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Ball State vs. NIU picks, best bets for Week 11 MACtion matchup

The Cardinals and Huskies meet in a game for the diehards only. Here’s how to watch and make money on it.

Ball State Cardinals head coach Mike Neu on the sideline against the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes MACtion weeknight games on don’t have much to play for, but a bowl game is still possible for the home team when the Ball State Cardinals take on the NIU Huskies on Tuesday, November 7. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET, and the game will air on CBS Sports Network.

Ball State (2-7, 1-4 MAC) is 130th by offensive SP+ out of 133 teams this season, but a 24-21 loss at Bowling Green last Wednesday showed they’re closing stronger on the season. Quarterback Kiael Kelly only threw the ball 19 times for 66 yards, but the ground game was solid with 49 carries for 217 yards and three touchdowns.

NIU (5-4, 3-2 MAC) is all but eliminated from MAC contention thanks to their loss to West Division leading Toledo to end September, but there are plenty of postseason games that would love to host the former G5 Orange Bowl representative in the 2013 BCS. Former Michigan State QB Rocky Lombardi is finishing out his sixth season with 1658 yards passing and nine touchdowns so far this season.

SP+ Rankings

Ball State: 128 overall, 130 offense, 99 defense
NIU: 99 overall, 102 offense, 90 defense

Injury update

Ball State



Kacper Rutkiewicz - questionable (lower body)


Against The Spread in 2023

Ball State: 4-4-1 ATS
NIU: 4-5 ATS

Total in 2023

Ball State: Over 4-5
NIU: Over 5-4

Team Pace

Ball State: Play every 28.5 seconds of offense (111th)
NIU: Play every 27.8 seconds of offense (99th)

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: NIU -8.5
Total: 44
Moneyline: NIU -310, BSU +250

Opening line: NIU -10.5
Opening total: 43


46 degrees, cloudy, 12 MPH wind, 15% chance of rain

Our Best Bet for Ball State vs. NIU

Under 44

While neither of these teams are world-beaters, they have defenses that perform a bit above average for the MAC and can get stops. The Huskies allow just 325.6 a game and 5.1 yards per play, while the BSU offense is at just 293.7 and 4.7. Look for the Huskies to get an early lead at home on a Tuesday night, while killing enough of the clock in the second half to close the game under six scores.