Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Broncos Stay Close in Tight Contest

MACtion continues into Week 12 and we have ourselves a battle of 4-6 teams going head-to-head. Northern Illinois' defense makes up for its sus offense, and our college football picks think this game won't see many trips to the end zone.

Nov 14, 2023 • 16:52 ET • 4 min read
Rocky Lombari NIU NCAAf
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We have the makings of a solid MACtion matchup when the Western Michigan Broncos hit the road for a showdown against the Northern Illinois Huskies tonight.

College football odds favor Northern Illinois by as many as eight points, and with these programs chasing postseason bowl eligibility, I expect a competitive and possibly exciting contest.

Join me as I break it all down and give my free college football picks for Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois on November 14.

Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois best odds

Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois picks and predictions

Tuesday’s MACtion matchup pits two 4-6 teams against each other, and neither group has any chance of winning a conference title. Still, both sides are clinging desperately to become bowl-eligible, and this should be a good football game.

This matchup also features contrasting styles of play. The Broncos bring a big offense with a mediocre but improving defense to this matchup. Meanwhile, NIU boasts the fourth-best passing defense nationally to accompany the 47th-best scoring defense to compensate for its mediocre offense. 

Throwing the football against the Huskies will be difficult on Tuesday. That means Broncos frosh running back Jalen Buckley will be the key for WMU. He’s ran for consecutive 100+ rushing games with multiple TDs in each contest and is 108 yards shy of 1,000 on the season, and he’ll need to earnestly pursue that lofty goal Tuesday night. 

NIU wins games with its defense, allowing 46 points over its past three at Huskie Stadium. Western has a pair of QBs who can fire the ball and find the end zone via the air, but the Huskies must contain Buckley if they want to win this contest.

NIU Sixth-year senior quarterback Rocky Lombardi has slung it for 1,799 yards with nine scoring strikes and five interceptions, but leading wideout Kacper Rutkiewicz has been out since October 7. As a result, Lombardi has thrown for less than 200 passing yards in three of those four games.

WMU's defense has improved with each week and hasn’t surrendered 32 points or more in its previous three contests. NIU can’t seem to find the end zone consistently, which will be problematic on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Huskies' defense will force the Broncos to rush the football, and while WMU could be successful at it, the clock is going to wind, and I don’t see the Broncos scoring anywhere near the 27.4-point average.

Northern Illinois has committed six turnovers over its past two games and hasn’t looked good since its Week 6, 55-14 beatdown of Akron. 55.5 points are too many for this matchup.

My best bet: Under 55.5 (-110 at BetMGM)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois same-game parlay

Under 55.5

Western Michigan +5.5

NIU has been having difficulty scoring points recently, but the Under is 5-0 in its previous five home games. The Huskies' defense is stout at home and boasts the conference's best passing defense and fourth-best nationally. Bad offense and terrific defense playing at home on Senior Night should be the perfect recipe for the Under.

The Broncos might be 1-5-0 on the road, but they're 4-2-0 ATS as the away team. They’ve covered their previous four away games, and face an NIU group with a 1-4 ATS record this season at Huskies Stadium. This game will be close, and I must take Western to cover +5.5.

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Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois spread and Over/Under analysis

BetMGM opened Northern Illinois as a -190 favorite, and that number hasn’t budged at all. However, the spread is shifting dramatically toward NIU, which surprises me as a -5.5 number would normally be -236 on the ML. You should grab that number if you like NIU to win straight up.

BetMGM also opened NIU as a -3.0 (-110) favorite, and that number has moved twice while I’m writing this preview to its present -5.5 (-110). That’s a big line move, and I’m honestly unsure what the reason is for the 2.5-point rise.

The 55.5-point total hasn’t moved since the opener. There are 55 points available at many of the betting shops, but 55.5 (-110) is currently the best number for the total. The 55.5 might drop to 55: I’ll take the hook and hopefully get the best of it.

I’m leaning toward a WMU upset. I love the Under the most, but I would bite if this number were more than +160, as the ML should be +192 on a +5.5-point spread. The young Broncos are starting to gel, and their rushing game is fantastic. WMU has forced 16 turnovers this season and faces an NIU offense with six turnovers during its last two games. 

Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois betting trend to know

The Under is 5-0 in the Huskies' last five home games and 4-0 over the past four when NIU is listed as the home favorite. Find more college football betting trends for Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois.

Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois game info

Location: Huskie Stadium, Dekalb, IL
Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: ESPNU

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Western Michigan vs Northern Illinois weather

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