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2021 MAC Championship Game Odds and Picks – Kent State vs Northern Illinois

Ryan Bolta

by Ryan Bolta in College Football

Updated Dec 1, 2021 · 6:06 AM PST

Dustin Crum rolling out of pocket
Kent State quarterback Dustin Crum (7) throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
  • Kent State (7-5) faces Northern Illinois (8-4) in the MAC championship game at Ford Field on Saturday at noon eastern on ESPN
  • Kent State is one of only two teams in the MAC to have never won the conference championship
  • Below are the odds and team breakdowns to wager on ahead of kickoff

The MAC Championship game just so happens to be a rematch of one of the most entertaining tilts of the season.

Kent State and Northern Illinois will battle for conference supremacy at Ford Field on Saturday at noon eastern on ESPN. The Golden Flashes won the first meeting a month and one day before the title game 52-47.

How do these teams stack up now? Let’s take a deep dive into both programs to settle on the best bet prior to kickoff.

Kent State vs Northern Illinois Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Kent State -3.5 (-106) -170 O 74.5 (-115)
Northern Illinois +3.5 (-114) +130 U 74.5 (-105)

Odds as of November 30th at FanDuel

Kent State Aiming for First MAC Championship

Kent State is a 3.5 point favorite in the MAC championship but they almost weren’t in the game at all. They earned a birth with an electric 48-47 overtime win over Miami (OH) last week. Both teams scored in the first overtime but the RedHawks opted to try a two-point conversion that would have sent them to Detroit instead of Kent State. The attempt failed, and now it’s the Golden Flashes with a shot at the conference crown.

Quarterback Dustin Crum is a player worthy of extra attention heading in. A true dual threat quarterback, Crum tallied 15 passing touchdowns and 11 rushing touchdowns this year. When he’s airing it out, wide receiver Dante Cephas is his favorite target. Cephas racked up 1,022 yards and eight touchdowns this season and is known to stretch the field with his speed.


On the ground Kent State relies on running back Marquez Cooper to compliment Crum. Just like his quarterback, Cooper also finished the regular season with 11 touchdowns. He racked up 1,075 yards on the ground and ran for over 100 yards six different times this season. All of this is to say there are no shortage of weapons for the Golden Flashes to rely on.

Northern Illinois Stumbles Into MAC Championship

The Huskies are lucky they didn’t need a winning performance to lock up a spot in the title game because their last performance was forgettable. They were doubled up 42-21 by Western Michigan and don’t seem to be riding the same positive vibes as Kent State coming into this game.

Quarterback Rocky Lombardi is the ace in the hole for Northern Illinois. He’s also a dual threat that racked up 2,314 passing yards to go along with 389 rushing yards. In total he finished the year with 18 total touchdowns and seven turnovers. Lombardi won’t be shy to take shots on offense and will likely need to for the Huskies to keep up with the powerful Kent State offense.

Head coach Thomas Hammock has a big challenge trying to stop the Golden Flashes in this game. Kent State is 6-0 straight up and 6-0 against the spread when scoring 34 points or more. In the first match up the Golden Flashes cleared that number quite comfortably, so Hammock will need to make adjustments.

Trust Kent State to Cover the Number

Kent State is 5-1 against the spread this season when favored by more than three points. They take advantage when presented with opportunities and they will again under the bright lights at Ford Field. The Golden Flashes are one of only two MAC programs to have never won the conference championship. That changes on Saturday and they’ll cover the spread as well.

  • The Pick: Kent State -3.5 (-106)
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