MAC Championship Free Pick - Buffalo Seeks Second Conference Title

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D.S. Williamson

November 30th, 2018

The Buffalo Bulls travel to Detroit, Michigan to battle the Northern Illinois Huskies in the MAC Championship on Friday, Nov. 30. Buffalo completed a remarkable regular season with a 44-14 win over Bowling Green in Week 13, and must now get past tough West winner Northern Illinois to take home the championship title. In Buffalo’s favor is a 7-1 conference record where they dominated every team in the MAC save for Ohio. The line on neutral ground suggests that they're the MAC Championship free pick to make, but NIU has been a dominant presence in this game in past seasons. Northern Illinois returns to the championship game after a 2-year absence. Will the Huskies prove best, or will the Bulls show why they’re the favorites?

MAC CHAMPIONSHIP COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING Northern Illinois Huskies vs Buffalo Bulls Friday, November 30th – Ford Field – 7:00pm ET Odds: Buffalo -3 (49)

Huskies Look to End Losing Streak in Championship

From 2010 through 2015, the Northern Illinois Huskies made it to 6 straight MAC Championship games. The Huskies went 3-3 in those 6. The past couple of seasons have seen the Huskies finish behind their West Division rivals.

Now back in the championship, Northern Illinois believes it can beat the best regular season squad in the MAC. It won’t be easy. The Huskies most definitely don’t enter the championship on a high-note, making them slightly harder to back as the MAC Championship free pick despite recent success.

Northern Illinois has lost its last two games, both as a 6.5 favorite, and there’s some question if this Huskies team has fallen from its unbeatable MAC perch. Before the losses to Miami-Ohio and Western Michigan, they had run off 6 straight victories, including an impressive 7-6 win over BYU on the road.

For the Huskies to return to that form, they must get something going on the scoreboard where they rank 122nd in points per. Buffalo can score. Northern Illinois must score with them.

Buffalo Wants to Wear Crown After Dominant Season

Buffalo knows that the fantastic regular season’s a failure unless they win the conference. The Bulls were close to magical during the regular season. They were great in out-of-conference matchups, beating Temple and Rutgers on the road, and only losing to Army.

The Bulls play fast-paced when they’ve got the ball, rushing and passing equally well. When on defense, Buffalo often takes chances because they usually play with the lead. For the Bulls to win their first MAC Championship since 2008, they have to turn this game in to a track meet.

Northern Illinois tends to struggle when they must play from behind. Buffalo knows this and will try to pressure the Huskies from their first possession.

Northern Illinois vs Buffalo Analysis and Pick

Early action landed on Northern Illinois so that they went form +4 dogs to +3 dogs. Since the early action, the money’s started to flow to the Buffalo Bulls, who are getting a ton of the action facing a tight line. The Bulls have become the team to back, which makes sense based on the trends.

Northern Illinois is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 after allowing 100 yards rushing in their previous, but they’re also 4-16-1 ATS in their last 21 at a neutral site. Buffalo is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 in the conference, 5-1 ATS versus a team with a winning record, and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 following a straight up win.

The Bulls have been the more consistent of the two, beating opponents and covering spreads. Buffalo is a fantastic 9-3 ATS overall this season while the Huskies are only 6-6 ATS. The Bulls should dominate this game from the outset. They’re the play against a weak spread.

MAC Championship Free Pick: Buffalo -3