2017 Quick Lane Bowl Betting Preview: Duke vs. Northern Illinois

2017 Quick Lane Bowl Betting Preview: Duke vs. Northern Illinois

Written by on December 26, 2017

There are three bowl games on Dec. 26 after none on Christmas. The only one on Tuesday to feature a Power 5 program against a Group of 5 school is the Quick Lane Bowl as Duke takes on Northern Illinois from Detroit. The ACC’s Blue Devils are less than a TD College Football betting favorite.

2017 Quick Lane Bowl Betting Preview: Duke vs. Northern Illinois

When: Tuesday, 5:15 PM ET Where: Ford Field, Detroit TV: ESPN Stream: WatchESPN Radio: Blue Devil IMG Sports Network (Duke) / WLBK AM 1360 (Northern Illinois) Opening Quick Lane Bowl Lines: Duke -5.5 (47)

Weather Forecast

  • Overcast: -11°C/12°F
  • Humidity: 62%
  • Precipitation: 7%
  • Wind: 9 mph W
  • Cloud Cover: 90%
  • Type of Stadium: N/A

Bowl History

It’s the fourth year of the Quick Lane Bowl. Rutgers won the first in 2014, 40-21 over North Carolina. Minnesota beat Central Michigan 21-14 the next year and Boston College beat Maryland 36-30 last year. That game was unique because a single player didn’t win the MVP Award but the entire Boston College defensive line did. In total, that group forced eight (8) sacks, 14 tackles for loss, recovered three (3) fumbles, and scored a defensive touchdown. The ACC is 1-1 in the game and the MAC 0-1. The Detroit Lions own, host and operate this game.

Why Bet on Duke?

The Blue Devils will make their 13th bowl game appearance and hold an all-time record of 4-8. Duke also has appeared in the Rose Bowl (1938 & 1941 seasons), Sugar Bowl (1944), Orange Bowl (1954 & 1957), Cotton Bowl (1960), All American Bowl (1989), Hall of Fame Bowl (1994), Belk Bowl (2012) Chick-Fil-A Bowl (2013), Hyundai Sun Bowl (2014) and New Era Pinstripe Bowl (2015). The Blue Devils enjoyed a successful start to the 2017 campaign with four consecutive victories – all by double digits – over N.C. Central, Northwestern, Baylor and chief rival North Carolina with the 27-17 triumph over the Tar Heels. However, a six-game losing streak followed that included four defeats by seven points or less ensued before the Blue Devils secured bowl eligibility with victories over Georgia Tech and Wake Forest in the final two weeks of the regular season, overcoming double digit deficits in both contests While QB Daniel Jones has been the centerpiece of the offense, the key to Duke’s late-season resurgence was a more balanced attack with Brittain Brown and Shaun Wilson carrying 53 times over the final two regular-season games. Wilson ranks second in the ACC in all-purpose yards per game (131.8) and has become the first player in Duke history to post multiple seasons with 1,500+ all-purpose yards. He has 1,581 all-purpose yards this year after logging 1,620 yards in 2016 Duke has allowed 24 or fewer points in 10 of 12 games this season. The Blue Devils rank fourth in the ACC in scoring defense by allowing 20.75 points per contest. The last season Duke yielded less than 21 points per game was in 1977 (20.09). Linebacker Joe Giles-Harris was named as the team’s MVP and was first-team All-ACC and second-team All-American. He has 117 tackles, 15.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, one INT, one caused fumble, four PBUs and seven quarterback pressures.  He leads all ACC linebackers in tackles for loss while ranking third in the league and tied for 20th in the nation in tackles per game (9.75).

Why Bet on Northern Illinois?

NIU finished the season in second-place in the MAC West Division with a 6-2 league record, 8-4 overall. The Huskies return to the bowl season after missing a bowl appearance last year, which snapped a MAC record streak of eight consecutive bowl appearances (2008-15). Fifth year Head Coach Rod Carey and the Huskies defeated Nebraska from the Big Ten earlier this season. Northern Illinois will be making its 12th bowl appearance as a member of the MAC (4-7 record in bowl games). The Huskies’ are 3-4 in seven previous games in Ford Field – all for the MAC Championship – beginning in 2005 and then in six consecutive seasons from 2010-15. NIU ranks in the Top 25 nationally in six defensive statistical categories, including total defense (18th), rushing defense (11th), pass efficiency defense (25th) and third down conversion percentage defense (6th). Behind NCAA individual leader and consensus All-American Sutton Smith, NIU leads the nation in team tackles for loss (8.8/game) and ranks second nationally in sacks per game (3.4) with 41 on the year. Is Norther Illinois a safe bet in the Quick Lane Bowl? Smith became just the second consensus All-American in NIU history, after running back LeShon Johnson, who was a unanimous All-American in 1993 after leading the nation in rushing and all-purpose yards. Smith leads the FBS in quarterback sacks with 14 and in tackles for loss with 28.5. He broke the NIU school records in both categories and also set the school mark with two fumble return touchdowns in 2017. MAC Freshman of the Year Marcus Childers makes his eighth career start at quarterback. He took over under center for NIU early in the MAC opener versus Kent State and has thrown for 1,440 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 454 yards and five scores on the season.

Latest Quick Lane Bowl Betting Trends

  • NIU is 1-4 ATS in the last 5 games
  • NIU is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
  • The total went OVER in 5 of NIUs’s last 6 games
  • Duke is 2-6 SU in the last 8 games
  • The total went UNDER in 9 of Duke’s last 10 games

Expert Prediction & Quick Lane Bowl Pick

Duke wins by a touchdown in what should be a low-scoring game.
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