November 8, 2010

Toledo Rockets vs. Northern Illinois Huskies Preview and Pick



Toledo Rockets
(6-3, 5-4 ATS)

Northern Illinois Huskies
(7-2, 6-2-1 ATS)

The MAC West crown will essentially be handed out on Tuesday night in DeKalb, as they Northern Illinois Huskies and Toledo Rockets settle their differences in a primetime NCAA football betting battle.

The Rockets have had a good season this year, especially in conference play where they are 5-0. They have won three in a row and have gone 2-1 ATS in those three games, and two of the three losses this year came to solid teams in the Top 25 of the BCS rankings, the Arizona Wildcats and Boise State Broncos. With QB Austin Dantin on the shelf with a shoulder injury that will probably cost him the rest of the regular season, it will be up to QB Terrance Owens to lead this offense. Owens got his first serious action last week against the Eastern Michigan Eagles and tore them apart for 234 yards and four TDs. He now has 397 yards and five TDs in this, his freshman season. Still, Owens is going to need some major help from RB Adonis Thomas, who has 517 yards and three TDs this year. The other problem that Toledo has is in the kicking game. The Rockets have already lost two kickers for the season and are only converting on 41.7 percent of their field goal attempts this season. Needless to say, if it comes down to a big drive for a field goal to win it, there is going to be no confidence in the Rockets to be able to get the job done.

This isn’t just going to be a walk in the park for the Huskies, though. This will be the last home game of the season for a team that has dominated play there, going 3-0 SU and ATS in conference at home already. On the eve of Halloween, the Huskies were given a great shot by the Western Michigan Broncos and walked away with a push on the NCAA football betting odds. Still, they have either covered or pushed all seven college football lines since September 11th. RB Chad Spann is one of the handful of rushers this year who has reached the 1,000 yard mark on the ground on the season, and he has a dozen TDs to show for his work. QB Chandler Harnish might be able to join him at that 1,000 yard barrier with some good games down the stretch, as he has 559 yards and four scores this year. Harnish is also completing a solid 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,439 yards and a rock solid TD/INT ratio of 12/4. There are no worries on defense either for NIU, as this unit hasn’t allowed more than 28 points to a team all season long and is keeping teams to an average of just 18.7 points per game.

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On one glance, it really looks like the Huskies should rock and roll in this one, but we aren’t so sure that they are going to be able to beat this hefty number. This is a ton of points to be laying in a conference game against a team that hasn’t lost a game in the MAC this year. Toledo is going to give the Huskies all it has got, and if all else fails, at least we should walk away with a cover.

NCAA Football Free Pick: Toledo Rockets +11.5

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