Cure Bowl 2021: Northern Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2021

Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall throws a pass during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Troy on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, in Conway, S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Kelley)
Matt Kelley/Associated Press

The Cure Bowl is a dream matchup for fans of high-scoring college football games. 

The Northern Illinois Huskies and Coastal Carolina Chanticleers are terrific at moving the ball down the field through two of the best Group of Five quarterbacks. 

Grayson McCall launched himself into the spotlight last season during Coastal Carolina's undefeated regular season. He followed that campaign up with a strong 2021 in which he helped the Chanticleers go 10-2 and land a marquee Group of Five postseason matchup.

Rocky Lombardi, a transfer from the Michigan State Spartans, led Northern Illinois' transformation from an 0-6 team in 2020 to the MAC championship. 

McCall and Lombardi should lead their respective offenses to high totals in Orlando, Florida on Friday and that makes the matchup a gold mine for daily fantasy players and over bettors. 


Cure Bowl Information

Date: Friday, December 17

Start Time: 6 p.m. ET 


Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app


Cure Bowl Odds

Spread: Coastal Carolina (-10.5) 

Over/Under: 63.5

Money Line: Coastal Carolina (-425; bet $425 to win $100); Northern Illinois (+320; bet $100 to win $320) 


Daily Fantasy Tips

Can't Go Wrong With Either Quarterback

Lombardi and McCall are two of the best Group of Five quarterbacks. 

Lombardi posted 2,416 passing yards, 406 rushing yards and 21 total touchdowns in his first season in the MAC. 

The Clive, Iowa native's best regular-season performance came in a 52-47 loss to the Kent State Golden Flashes on Nov. 3, when he threw for 532 yards and three touchdowns. That game proved he can throw at a high volume in a game with a ton of points, which is where he might find himself against Coastal Carolina. 

Meanwhile, McCall threw for 2,558 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. He completed 73 percent of his passes and was only intercepted three times. The 21-year-old also ran for 250 yards and four scores, and he produced over 50 rushing yards in each of his last three games. 

Both quarterbacks can post high totals with their arms and legs, and they are going up against two defenses that are susceptible to high concessions. 

Coastal Carolina gives up 325 yards per game, while NIU allows 32.7 points and 447.8 total yards per contest. 

McCall has the slight advantage over Lombardi because of the better matchup he faces. The Huskies' poor defense is the reason why Coastal is favored by double digits and the over/under is close to 70. 


Likely is a Must-Start Player

Coastal Carolina tight end Isaiah Likely owns the most touchdown catches of any player who will step on the field in the Cure Bowl. 

The senior pass-catcher has 10 touchdown catches and is second on the team roster in receptions and receiving yards. He has a 20-yard reception in eight of his 12 appearances, and he had 15 receptions over his last three starts. 

Likely will be one of McCall's top two pass-game weapons along with leading wide receiver Jaivon Heiligh. 

Likely is the better option of the two because of his greater scoring threat, which could come in handy against the Northern Illinois passing defense. He thrived in last season's bowl matchup against the Liberty Flames with five receptions, 84 yards and a score. 

The Cambridge, Massachusetts native can use the Cure Bowl as one final performance to impress NFL draft scouts. He received an invite to the Senior Bowl and was named a first-team Walter Camp All-American. He has the perfect matchup to turn in a major showing before he moves to the next level.


If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.