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Week 3: Wisconsin vs. Northern Illinois Preview & Free Pick

Northern Illinois (1-1) vs No. 8 Wisconsin (2-0) Gambling Preview + Predictions

Soldier Field will be the site of an interesting matchup between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Northern Illinois Huskies this Saturday. The game is being billed as the “Soldier Field Showdown II.”

Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter

This is a matchup of one of the best teams from the Big Ten against one of the best from the Mid American Conference. Neither team’s fan base will have far to travel, and the atmosphere should be electric.

Wisconsin vs. Northern Illinois
Soldier Field
Saturday September 17, 3:30 PM EST
NCAA Football Odds from BetOnline
Moneyline: Wisconsin (-800) Northern Illinois (+620)
College Football Spread: Wisconsin -17 (-110) Northern Illinois +17 (-110)
Over/Under: 64
Wisconsin vs. NI ATS Gambling Stats –>

The Wisconsin Badgers have absolutely demolished both of their first two opponents this season. They opened the year with a 51-17 victory over UNLV. Last weekend they blanked Oregon State 35-0. Russell Wilson has been spectacular in his first two games as the Badgers starting quarterback. Wilson has completed a stunning 79.4% of his passes. He also has five touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Badgers running game is as dominant as ever this year. James White and Montee Ball form one of the nation’s best tailback tandems. Nick Toon is the Badgers big play wide receiver, but James Pederson has been big with three touchdown catches already this year.

It will be the Badgers defense that decides just how far this team can go in 2011. Wisconsin has one of the best offenses in the land, but the defense does have some question marks. Can the team start getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks? Devin Smith and Michael Trotter are both injured in the secondary, so the team’s depth is definitely being tested right now. Chris Borland has become the team leader on this defense.

Northern Illinois lost a heartbreaker last weekend in Kansas. The Huskies had the lead for much of the game, but they fell 45-42 to the Jayhawks. Chandler Harnish is a terrific quarterback for the Huskies. Harnish is one of the best quarterbacks that most people haven’t heard of before. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

He is a terrific runner, but he also does a great job making solid decisions in the passing game. Jasmin Hopkins is averaging 6.9 yards per carry from the running back spot. This is a Northern Illinois team that can run the football as well as just about anyone in the country, because of their strong offensive line and talented skill position players.

The Huskies defense isn’t nearly as good as their offense. Kansas rolled up 534 yards of total offense against this unit last weekend. The Jayhawks were a ridiculous 13 for 18 on third down conversion attempts. They were also two for two on fourth down attempts. Northern Illinois allowed Army to run for 303 yards, and Kansas ran for 253 yards the next week.

I really like the Northern Illinois offense, but the defense appears to be completely outclassed here.

The Badgers running game is extremely tough to stop, and I expect them to run at will against the Huskies.

NCAA Gambling Trends:

WISC are 8-0-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
Over is 7-1-1 in WISC last 9 games on fieldturf.
Over is 8-3-1 in WISC last 12 games overall.

Free College Football Pick: Wisconsin -17
Score Prediction: Wisconsin 45 Northern Illinois 24

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About Kyle Hunter

Kyle Hunter sports picks – A degree in finance and a great ability to follow important trends and statistics set him apart from the rest. Totals are Kyle's specialty, so look for a lot of totals picks from NBA, NCAAF, & the NFL. Check out his plays today.