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Northern Illinois vs. Toledo MAC Football Pick
Toledo Hosts Northern Illinois on Tuesday night in a game with 1st place MAC implications as Toledo is 4-0 and Northern Illinois 3-1 in conference play. Both teams are 5-3 overall. Toledo is currently a -7.5 point home favorite as of Monday morning as this is being written. The posted total is a whopping 67 points. We're not big fans of these Tuesday night games. However, in this case, at least we have a very meaningful game to take a look at.
Everyone expected Northern Illinois to be in the mix in the MAC this year and hey, why not. They were 11-3 last season and despite losing in the MAC title game to Miami Ohio, were still considered the class of the MAC. They started the year with a new coach, their entire offense back but mostly new faces starting on the defensive side of the ball. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the defensive side of the ball has been a problem this year, to this point.
The only team Northern Illinois was able to stop this year was Kent State, holding them to 10 points. Last place Central Michigan nailed them for 48 points, Kansas for 45, Wisconsin for 49. Even Buffalo, who averages just 19 points per game was able to put 30 on the board. As you go game by game through the Northern Illinois schedule, you can see a big potential problem for the Huskies in this matchup with Toledo.
Toledo has played the more difficult schedule and has proved to be able to score points against that better opposition. Ohio State may not have much of an offense when compared to other national powers, but they have one of the best defenses in the nation. Toledo went toe to toe with the Buckeyes losing just 27-22. Temple has held every opponent this year to 14 points or less with two shutouts. Toledo scored 36.
The Toledo defense was burned by Boise State for 40 points, but Boise does that to everyone. But take away that game and Toledo has held everyone else in check, giving up on average 22 points per game.
Toledo is getting healthier. The last few weeks have seen several starters sidelined due to injury, most of which have now returned. They appear to be the class of the MAC and certainly appear to be the class in this matchup. They have performed better, against better opposition than Northern Illinois has. They also have a big time revenge motive working in their favor as Northern Illinois whipped them last year 65-30. Payback time.
Our model has Toledo winning by a score of 51-31 and we see no reason not to tag along. -7.5 would seem to be a bargain here as we think -10 or so would be more appropriate. Toledo -7.5 with a lean towards over 67
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