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NIU vs. UAB - 12/18/18 Boca Raton Bowl College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
NIU Huskies (8-5) at UAB Blazers (10-3)
Date & Time Tuesday December 18, 2018, 7:00 PM (EST)
The Line
The Line: UAB Blazers +2.5 -- Over/Under: 43
TV Channel
ESPN
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John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

The UAB Blazers and the Northern Illinois Huskies meet in the Boca Raton Bowl in college football action from FAU Stadium on Tuesday night.

The UAB Blazers come into this game with a 10-3 record, with a 7-1 conference record which was good enough to finish atop the C-USA West division, booking a spot in the conference championship game where the Blazers avenged their lone conference loss of the season, defeating Middle Tennessee State by a final score of 27-25. AJ Erdely (who is questionable for this game with a shoulder injury) has thrown for 1,539 yards, 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions on 56.1% passing while Tyler Johnston III has thrown for 950 yards, 7 touchdowns and 8 picks on 56.8% passing. Spencer Brown has rushed for 1,152 yards and 16 touchdowns while Xavier Ubosi leads UAB’s receiving corps with 610 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns and Andre Wilson has a team-high 30 grabs for 486 yards and 5 scores of his own. As a team, UAB is averaging 400.4 yards of total offense and 29.3 points per game this season.

The Northern Illinois Huskies come into this game with an 8-5 record, including a 6-2 conference record to finish at the top of the MAC West division and book a spot in the MAC conference championship game where the Huskies upset the Buffalo Bulls by a final score of 30-29. Marcus Childers has thrown for 1,996 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 57.6% passing while also rushing for 496 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tre Harbison has rushed for 985 yards and 4 touchdowns this season while Marcus Jones has 523 rushing yards and 4 scores of his own. Jauan Wesley leads the NIU receiving squad with 585 receiving yards while D.J. Brown has 55 grabs for 484 yards and 5 touchdowns. As a team, Northern Illinois is averaging 325 yards of total offense and 20.7 points per game this season.

UAB is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against a team with a winning record while the over is 8-3 in their last 11 games on grass. Northern Illinois is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 bowl games and 5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 neutral site games while the under is 7-3 in their last 10 non-conference games.

The Huskies had a solid win over Buffalo to get to this point, but the fact for this game is that the Huskies have struggled ATS in bowl games over the last few years. The Huskies were good against the run this season, but UAB poses one of the tougher tests in that regard as the Blazers rushed for over 200 yards per game this season. I like the Blazers on both sides of the ball, especially when you consider that the Blazers are the better overall defensive unit in this game. I think UAB will shut down Northern Illinois and ground and pound their way to a win here, so I’ll lay the points with the Blazers in this spot.

Pick:
UAB -2.5

Chris has been a sports fan from when he was old enough to pick up a basketball and was a standout offensive lineman throughout high school and college. Chris uses that same instinct, determination and drive to analyze trends and statistics to find and produce winners on a consistent basis. Chris has been writing for Sports Chat Place since 2016 and covers a wide array of sports from college and pro football, college basketball, hockey and baseball.

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