Sunday, January 23, 2022

2021 MAC Championship Game odds, spread: Northern Illinois vs. Kent State picks, predictions from proven model

The Northern Illinois Huskies will try to cap off their improbable turnaround season with a conference title when they face the Kent State Golden Flashes in the 2021 MAC Championship Game on Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit. After going 0-6 last season, Northern Illinois (8-4) has orchestrated an eight-win improvement this season, one of the best in the country. The Huskies are looking for their sixth MAC title in program history. Meanwhile Kent State (7-5), which went 3-1 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, is looking to win the MAC Championship Game for the first time. 

Kickoff is noon ET. The Golden Flashes are 3.5-point favorites in the latest Kent State vs. Northern Illinois odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 74.5. Before making any Northern Illinois vs. Kent State picks or MAC Championship Game 2021 predictions, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,700 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters Championship Week 2021 on a 42-28 run on all top-rated college football side picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now the model has dialed in on Kent State vs. NIU and just revealed its picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see all of the model’s college football picks. Now, here are the college football odds and betting trends for NIU vs. Kent State:  

  • Kent State vs. Northern Illinois spread: Golden Flashes -3.5
  • Kent State vs. Northern Illinois over-under: 74.5 points 
  • Kent State vs. Northern Illinois money line: Golden Flashes -160, Huskies +140 
  • KSU: Kent State averages 247.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks third in the country 
  • NIU: Northern Illinois leads the country in fourth-down conversion percentage (82.6)

Featured Game | Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Kent State Golden Flashes

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Why the Golden Flashes can cover

Kent State has one of the best running backs in the conference in Marquez Cooper. A 5-foot-7 sophomore from Gaithersburg, Md., Cooper averages 89.6 rushing yards per game, which ranks third in the conference. When the Golden Flashes faced Northern Illinois last month, Cooper ran for a career-high 173 yards and two touchdowns.

In addition, Kent State has won the turnover battle all season. The Golden Flashes have forced 24 turnovers this season while committing just nine. The +1.25 turnover margin per game ranks second in the country.

Why the Huskies can cover

Northern Illinois has excelled in close games this season. The Huskies have played in nine one-score games in 2021 and have more wins (seven) by eight points or fewer than any team in the country. They also have won more games (four) decided by fewer than three points than any school in the nation.

In addition, Northern Illinois is lethal once it enters the red zone. The Huskies have scored 23 touchdowns and 17 field goals on 43 drives that have reached the red zone. The 93.0 percent conversion rate leads the MAC and ranks sixth in the FBS.

How to make Kent State vs. Northern Illinois picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning under on the point total, projecting the teams to combine for 73 points. It also has an against-the-spread pick that cashes in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can see the model’s Northern Illinois vs. Kent State pick only at SportsLine.

So who wins Kent State vs. Northern Illinois? And which side is covering almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Northern Illinois vs. Kent State spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is on a 42-28 run on top-rated picks, and find out.

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