MACtion has returned. Western Michigan and Northern Illinois square off in the final week of the annual MAC midweek tradition. The Broncos need a win over the Huskies in order to clinch a berth in the MAC Championship Game as NIU will look to play spoiler on Senior Night in DeKalb. WMU will undoubtedly be relying on tailback Levante Bellamy. The senior is second in the conference with 1,284 yards rushing and is second in the FBS with 21 total touchdowns.
If Western loses, that opens the door for Central Michigan to swoop in and steal the MAC West division title. The Chips will host Toledo on Saturday. Meanwhile, NIU suffered their 7th loss of the season last week in a 45-17 setback against Eastern Michigan. It will be the first time the Huskies will miss the postseason since 2016.
We break down the line and offer our best bets and predictions for this matchup between two conference rivals.
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Western Michigan at Northern Illinois Game Details
*All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
This line opened at Western Michigan -7.5 and has been bet up slightly to Western Michigan -8.5 at some books, according to VegasInsider.com. The Broncos are receiving the majority of the action with 85% of the bets and 82% of the money, according to The Action Network.
The total opened at 60.5 and has been bet all the way down to 50.5. Despite that significant move, 54% of the bets and 64% of the money is on the over.
- Western Michigan is 7-4 SU and 6-5 ATS overall this season
- Northern Illinois is 4-7 SU and 6-5 ATS overall this season
- Under is 6-4-1 in Western Michigan games this season
- Over is 7-4 in Northern Illinois games this season
- Western Michigan is 1-4 SU and 1-4 ATS in road games this season
- Over is 3-1-1 in Western Michigan road games this season
- Northern Illinois is 2-2 SU and 2-2 ATS at home this season
- Underdog is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings
*All odds courtesy of Covers
Prediction & Pick
It has been a wildly inconsistent season for NIU. The Huskies have been on the receiving end of some lopsided scorelines, including last Saturday’s 28-point drubbing against EMU. That being said, they also have impressive road wins over Ohio and Toledo on their resume, so it’s not out of the question that first-year head coach Thomas Haddock won’t have his team ready to play in what is a difficult spot. Ultimately, I think the motivation factor is too obvious to overlook here. The Huskies have absolutely nothing to play for while the Broncos need this game in order to earn a trip to Detroit for the MAC title game. Bellamy’s dominance continues as WMU does enough to win and cover. Tail the steam here and swallow the points.
PICK: Western Michigan -8.5 (-110)
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith