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Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois ATS Picks

NCAAF Week 12 Wednesday Pick

The door to the MAC West was jarred open last week when Toledo was beaten by Ohio. Now, the Northern Illinois Huskies and Western Michigan Broncos both have a shot at claiming the division crown and a spot in the MAC Championship Game. Neither one quite controls their own destiny, but they'd have to feel good about winning their last two games and getting a little help from some friends to win the division. As a result, Wednesday's game between these two will effectively serve as an eliminator for both teams.

Western Michigan Broncos vs. Northern Illinois Huskies
Date and Time
: Wednesday, November 14, 2017, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Huskie Stadium, DeKalb, IL
Opening College Football Odds: Northern Illinois -10
Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois TV Coverage: ESPN2

The combinations of possibilities over the course of these last two games of the year in the MAC West are borderline ridiculous. The one thing we know for sure is that Toledo controls its own destiny. Two wins for the Rockets, and they're in the MAC Championship Game.

Though that's the most likely scenario, Western Michigan is in really good shape right now as well. The Broncos do finish their year at Northern Illinois and at Toledo, but wins in those games and a Northern Illinois win over Central Michigan next week would send the Broncos to the MAC title game.

Northern Illinois could still win the MAC West with two wins to end the season and a Toledo loss to Western Michigan.

Ironically, the winner of this game is going to be rooting hard for loser of this one to not give up next week to keep their conference title dreams alive.

Western Michigan is in this spot thanks to the fact that it suffered a pair of inexplicable home losses to Akron and Central Michigan in conference play. The team has been great on the road, beating Buffalo and Eastern Michigan in a pair of overtime games to stay in the title race, but these two duels are obviously the biggest of the year.

Northern Illinois has largely done what was expected of it this year. The team upset Nebraska but lost to both Boston College and San Diego State in close games. A 27-17 loss at home to Toledo wasn't totally unexpected, and last week's 63-17 romp over Ball State was proof of just how dangerous this team can be when it's operating at its best.

Key Player

With Jon Wassink out for at least the next two games with a collarbone injury, the offense for Western Michigan boils down to how well freshman Reece Goddard can handle the pressure.

Last week's win over Kent State was a good game to get his feet wet, but we know that tallying 389 yards against a team like Northern Illinois isn't going to cut it. The Golden Flashes have a woeful offense that was never going to keep up if the Broncos got into the 30s in scoring. The Huskies are a far different story.

Goddard is a mobile threat, but he's an awful passer. The frosh has completed just 40 percent of his passes this year and has 35 runs for 35 yards and a touchdown in limited duty.

Western Michigan vs. Northern Illinois Free Picks

We can't trust Goddard in a situation like this. Jarvion Franklin is a great tailback, and he's going to make some plays in this game, but Northern Illinois has a top-25 defense nationally and should contain this WMU offense.

Though Marcus Childers is also a freshman and isn't playing at a particularly high level at the moment either, he's coming off of a four-touchdown showing against Ball State and should be full of confidence.

This could be a slugfest in the end, but we'll gladly play Northern Illinois at our favorite online sportsbook in its quest to save its season and get back into the MAC Championship Game.

College Football ATS Pick: Northern Illinois -10 at
College Football Score Prediction: Northern Illinois 30, Western Michigan 17