Buffalo is coming off of an 8-5 season and was 5-3 in the MAC for a tie for second place in the East division. They finished with a 31-9 victory over Charlotte in the Bahamas Bowl. The Bulls have all the pieces to make a run at the conference title in 2020. On the defensive side of the ball, Buffalo was No. 1 in scoring, rushing, passing and total defense last year with plenty of playmakers returning. Offensively, the Bulls set school records in 2019, and they are led by running back Jaret Patterson, who rushed for 1,799 yards and 19 touchdowns. Kevin Marks also ran for 1,035 yards for Buffalo last season.
Northern Illinois finished last season with a 5-7 overall record including 4-4 in the MAC for a tie for third place in the West division. The Huskies struggled offensively last season, ranking 10th in the conference in scoring. Ross Bowers had an okay season in his first year with Northern Illinois, completing 57.8% of his passes for 2,130 yards. He finished with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Huskies struggled to run the ball effectively in 2019 and have several young backs who will contribute.
Northern Illinois won the last 12 games of this series. In the last matchup, the Huskies won 30-29 in the 2018 MAC title game.
Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming
You can watch Buffalo vs. Northern Illinois on Wednesday, November 4th at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2, or you can stream it via the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.
Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends
Point spread: Buffalo (-13) vs. Northern Illinois
Point Total: 51.5
Money line: Buffalo (-625), Northern Illinois (+410)
- Buffalo is 7-1 against the spread in its last eight games.
- The total went over in five of Buffalo’s last six games.
- Northern Illinois is 4-1 against the spread in its last five games against Buffalo.
- The total went over in six of Northern Illinois’ last seven games.
Buffalo: (78% of handle, 61% percent of bets)
Northern Illinois: (22% of handle, 39% percent of bets)
The Best Bet
It’s difficult to find many spots where Northern Illinois has the clear edge over Buffalo heading into this matchup. The bigger concern will be whether the Bulls can win this game by double digits, and I think they will. This was an important offseason for Northern Illinois coming off a disappointing Year 1 under Thomas Hammock, so a shortened training period could not have helped. Buffalo is the better football team, and it will cover this spread in the season opener.
Pick: Buffalo -9.5
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