College Football Betting Free Pick: Ball State Cardinals at Northern Illinois Huskies
CFB FREE PICK: Ball State Cardinals at Northern Illinois Huskies
#322 Northern Illinois -4.5 (Saturday, October 5 @ 3:30 pm EST)
The Ball State Cardinals enter this matchup with only win that came way back on September 7 against FCS Fordham. Against their three FBS opponents, Indiana, Florida Atlantic and NC State, the Cards weren’t completely outclassed (losses by 10, 10 and 11 respectively) but they never threatened and were able to somewhat close the gap in two of those contests with late fourth quarter touchdowns.
Northern Illinois has faced a far tougher slate and showed well on multiple occasions when asked to step up in class. They covered wire-to-wire on the road against a stout Utah team but had little left in the tank the following week in a 44-8 loss at Nebraska. The Huskies however fired back and outgained Vanderbilt on the road in what ended in a competitive 24-18 loss. Three power five road trips in four weeks a good way to prepare for a weaker foe like Ball State.
NIU’s defensive numbers don’t look great (6.5 ypp allowed) but the competition and venues weren’t ideal. And despite some suspect numbers, the Huskies will hold a significant defensive edge over the Cardinals. BSU allowed nearly 500 yards to both Indiana and Florida Atlantic and holding NC State to less than 5 ypp doesn’t look nearly as impressive after the Wolf Pack netted only 13 points against Florida State’s soft stop unit.
The Huskies have won the last ten meetings to go with an 8-2 ATS mark. In those 10 games, they averaged 100 total yards more than Ball State and a 17 ppg advantage. Was surprised not to see the home favorite laying close to a touchdown which obviously makes -4.5 a very playable number.