Northern Illinois vs. UAB odds, line: 2018 Boca Raton Bowl picks by top-rated computer model on 45-25 roll

The 2018 Boca Raton Bowl pits the champions of Conference USA against the champions of the MAC, as UAB takes on Northern Illinois. The Blazers are one of the feel-good stories of the season after having their program shut down in 2015 and 2016. Now, they're making their second consecutive bowl appearance after falling to Ohio in last season's Bahamas Bowl. UAB opened as a 2.5-point favorite on Tuesday, but the line has dropped a full point ahead of kickoff and currently stands at 1.5. The Over-Under for total points has also dropped to 41 in the latest UAB vs. NIU odds after opening at 43.5. Check out the top UAB vs. Northern Illinois picks and predictions for the Boca Raton Bowl 2018 from the advanced computer model at SportsLine before committing to any of your own.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen massive returns. Over the past three years, this proprietary computer model has generated a jaw-dropping $4,210 profit for $100 bettors on its top-rated point-spread picks.

The model made some huge calls during Championship Week, including nailing Ohio State (-16.5) against Northwestern and Oklahoma (-9.5) against Texas. And when it comes to all top-rated picks, the model has been red-hot, entering the 2018 college football bowl season on a blistering 45-25 run. Anybody who has followed it is way, way up.

Now, the model has evaluated the latest 2018 Boca Raton Bowl odds and has simulated every possible play for UAB vs. Northern Illinois. We can tell you it is leaning toward the over, but it also says one side of the spread cashes well over 60 percent of the time. You can only see that pick at SportsLine.

The model knows that as both teams set their sights on Boca Raton Bowl 2018, the most important player on the field for Alabama Birmingham will be defensive lineman Jamell Garcia-Williams.

At 6-foot-8 and 255 pounds, Garcia-Williams is an imposing presence up front who uses his length to get into passing lanes and make life difficult for opposing quarterbacks. He's batted four balls down this season, but he also uses his long arms effectively as a pass-rusher, with 9.5 sacks on the year. UAB is 8-1 in games where Garcia-Williams registers at least a half-sack, so his ability to get to Northern Illinois quarterback Marcus Childers could swing the game in UAB's favor.

Alabama-Birmingham also has plenty of momentum, reaching double-digit wins after the school didn't field a team in 2015 and 2016. The Blazers also won the conference for the first time ever this year.

But UAB's feel-good story doesn't guarantee a cover against a powerful Northern Illinois squad. 

One potential advantage for NIU is that running back Tre Harbison has been a physical presence all season long. He has been a standout with five 100-yard games, including a 23-carry, 169-yard gem against Akron in which he also hit pay dirt. Three of his 100-yard games came in the last five weeks of the season, and the Huskies are 4-1 when Harbison crosses the 100-yard mark.

Northern Illinois is 5-3 against the spread on the road or at neutral sites this season and 3-2-1 ATS as an underdog or pick'em, while UAB has failed to cover three of its last four games. Straight-up, Northern Illinois has won seven of its last nine games, and between Sept. 29 and Nov. 7, the Huskies won six straight. Quarterback Marcus Childers is coming off an impressive performance in the MAC Championship Game in which he threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns.

Who wins Northern Illinois vs. UAB? And which side of the spread hits in well over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see the pick for the 2018 Boca Raton Bowl, all from the model that has returned over $4,000 in profit for $100 bettors, and find out. 

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