2023 Camellia Bowl – Arkansas St vs Northern Illinois

2023 Camellia Bowl – Arkansas St vs Northern Illinois

posted December 19

The Game


The Red Wolves, AWOOOOOO, bounced back nicely after losing their first two games to Oklahoma and Memphis by a combined count of 110-3 (!) and found their way to six wins and their first bowl bid since 2018. The Huskies roll into Montgomery with a similar 6-6 record and they achieved bowl eligibility by winning their final two games of the season (W Michigan, Kent St).

The Details

Arkansas St -3 Northern Illinois (53.5)

MEGALOCKS LINE – Arkansas St -3

“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Arkansas St 28.25 Northern Illinois 25.25

Arkansas St offense vs Northern Illinois defense

The Red Wolves don’t have the most potent offense around (#74 FBS rushing, #62 passing) but they DO have one of the most exciting young dual-threat QBs in the Group of Five in Jaylen Raynor (59%, 15-6 TD to INT, 9.0 YPA; 5 rush TD). Raynor has a very deep set of WRs to utilize in the THROW GAME and note that the top-four in terms of receiving yards ALL average 17+ YPC. The match-up that’ll decide the game is probably the WR group vs a stingy Northern Illinois secondary that ranked #2 in the MAC in pass efficiency defense whilst allowing a mere 11 TD passes during the regular season.

Northern Illinois offense vs Arkansas St defense

The Huskies are led by GRIZZLED VETERAN QB Rocky Lombardi who isn’t pretty at this stage of his career but he provides a solid leadership component to the offense and he’s proven to be clutch from time-to-time. It appears as tho Northern Illinois will have a fighting chance to move the ball in this game as their two best offensive players appear to be a “go” for this game as far as we know. RB Antario Brown will get a lot of work in this one (1,164, 6.2, 10 TD) and we’ve heard conflicting reports about #1 WR Trayvon Rudolph but it sounds like he took his name out of the portal and will be suiting up for the game. Arkansas St’s stop unit is sketchy to say the least (#124 total D, #115 run D, #118 pass efficiency D) and they’ll be missing a small handful of starters.

Trends, Intangibles and More!

Northern Illinois is 4-10 (!) all-time in bowl action and their last postseason win came back in 2011 when they defeated……WAIT FOR IT……..WAIT FOR IT……..Arkansas St in the GoDaddy.com Bowl…….The Red Wolves haven’t played in a bowl game since 2018 but HC Butch Jones has won four times in six tries……The Huskies took down Boston College and only lost to Toledo on the road by two points…..Trivia BANGER…….Arkansas St has the distinction of being one of the only teams in the history of time to have allowed 70 points in a game and scored 70 points in a game in the same season.


We believe that Arkansas St will be the more motivated bunch and definitely prefer their HC. The problem? Arkansas St plays no defense and the Huskies are probably crafty enough to figure out how to move the ball. Tough call at the current price of -3.


No leanage

‘Official play’ implies this pick is one of our favorites of the week (perceived value, match-up, coaching, trends, etc.). We’re currently playing these picks for the same amount as the leans but it’s up to you how you want to manage your bankroll. Please see the Week in Review posts for more detail.

‘Lean’ implies we are placing a wager on the game.

‘No leanage’ implies we won’t have any action on the game.

Team totalsWe list the implied number based on the point spread and total when our analysis is posted. If a team total ends up being an official play we will post a widely available number at the time of pick release.