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2021 MAC Championship Game odds, spread: Northern Illinois vs. Kent State picks, predictions from proven model

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 12/4/2021 CBS Sports Staff
Oct 13, 2018; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; General view of the LSU band before the game against Georgia Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium. © Provided by CBS Sports

Oct 13, 2018; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; General view of the LSU band before the game against Georgia Bulldogs at Tiger Stadium.

The Kent State Golden Flashes can win just the second MAC title in program history when they take on the Northern Illinois Huskies in the 2021 MAC Championship Game on Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit. Kent State (7-5) last won the MAC title in 1972, long before the inception of the conference championship game. For Saturday, the team will wear gold helmets with the logo of the 1972 team. Meanwhile Northern Illinois (8-4) is looking for its sixth MAC title in program history. The Huskies last won the conference championship in 2018. 

Kickoff is noon ET. The Golden Flashes are 3.5-point favorites in the latest Kent State vs. Northern Illinois odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 74.5. Before making any Northern Illinois vs. Kent State picks or MAC Championship Game 2021 predictions, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,700 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters Championship Week 2021 on a 42-28 run on all top-rated college football side picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now the model has dialed in on Kent State vs. NIU and just revealed its picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see all of the model's college football picks. Now, here are the college football odds and betting trends for NIU vs. Kent State:  

  • Kent State vs. Northern Illinois spread: Golden Flashes -3.5
  • Kent State vs. Northern Illinois over-under: 74.5 points 
  • Kent State vs. Northern Illinois money line: Golden Flashes -160, Huskies +140 
  • KSU: Kent State averages 247.2 rushing yards per game, which ranks third in the country 
  • NIU: Northern Illinois leads the country in fourth-down conversion percentage (82.6)
Featured Game| Northern Illinois Huskies vs. Kent State Golden Flashes
Moneyline
Spread
Total
NILL
+140
BET NOW
+3.5
-110
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o75.5
-110
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KENTST
-160
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-3.5
-110
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u75.5
-110
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Why the Golden Flashes can cover

Kent State has one of the best running backs in the conference in Marquez Cooper. A 5-foot-7 sophomore from Gaithersburg, Md., Cooper averages 89.6 rushing yards per game, which ranks third in the conference. When the Golden Flashes faced Northern Illinois last month, Cooper ran for a career-high 173 yards and two touchdowns.

In addition, Kent State has won the turnover battle all season. The Golden Flashes have forced 24 turnovers this season while committing just nine. The +1.25 turnover margin per game ranks second in the country.

Why the Huskies can cover

Northern Illinois quarterback Rocky Lombardi and receiver Trayvon Rudolph had school record-setting performances the last time these teams met. On Nov. 3, Lombardi completed 33-of-57 passes for a school-record 532 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Meanwhile Rudolph, a second-year freshman, had 14 catches for a MAC-record 309 receiving yards and three touchdowns (of 36, 75 and 34 yards). Rudolph's performance was just the 25th 300-yard receiving day in FBS history.

In addition, the Huskies have dominated the series against Kent State. Northern Illinois has won 10 of the last 11 games against the Golden Flashes. The average score in those meetings has been 32-19 in favor of the Huskies.

How to make Kent State vs. Northern Illinois picks

SportsLine's model is leaning under on the point total, projecting the teams to combine for 73 points. It also has an against-the-spread pick that cashes in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can see the model's Northern Illinois vs. Kent State pick only at SportsLine.

So who wins Kent State vs. Northern Illinois? And which side is covering almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Northern Illinois vs. Kent State spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is on a 42-28 run on top-rated picks, and find out.

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