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UAB vs. NIU- Boca Raton Bowl - 12/18/18 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 +1.5 -- Over/Under:
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CFB | NIU Huskies (8-5) at UAB Blazers (10-3)
John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

The college football Bowl season heats up with the Northern Illinois Huskies battling the Alabama-Birmingham Blazers in the Boca Raton Bowl.

The Northern Illinois Huskies won the MAC championship by a 30-29 count in a season defined by plenty of close games punctuated by strong defensive play. Northern Illinois totaled just 325 yards and 20.7 points behind a run heavy attack that averaged 171.5 yards. These numbers worked because the Huskies defense gave up just 247.8 yards and 21.5 points with the #14 rushing ‘D’ allowing less then 110 yards.

NIU was far from an explosive through the air with Marcus Childers connecting on 57.6% of his throws for 1,996 yards with 15 touchdowns and ten interceptions. Jauan Wesley was the most explosive Northern Illinois receiver with 49 catches for 585 yards and a pair of touchdowns with DJ Brown being the possession receiver with 55 receptions for 484 yards and five TD’s.

Tre Harbeson was the Huskies workhorse on the ground with 985 yards on 188 carries followed by Marcus Jones with 523 yards on 93 totes with each scoring four times.

The Alabama-Birmingham Blazers were a team without a program a few short years ago but now they are CUSA champions after a 27-25 victory versus Middle Tennessee State in the title game. UAB averaged 400 yards and 29.3 points behind a top 30 rushing attack that produced 209 yards. The Blazers gave up only 300 yards and 17.3 points and were top 20 against the run and pass.

AJ Erdely and Tyler Johnston III were identical passers for Alabama-Birmingham at around 56%-57% with 1,539 yards and 950 yards respectively and combined 14 touchdowns and 15 picks. Even though UAB didn’t throw  all over the field the receiving corps had explosive numbers with Xavier Ubosi, Andre Wilson and Kailon Carter combining for 60 catches for over 1,500 yards. The Blazers ground game generally consisted of a heavy dose of Spencer Brown who carried the ball 248 times for 1,152 yards and 16 touchdowns.

UAB Blazers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games on grass and UAB Blazers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game and UAB Blazers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game. Northern Illinois Huskies are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Bowl games and Northern Illinois Huskies are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 bowl games and Northern Illinois Huskies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in December.

My feeling is both teams are mirror images of each other but the Blazers are a bit better and getting the points…

Pick:
UAB +1.5

I have been a sports fan since I was old enough to pick up a ball and have always been drawn to competition. I don't participate in sporting events any longer but I do like to provide my opinion on games and writing gives me that outlet. I won't always be right but I always put 100% in to every article I do whether it's the World Series or an 0-10 college football team. Mitch shares that same passion and allows me to express myself in my own way.

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