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Free Picks: Marshall vs. NIU Gambling Lines & Boca Raton Bowl Preview

Boca Raton Bowl: Thundering Herd vs Huskies

College bowl action sees the Marshall Thundering Herd taking on the Northern Illinois Huskies in Boca Raton, Florida. Cappers Picks provides free NCAA football handicapping tips all season long.

A pair of conference champions battle in the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl Tuesday night. One loss Marshall and two loss Northern Illinois meet for the first time since the 2001 season.

College Football Odds

Marshall Thundering Herd (12-1) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (11-2)
Tuesday, Dec. 23
6:00 PM ET
FAU Football Stadium (Boca Raton, Florida)
ESPN
College Football Betting Lines: Marshall -10
College Football O/U: 67
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Marshall

Although Marshall had aspirations of playing in a New Years Day Bowl game, settling for a contest with the MAC Champions is just fine in their book. Marshall saw their perfect season come to an end at the hands of Western Kentucky, but they still managed to rally late against Louisiana Tech and win the Conference USA Championship two weeks ago. Had Marshall not rallied against Louisiana Tech, they’d probably be looking at a bowl game against a lesser opponent.

The Thundering Herd brings in one of the most prolific offenses in college football. They rank 18th overall in pass yards (287.8), 7th in rush yards (275.6), and 5th in points scored (45.1). Marshall scored less than 35 points in just two of their games this season.

Led by Senior QB Rakeem Cato, the Thundering Herd offense has thrown for a total of 3,741 yards. On the ground, RB Devon Johnson has rushed for 1,636 yards and 16 touchdowns.

While the Offense typically steals the spotlight, the Marshall defense has been just as dominant. The defense allows just 20.8 points a game (22nd), to go along with the 351.8 yards allowed per game.

Northern Illinois

The Huskies come in rolling along with 7 straight wins, including an absolute beat down of Bowling Green in MAC Championship game.

Northern Illinois put up 552 total yards in the 51-17 victory, including 4 second half touchdowns to make the win convincing.

The Huskies offensive success comes from Senior RB Cameron Stingily. Stingily averaged 5.1 yards per rush in the 2014 regular season. To go along with that, Stingily rushed for 13 total touchdowns. Northern Illinois ranks 14th in the country with 252.9 yards a game.

QB Drew Hare comes in with one of the best touchdown to interception ratios in the nation. Hare has thrown for 17 touchdowns to only 2 interceptions. During the current 7 game winning streak, Hare has thrown for just 1 interception.

Northern Illinois has dropped it’s last two bowl appearances. Their most recent appearance saw the Huskies fall 21-14 to Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl.

Both Marshall and Northern Illinois bring in dominant rushing attacks. The difference between the two lies within their tempo.

NCAA Football Handicapping Trends:

  • Thundering Herd are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.
  • Thundering Herd are 8-3 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Huskies are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a ATS win.
  • Huskies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 bowl games
  • Under is 4-0 in Thundering Herd last 4 Bowl games.

Boca Raton Bowl

Marshall likes to get to the line quick, while the Huskies like to control the clock and win time of possession.

The key to victory here is getting out to an early lead and forcing the other team to get out of their normal offensive strategy.

Free 4* Boca Raton Bowl Pick: Northern Illinois +10

While the Marshall coaching staff is pleased with their bowl placement, fans of the Thundering Herd were upset they were taking on another MAC team.

Northern Illinois 41, Marshall 37

With a negative vibe surrounding Marshall, look for an excited Northern Illinois bunch to come away with an outright, upset win.

Check out our Updated College Football Bowl Game Odds.



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About Tony M

Tony is new to Cappers Picks and has been betting on sports since the first day he turned 18. He is a 22 year old Cleveland native who lives and breathes Indians baseball. His dream is to be part of a championship celebration at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.


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