Northern Illinois Huskies
(7-6, 6-7 ATS in 2009)
Iowa State Cyclones
(7-6, 8-4 ATS in 2009)
A pair of bowl teams from a year ago do battle to start the regular season in what could be a great college football betting affair between the Northern Illinois Huskies and the Iowa State Cyclones.
The Huskies are going to have a lot of work to do on their offense this year, as they are going to have to rebuild an offense that looked dormant at times last year. QB Chandler Harnish is expected to get the nod as the starting quarterback in spite of the fact that he was pushed by DeMarcus Grady and a host of others. The real interesting question is how well Chad Spann is going to run without the services of Me’co Brown behind him. Brown rushed for 645 yards and four scores a year ago, but Spann was the man, carrying the ball 179 times for 1,038 yards and 19 scores on the ground. The key for NIU in this game is going to be controlling the potentially upbeat ISU offense. The Huskies ranked in the top third of the country in almost every defensive category last year, but return only seven starters and could have to do some rebuilding as well.
The words out of camp in Ames this year are that QB Austen Arnaud looks great, and the defense looks incredibly questionable. The unit might have only allowed 21.8 points per game last year, but allowing 415.8 yards per game again this year probably won’t ultimately end up giving the Cyclones a bowl game. Arnaud only threw for 2,017 yards with 15 TDs and 13 INTs last year, but 561 yards on the ground makes him a tremendous threat to every defense he runs across. ISU also ran the ball 231 times with RB Alexander Robinson last year for 1,193 yards and five scores, and we fully expect to see plenty of him this season and in this game. Iowa State didn’t play a single ‘over’ game last year at home, but had several come amazingly close to the ‘total’. The offense is going to have to finish drives both in this game and for the year to be able to outlast a very strong MAC foe.
This could be that elusive ‘over’ game played in Ames. Neither one of these teams appear to have a defense, at least at this point in the season, that is capable of stopping solid offenses. Yes, both ‘O’s clearly have some holes in them at this point, but the important positions all have lots of experience on both sides, and the potential is there for a ton of big plays. There isn’t a ton that has to be done to reach this ‘total’ from the NCAA football betting perspective, which really does make the ‘over’ the right side to play.
Selection: Northern Illinois/Iowa State Over 51.5