Northern Illinois Huskies vs Kentucky Wildcats Prediction, Picks and Game Preview - 09/24/2022

by Rod Pearson

Game Time: 7:00 pm ET, Saturday, September 24, 2022
Venue:  Kroger Field, Lexington, KY 
Where to Watch:  ESPN2


Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Point Spread:  NIU +26.5, Kentucky -26.5; Over/Under:  53.5 points
Bet365:  Point Spread:  NIU +26.5, Kentucky -26.5; Over/Under:  53 points
BetMGM:  Point Spread:  NIU +26.5, Kentucky -26.5; Over/Under:  52.5 points

Season Record

Northern Illinois Huskies:  1-2 (5th place, MAC West)
Kentucky Wildcats:  3-0 (2nd place, SEC East)
Do not miss out on our expert handicapper analysis! Kyle Hunter is on a RUN of 13-0 Last 13 Football Selections! Make sure you check out his picks and many more from the expert handicappers featured in the Shop Picks section.
Recent Form
Northern Illinois Huskies:  lost their last game at home against the Vanderbilt Commodores 38-28.
Kentucky Wildcats:  won their last game at home against the Youngstown State Penguins 31-0.


Northern Illinois Huskies vs Kentucky Wildcats Preview and Analysis

NIU is entering this game with a 1-2 record overall to start their college football season and they will be playing their 2nd road game of the season here as they are 0-1 in their road games this year. They lost against the Vanderbilt Commodores in their last game at home 38-28. Ethan Hampton started that game at QB and he completed 12/19 passes for 124 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception. Antario Brown led the team in rushing with 60 yards and 1 TD on 8 rushing attempts. Cole Tucker led the team in receiving with 88 yards and 2 TDs on 4 receptions. Javaughn Byrd led the defense in that game with 5 solo tackles and 2 assisted tackles. No one on the defense recorded a sack for them or came away with an interception in that one.
Kentucky is entering this game with a 3-0 record overall to start their college football season and they will be playing their 3rd home game of the season as they are 2-0 in their home games this year. They won against the Youngstown State Penguins in their last game at home 31-0. Will Levis started that game at QB and he completed 27/35 passes for 377 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. Kavosiey Smoke led the team in rushing with 66 yards and 1 TD on 18 carries. Dane Key led the team in receiving with 90 yards and 1 TD on 6 receptions. Jordan Wright led the defense in that game with 3 solo tackles and 1 assisted tackle. Darrion Henry-Young led the defense in sacks with 1 while Carrington Valentine came away with the only interception for them in that one.


Northern Illinois vs Kentucky Prediction

The current betting odds have NIU listed as a 26.5 point underdog in this game according to Draftkings Sportsbook. NIU just lost at home to Vanderbilt but they played well in that game at home, only losing by 10 points to a team from the SEC. Now they are on the road but NIU does have a good team and this is a program that is normally always competing for a title in their conference. Kentucky has been having a great season so far as they are undefeated and just pulled off a huge win at home against YSU where they shut them out, but even the week before they went on the road and beat Florida by 10 points. This is a very good Kentucky team this year but they have a great defense that really wins their games for them. Their offense is not great, they do enough to get the job done but they do not score a lot of points in their games. Even if NIU didn't score at all in this game, Kentucky would use their defense more to win the game as they would not need much offense. Kentucky's defense is not that good where they will keep NIU completely off the board though and NIU will score some points to keep this game closer. Kentucky will always be at an arm's length in this game because of their defense though and they will not need to score a lot of points to win once again. The best way to place a bet here is on NIU to cover the spread in this game.
Northern Illinois Kentucky Prediction:  Our NCAAF Pick for Saturday, September 24, 2022 (7:00 pm ET start time) is Kentucky 31 NIU 13.
Don't miss our champion handicappers free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Northern Illinois Huskies Kentucky Wildcats prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our weekly NCAAF predictions and previews.

NCAAF Betting Trends

Northern Illinois Huskies: 51-26 ATS as a road underdog. 87-53 ATS in road games. 6-1 OVER when the total is between 49.5 and 56. 
Kentucky Wildcats: 17-33 ATS after gaining 325 or more passing yards in last game. 8-4 OVER as a favorite of 21.5 to 31 points. 44-27 OVER as a home favorite.

Key Injuries

Northern Illinois Huskies:  R. Lombardi (QB) Ques Sat - Knee. T. Rudolph (WR) out for season - Knee.
Kentucky Wildcats:  J. McClain (RB) Ques Sat - Undisclosed. C. Rodriguez Jr. (RB) Elig Oct 1 - Suspension. R. Jefferson (RB) out for season - Knee.

Notable Quotes

"I thought he (Hampton) handled it well. I thought he was prepared and he's taken a lot of snaps. Obviously he's played just one game of football for us but he came in and was able to execute the offense. But when your backup quarterback comes in everybody else around him has to play better." - Thomas Hammock after his team’s loss against Vanderbilt in their last game.
"Just appreciative to get this opportunity. The great coaches that have been here, way back starting in 2013. The commitment from Mitch (Barnhart), Mark (Hill), Dr. Capilouto, you know, it's been a group effort. Really greatly appreciate all the past coaches from from the dog days, you know, early on till now, because there's been a bunch of really good people and great players...such appreciation for the players all the way back to 2013 till now. I love each and every one of them. And it's really fun." - Mark Stoops on becoming the winningest coach in Kentucky history.

Starting Lineups

Northern Illinois Huskies
WR Tucker, Cole
WR Thornton, Shemar
WR McCray, Fabian 
TE Soraghan, Liam
TE Tewes, Tristen
QB Lombardi, Rocky
RB Brown, Antario
FB Lampe, Brock 
Kentucky Wildcats
WR Key, Dane 
WR Brown, Barion
WR Robinson, Tayvion 
TE Bates, Brenden
TE/FB Dingle, Jordan
QB Levis, Will
RB Smoke, Kavosiey 

Statistical Leaders

Northern Illinois Huskies
Passing: R. Lombardi (530)
Rushing: A. Brown (203)
Receiving: C. Tucker (278)
Touchdowns: C. Tucker (3) 
Kentucky Wildcats
Passing: W. Levis (882)
Rushing: K. Smoke (178)
Receiving: D. Key (226)
Touchdowns: D. Key (3)
Northern Illinois Huskies: Thomas Hammock (4th season)
Kentucky Wildcats: Mark Stoops (10th season)

Rod Pearson

About the Author:

Rod Pearson has been a rabid sports fan his entire life.  He grew up in Ontario, and was skilled in both hockey and baseball, and pitched in an elite baseball league for many years.  In 2022, Rod decided to hang up his glove, so that he could write about the sports he loves -- but from a gambling perspective.  Join Rod every day as he breaks down the games to find the best betting value.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2022 Al McMordie's All Rights Reserved.