardi, is the bellow though who hammers the ball in when they’re close on the goal line.
Ratkovich has rushed 98 times for 448 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns, he’s a man who could step up in an even bigger role with multiple weeks to the gameplan.
For Coastal Carolina, rushing is the key and the main man is Shermari Jones. The senior has a team-high 988 rushing yards (more than 1,000 total) and 13 touchdowns on the season and is a big reason the team has the balanced, high-power attack that it has.
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How to Watch Northern Illinois vs Coastal Carolina
|Northern Illinois Huskies vs Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Information|
|Teams||Northern Illinois Huskies vs Coastal Carolina Chanticleers|
|Location||Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Fl.|
|Time||Friday, Dec. 17, 6:00 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||ESPN 2|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.