Northern Illinois vs. UNLV - 9/5/15 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
UNLV Rebels (2-11) at Northern Illinois Huskies (11-3)
College Football: Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 7:30 pm (Huskie Stadium)
The Line: Northern Illinois Huskies -21 -- Over/Under: 62.5 See the Latest Odds
The UNLV Rebels and Northern Illinois Huskies will kick off their seasons at Huskie Stadium this upcoming Saturday.
The UNLV Rebels and first year head coach Tony Sanchez will have their work cut out for them this season as Rebels loss 27 letterman and coming off a difficult 2-11 season in which they went just 1-7 in the Mountain West. Coach Sanchez, who has yet to coach college football in his career will be relying on Sr. Quarterback Blake Decker (57.6 comp %, 2886 yds, 15 TD and INT), RB Keith Whitely (504 yds, 4.3 ypg, 2 TD) and WR Devonte Boyd (65 rec, 980 yds, 4 TD) who was the MW Freshman of the Year. UNLV had its share of difficulties on the defensive side of the ball allowing 36.6 points per game in conference play and ended the season with a -7 TO margin. Leading the way for the Rebel defensive will be LB Tau Lotulelei and SS Peni Vea. Coach Sanchez has injected a lot of energy so far for a team that is desperate for it however and although Sanchez brought in some decent young talent this season, UNLV is probably at least a year or two away before they start becoming a threat in the MW.
USA TODAY Sports
The NIU Huskies have dominated MAC play and their dominance continued last year as the Huskies won their 5th straight MAC-West title after finishing the season with a 11-3 record (7-1 MAC). The Huskies didn’t fare well in their Bowl Game against Marshall, losing 52-23, however should be fighting for another conference championship as they are returning 13 starters for last year’s team. Leading the way for the offensive will be QB Drew Hare (59.5 comp %, 2322 yds, 18 TD, 2 Int) and WR/KR Tommylee Jones who will be looking to have a bounce back season after being injured for the majority of the 2014 season. The Huskies defense held conference opponents to 23.3 ppg and should be strong again as they are returning 8 starters. Leading the way for the defensive for NIU will be LB Boomer Mays and DL Perez Ford. Although the Huskies defensive should be a bit better with another year of experience for the majority of the starters, this still was a team at times that could give up some points as both Arkansas and Marshall scored over 50 points against them. Coach Rod Carey has had nothing but success with NIU and with an offensive that should be a bit more explosive than last year, NIU should be once against near the top of the MAC standings by the end of the year.
The Rebels are 17-43-4 ATS in their last 64 road games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games. The Huskies are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on field turf and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games.
UNLV lost a high scoring affair, 48-34, at home against NIU last year and although NIU is certainly the better football team, I think the rebels and Coach Sanchez and the Rebels will be more competitive than people think and will keep this one within the spread. Take UNLV and the points.