Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls Predictions, Odds, Picks

Nov. 17, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert

The Northern Illinois Huskies (7-3, 5-1) travel to meet the Buffalo Bulls (4-6, 2-4) in an East-West Mid-American Conference matchup on Wednesday night at UB Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and the game can be viewed on ESPN2.

Score Prediction

Northern Illinois 41, Buffalo 26

Best Bets

Northern Illinois -1.5 (-110)

Northern Illinois -125 ML

Over 60 (-110)

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls Predictions

The Huskies squeezed by Ball State last Wednesday by a 30-29 count, covering as a three-point underdog at home while the UNDER (59.5) just came in under the wire. Northern Illinois knocked through a 32-yard field goal with zeroes on the clock to push past the Cardinals, keeping hope alive for the MAC Championship Game. If NIU is able to knock off Buffalo Wednesday night, it will punch its ticket back to Ford Field for the league title game.

The Bulls were the opponent for the Huskies in the MAC Championship Game last season, but there will be no rematch this season. In fact, if Buffalo cannot win Wednesday against NIU, and again at Ball State next Tuesday, Buffalo will not even qualify for bowl eligibility. The defense has really let down UB lately, coughing up 56 points against a mediocre Bowling Green team at home on Oct. 30, and then letting in 45 points at Miami (Ohio) in a mid-week tilt in Oxford. OVER bettors have enjoyed the lack of defense lately, but Buffalo side bettors have not been pleased.

With Northern Illinois challenging for a spot in the title game, and Buffalo still clinging to postseason hopes, this game figures to have some fireworks. The good news for NIU is that QB Rocky Lombardi was able to play last week against Ball after getting knocked out in the fourth quarter in the previous game at Kent State. He took helmet-to-helmet contact, and needed to go through the concussion protocol. He showed no ill effects of the injury against the Cardinals, and will look to pick apart a Buffalo which yielded 263 yards through the air to Bowling Green, and 351 passing yards to Miami. The defense is trending in the wrong direction at the worst possible time.

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Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls Betting Odds

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Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls Betting Resources

  • Matchup: MAC
  • Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021
  • Venue: UB Stadium
  • Location: Buffalo, New York
  • TV-Time: ESPN2 - 7:00 p.m. ET

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Northern Illinois Huskies Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 7-3
  • ATS: 6-3-1
  • O/U: 5-5
  • ATS - Home: 3-1-1
  • ATS - Away: 3-2

The Huskies have done well against the number at home, including last week's cover against Ball State. The results have been mixed on the road. If you recall all the way on Sept. 4 the Huskies pulled off a 22-21 upset win at Georgia Tech as 19-point underdogs. While NIU was dusted at Michigan, never coming close to an upset or cover, the Huskies are a respectable 2-1 SU/ATS in three road games inside the MAC, including a 22-20 win at Toledo on Oct. 9 as 13-point underdogs. The OVER is also 3-1 in the past four road games for the Huskies, while going 3-1 in the past four games overall, too.

Northern Illinois streaks in 5-2 ATS in the past seven games overall. The numbers on the road have been tremendous, too, not only this season, but in recent years. The Huskies are 11-2-1 ATS in the past 14 on the road against teams with a losing home record, and NIUI is 19-9-1 ATS in the past 29 as a road favorite.

As far as the total, Northern Illinois has scored 30, 47, 39 and 34 across the past four outings, while we documented above how poor Buffalo's defense has been lately. That's good news, not only if you plan to lay the points, but play a parlay with the OVER, too. Plus, NIU's defense has allowed 20 or more points in six straight games, and all nine outings against FBS teams, so they're not exactly the Georgia defense themselves.

Buffalo Bulls Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 4-6
  • ATS: 3-6-1
  • O/U: 5-5
  • ATS - Home: 2-2-1
  • ATS - Away: 1-4

The Bulls were 2-2 SU/ATS heading into the conference schedule, and they were also 4-4 SU after four league outings. However, defense lapses and a two-game losing streak has them on the brink of missing a bowl game for the first time since 2017.

Buffalo has been so-so on offense, posting 420.7 total yards to rank 56th, while going for 223.9 passing yards per outing to rank just 70th. If Buffalo has a strength on offense, it's the run game, going for just shy of 197 yards per game to check in 30th in the nation. They've been good for 32.1 PPG, but the offense really disappointed last week at Miami (Ohio) in a 45-18 loss. Fumbles were a problem, as the Bulls lost all three balls they put on the ground, and Buffalo was picked off once, too, losing the turnover battle 4-0. You can't beat anybody with that kind of futility, especially on the road.

The Bulls head into Wednesday's game with a 1-5-1 ATS mark across the past seven games overall, including 0-2-1 ATS in the past three games at UB Stadium against MAC opponents. The Bulls find themselves in a spot they haven't responded well, as an underdog. Buffalo is 1-3-1 ATS in the past five as an underdog, although it is 21-7-1 ATS in the past 29 overall at home. The Bulls are also 0-4 ATS in the past four following a straight-up loss.

Northern Illinois has posted 30+ points in four straight, while allowing 20+ in six consecutive games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Northern Illinois Huskies

  • Record: 7-3
  • VI Ranking: 73
  • Points Scored: 315
  • Points Allowed: 333
  • PS/G: 31.5
  • PA/G: 33.3

Inside the Stats - Buffalo Bulls

  • Record: 4-6
  • VI Ranking: 96
  • Points Scored: 321
  • Points Allowed: 306
  • PS/G: 32.1
  • PA/G: 30.6

Key Players to Watch

  • NIU: Rocky Lombardi - QB (156/268, 2,117 yards, 18 total TDs, 7 INT)
  • NIU: Trayvon Rudolph - WR (40 catches, 747 yards, 7 TD)
  • BUFF: Kyle Vantrease - QB (160/261, 1,863 yards, 11 total TDs, 6 INT)
  • BUFF: Dylan McDuffie - RB (160 rushes, 860 yards, 10 TD)

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls Betting Conclusion

It's all ahead of the Huskies, as they simply need to win one of the next two games to punch their ticket to Detroit. NIU should find plenty of open spaces against a Buffalo defense has been hemorrhaging yards and points lately. And, as mentioned above, the Huskies are good for at least 30 points per game per night, while allowing 20 or more. NIU has been getting tremendous play from Lombari, and QB Tyrice Richie (leg) is listed as questionable for Wednesday's game. The addition of Richie, who is good for 43 catches, 534 yards and a touchdown, would give the Huskies even more offensive firepower, in addition to Rudolph down the field.

These late-season, mid-week MAC games can provide a lot of upsets, with more twists and turns than a Stephen King novel. But, you have to trust your eyes, and Northern Illinois finding ways to win, and playing great offense, while Buffalo has been drummed by a couple of mediocre teams in the past two games. They're not trending in the right direction, and while it's not too late to turn things around, you have to back the better team. That's NIU, and it's not even close.

Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls Betting Trends

  • NIU is 5-2 ATS in the past seven games overall.
  • Buffalo is 8-1-1 ATS in the past 10 against winning teams.
  • Buffalo is 1-5-1 ATS in the past seven MAC games.
  • The OVER is 5-2 in the past seven for NIU as a favorite.
  • The OVER is 4-0 in Buffalo's past four Wednesday games.
  • The OVER is 12-5 in Buffalo's past 17 MAC games.