Looking for MAC 2018 Football Conference betting picks? There could be a new dominant team in the MAC, as John Bonamego has recruited a depth of talent to this squad. In 2018, the MAC conference looks like a 3 team race between Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Ohio. Which one of these teams has enough balance to win it all?
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Northern Illinois Huskies
Projected Win Total: 8.5
Odds To Win MAC Championship: +300
Odds To Win NCAAF Championship: +100000
Reasons Northern Illinois Will Win The MAC
The Huskies boast one of the best defensive lines in the country, and it should keep them in every ball game. They are led by ultra-athletic All-American Sutton Smith, who could reach 17 sacks and gain another All-American nod.
If Smith is healthy teams will also have to Ben Leroy who is a stout defensive tackle with 37 tackles last season. As a whole, the defensive line notched 114 tackles for a loss and should be even more dominant this season.
The dynamic QB could be in for a huge 2018 season, as he comes back this year as the returning leader in rushing yards. NIU likes to pound the rock down their opponent’s throats but I think Childers will be able to keep defenses honest throwing the ball down the field.
It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see him throw for over 2200 yards and rush for 800 with 25 scores for the season.
Offensive Line Experience
The Huskies bring back a unit with 111 combined starts, which is 10th highest in the nation. The ability to protect Marcus Childers will be the key, as he should be the main piece that makes this offense go.
Senior left tackle Max Scharping should be a lock for an all-conference nod if he stays healthy, and a unit that ran for over 200 yards per game in conference play in 2017 might be able to top those numbers this season.
Look for a few potential contenders to either come out of the gate stumbling or hit stretches of hiccups during the mid-season lulls. Don’t expect either of those from this Northern Illinois team.
Toughest Conference Games at Home
When You look at the Huskies schedule you see a tough stretch of games from Sept 22nd to Oct 6th. All 3 games are on the road starting with Florida State, then a trip to Eastern Michigan, and ending it at Ball St.
If NIU can get through that stretch at 2-1, they could line themselves up nicely for a big push in conference play. The other contenders for the MAC title? They come to Dekalb.
Right after that road trip, they play Ohio at home for Homecoming weekend. The second week of November they get Toledo at home which could be a matchup for the division title. Huskies fans should circle those two games on the schedule because last year the Huskies only gave up 100 yards rushing at home in conference play.
Stopping the run early could lead to short fields against both of these teams, and give them an easy path to the MAC title game.
Toledo Breaks in a new QB
The best thing the Huskies have in their favor? The fact that Toledo will be looking to put transfer Eli Peters in at QB to start the season.
There’s no way he will be able to match Logan Woodside’s numbers last year.
He has excellent receivers to throw the ball to, but I think the NIU defensive line will give him fits, and it should be the downfall of the team they will fade down the stretch.
I originally had the Huskies going 8-4 in my previous post, but looking at their schedule again I think games at Utah and Iowa could be swing games.
It will all boil down to the matchups against Ohio and Toledo which they both get at home. If the Huskies can come out of both of those games with victories they should make the MAC title game for the 7th time in 9 years.
What do you think about our 2018 MAC Conference Prediction? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2018!
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