Buffalo and Northern Illinois will kick off their season on Thursday evening. After voting to delay the season, the MAC decided to restart the season after the Big Ten and PAC-12 followed suit.
The game starts at 7:00 P.M. Eastern on Wednesday and airs on ESPN.
The Bulls are coming off an impressive 8-5 season, winning six of their last seven games, including a win in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl against Charlotte 31-9. The Huskies are coming off a disappointing 5-7 season, but they did win four of their last seven to finish .500 in MAC play.
Buffalo Betting Preview
Buffalo is feeling pretty good about the trajectory of their program after their first bowl win in program history. The Bulls return arguably their best player in running back Jaret Patterson.
Patterson rushed for just under 1,800 yards last season with 19 touchdowns. Not only was he the best running back in the MAC, but he also ranked No. 5 in the nation in yards last season.
It is not just Patterson who will worry defenses as his running mate, Kevin Marks, also ran for over 1,000 yards last season. The big question mark for the offense will be the line, which only returns two starters from last season.
Kyle Vantrease returns at quarterback, but he was more of a game manager last season. Patterson and Marks did the heavy lifting, but Vantrease did throw for 1,192 yards with eight touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Last year, along with the running game, the defense was the strength of the Bulls. Buffalo held their last two opponents to a combined 16 points.
Northern Illinois Betting Preview
The Huskies will be looking to rebuild in 2020. They are picked to finish at the bottom of the conference and lost many key pieces off last year’s team.
One player Northern Illinois does return is quarterback Ross Bowers. Bowers completed 166-of-287 passes for 2,130 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Their leading returning rusher is back-up quarterback Marcus Childers, who could push Bowers for playing time if he struggles with turnovers. Childers completed 48-of-82 passes last season with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
The Huskies defense, which was extremely hot and cold last year, will have many new faces. Overall, NIU is one of the youngest teams in the nation, with more than 60 freshmen and only 30 upperclassmen.
Bulls/Huskies Betting Lines
Mybookie has Buffalo as 10.5-point favorites. The total has not been set, but should be relatively low.
Free Betting Pick
I was really hoping this number would come out in the high 40s, low 50s for a total. Whenever they do post a total, you should feel comfortable taking the under. Buffalo loves to run and will be able to score, but is not explosive.
The Huskies are not going to be able to score much in this one. I like Buffalo -10.5, but I will be playing the under if it is 46 points or more.
Spooky Express Free Pick: Buffalo -10.5