The Northern Illinois Huskies are this year’s BCS busters as they finished 15th on the final BCS Standings, winning their last 12 games including the MAC Championship Game after losing their only game by one point vs. Iowa on opening week. They are taking on the ACC Champion Florida State Seminoles in the Orange Bowl on New Year’s night.
The oddsmakers are not impressed with Northern Illinois’s accomplishments as the Seminoles have been installed as -13.5 favorites with the total set at 58.
FLORIDA STATE – N. ILLINOIS ORANGE BOWL BETTING LINE:
OPEN: FSU -14 | CURRENT: FSU -13.5 | O/U: 58.5
1. Why Northern Illinois will cover the spread: Northern Illinois will cover this spread if the best player in the country that many people have never heard of, quarterback Jordan Lynch, can play up to his usual standards vs. the best defense he has faced all year. Not only did Lynch have 2962 passing yards on 8.4 yards per attempt with 24 touchdown passes against only five interceptions, but he also had had an unbelievable (for a quarterback) 1771 rushing yards on 6.5 yards per carry with 19 rushing touchdowns, meaning that he accounted for 43 touchdowns in all!
A second key for NIU is its defense also coming close to its regular season numbers with the rise in class, as the Huskies ranked 19th in the country in scoring defense allowing 19.0 points per game and a good 35th in total defense.
2. Why Florida State will cover the spread: Florida State will cover this spread if its defense can shut down the Huskies’ ninth ranked rushing offense averaging 250.2 yards per game on the ground on 5.6 yards per carry, which of course starts with containing Lynch when he takes off, either on called runs or on scrambles.
The Seminoles are no doubt confident that they can do so, as they ranked second in the country in total defense, fifth in rushing defense allowing 92.6 yards per game on a scant 2.8 yards per carry and seventh in scoring defense at 15.1 points.
3. Total Talk: Yes, Northern Illinois is stepping up in call and it is doing so against one of the best defenses in the country. However, we still feel that the Huskies will put up a decent amount of points here. For starters, the ACC actually graded out as the weakest of the six major conference as a whole on the Sagarin Ratings, behind the Big East. Because of that, the Florida State schedule ranked just 71st in SOS, so as great as the Seminoles’ defensive numbers are, consider the competition. That defense did get lit up by the better teams the Noles faced like Clemson and Florida.
Unfortunately for NIU, we also expect Florida State to be able to score vs. a Huskies defense that is not as good as its numbers, so even with the total at 58, we like the ‘over’ in this spot. We do like Northern Illinois to score enough points to hang within 10 of the Seminoles, so we do feel that the points are worth taking.
4. Betting Trends for FSU/NIU: Northern Illinois is 12-3-2 ATS the last 17 games after gaining more than 450 total yards the previous game. Florida State is 1-7 ATS the last eight games when coming off a win.
Florida State 38 – Northern Illinois 28
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