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Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Western Michigan Broncos
NCAAB: Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 4:30 PM EST
Northern Illinois heads north to the University Arena to take on a reeling Western Michigan team in MAC action. Northern Illinois (17-11 10-5 MAC) beat Western Michigan (11-17 4-11 MAC) earlier this season at home and hope to sweep the season series facing a Broncos team that has lost five in a row.
Closer to the PrizeNorthern Illinois has won two in a row getting closer to winning the MAC West Division where they have a one-game lead over Ball State. There are three games remaining in the regular season for the Huskies and they recently lost to Ball State a few games back and host them in their season finale. In their last game, they were on the road beating Eastern Michigan 73-71 where Eugene German nailed a career-high seven 3-pointers and scored a season-high 27 points.
It's worth watching over, and over, and over, and over! https://t.co/Z5ZxvdQULF— NIU Men's Basketball (@GoHuskiesMBB) February 26, 2020
The Huskies covered in that game as a 4-point road dog while failing to cover the spread in their previous two games. While the Huskies were outscored by 15 points from the free-throw line they held the Eagles to 42.3% shooting, and they shot 45.8% from the floor and had a solid 3-pt FG% of 42.4 (14-33). On the season the Huskies are 7-8 on the road.
German (20.9 ppg) is the only player on NIU that is averaging over 9 ppg and he has totaled 50 points and 13 rebounds in his last two games. Lacey James (8.9 ppg 7.8 rpg) is the second leading scorer and leading rebounder for the team and he had foul trouble in the last game only playing 14 minutes and scoring three points with three rebounds.
It Helps to ScoreWestern Michigan is one of the lowest-scoring teams in the nation averaging 66.4 ppg and in their five-game losing streak they have failed to reach their season average four times. In their last game, they were on the road and lost to Ball State 71-61 where they were outscored by 17 points in the first half and only shot 38.9% from the floor allowing the Cardinals to shoot 43.8%. The Broncos failed to cover the spread in the game as a 9.5-point road dog and have failed to cover in four of their last five games. Earlier in the season at home WMU lost to NIU 58-52 where they played good D but only shot 33.3% from the field.
Michael Flowers (16.4 ppg) and Brandon Johnson (14.9 ppg 8 rpg) are the top two scorers for the Broncos and the only ones averaging over 7.5 ppg. Flowers has only totaled nine points in his last two games and Johnson had gone for a double-double in two straight games before the loss to Ball State where he had 12 points and seven rebounds. This season WMU is 8-5 at home.
According to the betting trends from Covers.com, the Western Michigan Broncos are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games
According to the betting trends from Covers.com, the Northern Illinois Huskies are:
- 8-3 AS in their last 11 games
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Northern Illinois has a lot to play for with three games left and a one-game lead over Ball State for the top spot in the MAC West Division. A reeling Western Michigan team still can finish out of the basement in the division but need a strong finish. Well, that will not happen in this game even at home. The Huskies are a more balanced team and they beat the Broncos at home earlier this season only giving up 52 points. Once again Western Michigan will struggle to score the pill and while NIU will not light up the scoreboard they will win comfortably and cover the spread.
Prediction: Northern Illinois
Full-Game Total Pick
I have to go with the Under in this game with Western Michigan one of the lowest-scoring teams in the nation. These teams only combined for 110 points in the first matchup, which went Under, and the Broncos have failed to reach their season average of 66.4 ppg in four of their last five games. The Broncos have lost their last two home games and in their last one they only put up 59 points. I look for this game to be much like the first one in a slow-paced defensive battle, so for this MAC matchup, the Under is THE way to go.