MetroBet takes a look at a pair of college football conference championship games that will take place Friday night.
Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Buffalo Bulls (-3.5)
Moneyline: Huskies +145, Bulls -165
Betting Total: 49 points
The Northern Illinois Huskies and Buffalo Bulls will meet on Friday night at Ford Field in Detroit, MI (7 p.m., ESPN2) to determine the winner of the Mid-American Conference for 2018.
The favored Bulls lost just two games all season and amassed a solid 9-3 record against the spread. Their offense is firing on all cylinders heading into the MAC title game, as they’ve topped 40 points in three of their last four contests. Quarterback Tyree Jackson has taken a backseat as tailback tandem Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks have run wild on the competition. They’ll face Northern Illinois’ 13th-ranked run stoppers, but they should be able to keep the defense honest.
Jackson is by far the better passer in this game, as his opposite number is Marcus Childers, who has almost as many rushing attempts as the Huskies’ leading halfback, Tre Harbison. Childers has a poor 11-9 TD-to-INT ratio on the year and averages just over five yards per attempt.
Considering Northern Illinois limps into this game off consecutive losses to Miami (OH) and Western Michigan in which they averaged just 14 points, they’ll need a very strong showing from their defense. Buffalo is no offensive dynamo but they should be able to outpace Northern Illinois’ scorers.
Prediction: Buffalo wins, 31-24
The play: Buffalo -3.5
Utah Utes vs. Washington Huskies (-5.5)
Moneyline: Utes +190, Huskies -210
Betting Total: 44.5 points
The Pac-12 Championship will be decided at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA on Friday night (8 p.m., FOX) as the Utah Utes and Washington Huskies square off.
Washington has been a spread-bettors nightmare this season, going 3-9 despite their 9-3 straight-up record. They were blessed by a Saturday night snowstorm in Pullman last week, which helped them slow down the Cougars’ aerial assault and grab their first cover since Sept. 29. That victory boosted their road record to a mediocre 3-3.
Myles Gaskin will attempt to lead the way on the ground for Washington, but Utah’s fifth-rated run stoppers will offer staunch resistance. The Utes are among the toughest teams in the country to score on, as they’re 16th in points per game allowed. However, Washington won’t let Utah run away with this game, as their defense is 10th by the same metric.
The difference-maker in this one should be Utes tailback Zack Moss, who has over 1,000 yards rushing this season and averages almost a yard per carry more than Gaskin.
Prediction: Utah wins, 23-20
The play: Utah +5.5