Just because it is rivalry week does not mean we still don’t have some lingering morsels of MACtion (I’ve never gotten tired of saying or typing that). One more week and a few more slices await us so let’s hammer some before the relatives get here.
WESTERN MICHIGAN @ NORTHERN ILLINOIS (+4)
Let’s send some love to Thomas Hammock, the head coach for the Northern Illinois Huskies. They were ready to run him out of Dekalb when he didn’t win a game last season and it was thought that the home of the barbed-wire museum was going to be without competitive football. Wrong! Hammock has led the Huskies to a division title and nice home finale to ice this season’s cake. Northern Illinois is 4-1 at home this season, including 3-1-1 ATS. I’ll never claim their defense is stellar (they allow 36.5 points in their last 5 MAC games) but this team fights hard the entire game. Last week they lost all of their momentum in the second half against Buffalo but never once quit. They got the game to overtime and won (and covered). Western Michigan has gone over in 4 of their last 6 games while the Huskies have done the same in 4 of their last 5. The Broncos are also scoring in bunches. They’ve pointed 37.4 per in their last four MAC games but they are much more likely to drop a 20-burger . The Huskies… nice and consistent. I love the Huskies to cover the +4 here.
Oh Muncie, how we hardly knew ye. I brought them up last week as being overmatched by Central Michigan even though the line was -1 for the Chippewas and they were overmatched and lost by three touchdowns. The Cardinals were just 4/14 on third down 6 days ago and it showed in a really inconsistent effort, especially the second half. This time I think we got more of an even matchup. Both teams refuse to cover in the situations that are in this week: Buffalo is 1-4 ATS on the road and Ball State is 1-4 ATS at home. The Cardinals do have something to fight for, a bowl game which is one win away. Buffalo comes in averaging 200 yards on the ground and scoring 31 a game while hitting three straight overs. It’s where I lean tonight. A MAC game with a total under 60 is almost an automatic trigger for me and I’m playing it. Cardinals over 58.5.