The Central Michigan Chippewas will be looking for a measure of revenge Wednesday when they travel to face the Northern Illinois Huskies in a MACtion matchup that is crucial to the fortunes of the struggling programs. Last year, the Chippewas squandered an 18-point lead and lost 39-38 at home to Northern Illinois, which went on to win the MAC championship. Now, both clubs sit at 2-6 in the MAC cellar and need to end their season on a four-game win streak to qualify for a bowl bid. The winner Wednesday will climb out of the cellar in the MAC West standings.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET from Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Ill. The Huskies are 6-point favorites and the over/under for total points scored is 57 in the latest Northern Illinois vs. Central Michigan odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Before locking in any Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois picks or MACtion predictions, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past six-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,000 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on NIU vs. Central Michigan and locked in its MACtion picks and predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are the odds and college football betting lines for Central Michigan vs. NIU:
- Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois point spread: Northern Illinois -6
- Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois over/under total points: 57
- Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois money line: Northern Illinois -235, Central Michigan +192
- CMU: The underdog has covered the spread in seven of the past eight meetings in this rivalry.
- NIU: The Huskies are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games when coming off a bye week.
- Central Michigan vs. Northern Illinois picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why Northern Illinois can cover
The Huskies have offset inconsistent play from the quarterback position by establishing one of the most productive rushing attacks in the conference. They rank second in the MAC with 202.3 grounds yards per contest and are out-gaining their opponents in total yards on average (398 to 389 ypg) for the first time in five seasons.
They have perhaps the MAC's strongest one-two backfield punch in Harrison Waylee and Antario Brown, both of whom are sophomores and top-five rushers in the conference. Waylee leads the way with 131 carries for 727 yards and five touchdowns. Brown has notched 575 yards on 99 rushes for six touchdowns and both standouts are averaging nearly 6 yards per carry. Waylee is the second-leading rusher in the MAC, while Brown ranks fifth.
Sophomore quarterback Justin Lynch, who started last week against Ohio, also has proven to be a rushing threat when he is behind center. The Temple transfer has logged 170 rushing yards on 45 attempts with two touchdowns.
Why Central Michigan can cover
The Chippewas were expected to have perhaps the MAC's most explosive backfield led by Lew Nichols III, who burst on the scene as a freshman last season. Nichols was the centerpiece of the offense and tallied 1,848 yards and 16 touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
Nichols has been effective when healthy this year. He rushed for 72 yards and two scores against No. 12-ranked Oklahoma State in the season opener and had 97 rushing yards with a touchdown against Ball State. However, an undisclosed injury has kept the playmaker in and out of the lineup and he has missed the past two games.
Nichols is expected to be available Wednesday but, if he is shelved again, others have stepped up in his absence. In the win at Akron two weeks ago, sophomore Marion Lukes had 26 rushes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, Nichols leads the way with 469 yards and six scores, while Lukes has notched 275 yards and three touchdowns. Sophomore Myles Bailey has added 176 yards on 32 rushes.
How to make Northern Illinois vs. Central Michigan picks
SportsLine's model is leaning Over on the total, projecting 65 combined points. It also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only get the model's picks at SportsLine.
So who wins Central Michigan vs. NIU? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to back, all from the advanced model that has crushed its college football picks, and find out.