Northern Illinois vs Buffalo Picks and Predictions: Huskies Seek MAC West Title

Northern Illinois continues its bounce-back campaign with a chance at clinching the MAC West title with a win against Buffalo. Defense is neither team's strong suit — and our college football betting picks shows why the Over is the smart play Wednesday.

Last Updated: Nov 15, 2021 11:22 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jevyon Ducker Northern Illinois College Football
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Northern Illinois is arguably the most improved team in the nation in 2021. A year ago, the Huskies were 0-6 and losing games by an average of 14 points — they weren’t competitive. Fast forward a year, and they’re 7-3 with a chance to secure the division crown.

Will the Huskies be able to clinch their eighth MAC West title in the last 12 years with a win, or will the Bulls play spoiler at home?

Check out our picks and predictions for the Northern Illinois Huskies vs. the Buffalo Bulls on Wednesday, November 17 to find out.

Northern Illinois vs Buffalo odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Northern Illinois opened -2.5, but the line has dropped to -1.5 across most books at the time of this writing. The total opened 65.5 but has moved to 64.5. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full college football odds before placing your bets.

Northern Illinois vs Buffalo predictions

Predictions made on 11/15/2021 at 7:50 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Northern Illinois vs Buffalo game info

Location: UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY
Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN 2

Northern Illinois vs Buffalo betting preview

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.

Key injuries

Northern Illinois: Harrison Waylee RB (Out), Tyrice Richie WR (Questionable), Devin Lafayette S (Out).
Buffalo: Jovany Ruiz WR (Out), Max Michel DE (Questionable), Taylor Riggins DE (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Bulls are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Northern Illinois vs Buffalo. Find more NCAA betting trends for Northern Illinois vs. Buffalo.

Northern Illinois vs Buffalo picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

Northern Illinois has been the better team in 2021, and it's also the more stable program at this point in time. The Huskies are 6-3-1 ATS on the season and have covered five of their last seven games. Their last two losses against the spread each came by only a point, so those aren’t exactly demerits on their resume.

This is a program heading in the right direction with visible improvements in Year 3 of the Thomas Hammock era. Michigan State transfer Rocky Lombardi has given the passing attack a boost, while the rushing attack has churned out a deadly 220.4 yards per game — good for 15th in the country. That ground game should pay off on the road against a miserable Bulls defense allowing 196.9 rushing yards per game — 109th nationally. 

It's been a tough year for 4-6 Buffalo. The program was left in a state of flux after Lance Leipold left for Kansas (to Texas fans’ chagrin) this offseason and a slew of transfers followed him out the door. The product on the field has reflected that — the Bulls need a win on Wednesday to avoid their first losing season since 2016. The last two games have been especially concerning, losing by two scores to a bad Bowling Green team and getting blown out 45-18 by Miami, Ohio.

The motivation edge lies with the Huskies as well. The Bulls don’t have much left to play for, other than gaining bowl eligibility, while the Huskies will clinch the MAC West title with a win against either the Bulls this week or Western Michigan next week.

Prediction: Northern Illinois -1.5 (-110)

The Bulls defense has been a train wreck lately, allowing 56 points to Bowling Green and 45 to Miami, Ohio, in their last two games. The efficiency (or lack thereof) numbers are especially horrifying — 10.5 yards per play allowed to Bowling Green, and 8.4 to Miami. For reference, Bowling Green is ranked 105th nationally in scoring offense (22.9) and is averaging only 5.1 yards per play on the season.

Northern Illinois should be able to put up points led by explosive running back Jevyon Ducker, who has gone over 100 yards in four straight games. 

While Buffalo’s defense has collapsed, its offense has still been able to put up points. The Bulls average 32.1 points per game and should also be able to run the ball against a bad Northern Illinois defense. Dylan McDuffie (860 yards, 10 TDs) should find success against a Huskies rushing defense allowing 209 yards per game (119th nationally).

Prediction: Over 64.5 (-106)

We feel pretty good about both of the recommendations above, but the side is our favorite spot.

These two programs are in vastly different spots — one is seeking any semblance of consistency after a tumultuous offseason, while the other is fighting for a division title.

This line is a gift and the Huskies should take care of business against a struggling conference opponent en route to another MAC West title. 

Pick: Northern Illinois -1.5 (-110)

College football parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Northern Illinois vs. Buffalo picks, you could win $27.10 on a $10 bet?

Use our college football parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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