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Eagle Eye Betting: Weekly Wagers on Boston College Football

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Week 1 – Northern Illinois Huskies at Boston College

Location: Chestnut Hill, MA – Alumni Stadium

Betting Lines

Spread: Boston College -8.5 (-110) — Over/Under Points: 50.5 — Moneyline: Boston (-340) NIU (+270)

Welcome to the 2023 season. My name is Peter Collins and I will be bringing you my weekly picks against the spread, over/under and moneyline selections for YOUR Boston College Eagles. You can hear my picks as well as Brett Rider’s picks, in advance on our weekly podcast: BC Banter available for streaming on all major platforms. As a note, I will be using DraftKings when I refer to betting odds or lines. Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s matchup.

This Saturday, September 2, the Boston College Eagles square off in the season home opener against the Northern Illinois Huskies (NIU). Boston College started the week as 9.5-point favorites, but as I write this on Tuesday night it’s already slid down to 8.5 points. The over/under was at 52 points and now it’s at 50.5 points. What does Vegas know? Why the shift? I have no answer for that, but I will try to answer some questions here today.

2022 had similar storylines for both week 1 foes as injuries derailed their season hopes resulting in matching 3-9 final win-loss records. Who will come out on top this week? Will BC cover the spread? With the over or under at 50.5 points, is week 1 a shootout or does defense reign supreme? What should we expect on both sides of the ball from each opponent?

If you’re super familiar with BC’s roster and just want to learn up on NIU or even just want my picks, scroll on down to the end, I won’t hold it against you.

Boston College Offense:

Let’s get caught up quickly. Last year Boston College lost their week 1 starting quarterback, Phil Jurkovec, to injury and thrust their freshman Emmett Morehead in action to finish the season. He started the last four games and as a starter he threw for 1,029 passing yards and 9 touchdowns. Credit the team site game notes for this stat: Morehead was one of three freshmen (true or redshirt) QBs in the country with multiple games of 325+ passing yards and 3+ touchdowns. Morehead did all this while “protected” by an offensive line ravaged with injuries. This year’s team is greatly improved up front and ultimately may turn out to be one of their strengths. Head coach Jeff Hafley addressed the need for starting offensive line talent this offseason adding two transfers who will cover the left side of the line in Logan Taylor (LT) and Kyle Hergel (LG). Projected NFL first round pick Christian Mahogany (RG) highlights the list of returning lineman who joins the other two projected starters in Ozzy Trapilo (RT) and Drew Kendall (C). Hafley did his best to replace the loss of NFL first round draft pick wide receiver Zay Flowers with UCF transfer Ryan O’Keefe, who has elite speed and will look to stretch the field. He will line up alongside tight end George Takacs and wideouts Jaden Williams and Joseph Griffin Jr. Look for Pat Garwo III to handle the rock along with Alex Broome. The offense should bounce back this year for Boston College.

This Saturday against NIU, I think Boston College will look to run the ball behind their improved line, absolutely no surprises there. While Boston College should be able to run effectively due to their own talent, NIU has a good defensive line which could make some stops. NIU’s weakness lies in the secondary. NIU allowed 32 touchdowns last year through the air, I’ll be looking for Emmett Morehead to hit paydirt at least twice. Special teams, mainly the kicking game, remain a concern for the Eagles as last year Eagles kicker Connor Lytton struggled going 9 for 17 (52.9%). I project BC to score 28 points. Garwo goes for over 100 total yards, Emmett throws for two touchdowns and over 250 yards.

Boston College Defense:

Donovan Ezeiruaku leads the Boston College defense, who look to improve on their national rank of 100th in terms of points per game at 30.3. Boston College lost a decent amount of talented secondary players to the portal and will look for sixth year cornerback Elijah Jones to step up and lead this new young group. Jalen Cheek, Cole Batson, John Pupel and Amari Jackson should all see plenty of time on defense for the Eagles pass defense. In 2022, Boston College let up 2,000 total yards rushing which equated to 166.7ypg to go with 25 TDs allowed. We all remember last year when Rutgers ran the ball the length of the field to finish off the win in week 1, that cannot happen again here if BC hopes to have a good start to the season. NIU was able to run the ball well in 2022, so look for BC to stack the box and control the line of scrimmage. Shitta Sillah, Cam Horsley, George Rooks and Ezeiruaku look to control the game in the trenches. Vinny DePalma leads the linebacking core of Jaylen Blackwell and Kam Arnold. Classic Boston College football, running, defense, and clock management should lead them to victory.

Northern Illinois Offense:

As mentioned prior, the Northern Illinois Huskies (NIU) finished with a record of 3-9 in 2022. Huskies redshirt senior quarterback Rocky Lombardi is back after only playing in four games last season due to injury. The Huskies had 4,477 total yards (373ypg) last year, 18 touchdowns through the air and 19 via the ground. They ran the ball 478 times and threw for 328 pass attempts, a run heavy offense. That may have had something to do with the injury to Lombardi, but also could be because they run it well. Last year they averaged 190.4ypg on the ground which puts them in the top 50 (FBS). In 2021 the Huskies won the Mid-American Conference Championship where they were led by their 4th in the nation rushing attack who averaged 241.4ypg. Look for the Huskies to try to mix in a heavy dosage of rushing attempts on Saturday but won’t be shy to let Lombardi throw the ball in his return. Reports from training camp suggest kicker Jake Seibert made multiple field goal attempts from 40 yards and further. NIU will hope to run the ball but may need to start passing if they find themselves down in the game.

Northern Illinois Defense:

In 2022 Northern Illinois defense let up 32.8 points per game via 32 TDs through the air and 14 on the ground. As I mentioned on this week’s episode of BC Banter, a star player to watch on the Huskies defensive line is Redshirt Sophomore James Ester. Ester, a two year captain, was last year’s team MVP starting all 12 games at Defensive Tackle. He made 28 total tackles, including six tackles for loss, two sacks and two forced fumbles. Raishein Thomas is another player on the defensive line to look out for. He started 11 games in 2022 and has 110 career tackles, 12.5 which were tackles for a loss. NIU is replacing 3 of the top 5 tacklers from a year ago at the linebacker position and is also revamping their secondary after a disappointing 2022 season. Look for the defensive line to anchor the NIU defense as they battle it out in the trenches.

Skip to here if you just want the picks:

The Eagles, in year four under head coach Jeff Hafley, are 2-1 in season openers. I think Boston College will improve that record to 3-1. Boston College is still being weighed down in Vegas due to last year’s debacle at offensive line. After the first offensive series of the game, we will know if the line is worth a wager. Waiting and live betting wouldn’t be the worst move, but I don’t have that luxury, so I am taking BC at -8.5 points.

The over/under is a tricky one for this game will all the unknowns. At 50.5 points total and an 8.5-point line, Vegas is somewhat predicting a 30-21 Boston College win. That would cover the spread by a half point and have the over hit by a half point. I think Boston College will score high 20’s, maybe even 30+, but will NIU do their part and score 21 points? I have NIU scoring one maybe two touchdowns, and a few field goals early in the game. I am taking the under, I just don’t see these teams engaging in a shootout or a high scoring affair although this one will be close. I don’t like taking the under when I am a fan of one of the teams as I never want to root for them not to score. Good luck with your bets, let me know your picks in the comments.

“Scared money don’t make no money” – Young Jeezy. Pete’s Picks

Boston College -8.5

Under 50.5 points

Boston College Moneyline

Brett’s Picks

Boston College -8.5

Under 50.5 points

Boston College Moneyline

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Basketball

DiMauro: All in all, a solid year for BC sports

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If you are reading this, chances are your primary means of remaining connected to Boston College runs through athletics.

Oh, and we’ve been tortured souls, too, especially in recent years. We are idealists and fatalists, demanding yet forgiving, loyal and resilient, even if sometimes it feels as though we make the long trek up the cliff to Lovers Leap … only to get shoved.

All of which makes the sports year of 2023-24 a time to celebrate. Boston College did itself proud, no small occurrence given that in this unsteady (perverse?) time of expansion and realignment, schools like BC must always look their Sunday best, with no overt warts or love handles.

Women’s lacrosse, BC’s working definition of pride and joy, capped the sports season with the national championship Memorial Day weekend in Cary, NC. It was the program’s second natty in four years, a three-hour infomercial for the entire institution and more proof that, yes, it can be done at BC with the right coach.

Acacia Walker-Weinstein – you’ll note that only the letter “W” separates her from “Einstein” – not only hung a banner, but helped BC earn a distinction few other athletic programs in the country could trumpet. How many other schools made national championship games (both televised by ESPN) in two different sports fewer than two months apart?

Think about that one: Men’s hockey, during an otherwise memorable season, fell short in the national championship game. But the Sons of Greg Brown did the school proud all season. Not a bad accomplishment to see “BC in the national finals” on the ESPN scroll in mid-April (hockey) and late May (lacrosse). It’s hard to buy that kind of advertising, particularly when and if realignment and expansion happen again.

Football won a bowl game over a ranked team at Fenway Park, returns a dynamo in Thomas Castellanos and then made the splash of a cannonball, hiring Bill O’Brien as head coach. Three other women’s sports showed promise as well: field hockey (11-7, made the ACC Tournament); softball (30-24, made the ACC Tournament) and volleyball, which continues to improve steadily under coach Jason Kennedy, finished 19-13 and made the ACC Tournament.

Otherwise, baseball gets a pass as new coach Todd Interdonato assimilates to the ACC and establishes his culture; the soccer programs (3-9-5 and 3-9-6) were lousy; and I remain concerned about men’s and women’s basketball. Put it this way: Sure feels as though better players are leaving than are entering.

Off the field, “Friends Of The Heights,” BC’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collective, grew massively, keeping BC competitive in a cutthroat environment. Friends Of The Heights also homered into the upper deck, hiring veteran athletic administrator Jim Paquette as its new Chief Development Officer. Paquette will advise the Board on overall development strategies, using his 16 years as an administrator at BC that specialized in fundraising.

BC’s overall cachet also made a splash on social media when Forbes Magazine named it one of the country’s “New Ivies.”

Based on its researchForbes, the century-old national business magazine, reported that American companies are souring on hiring Ivy League graduates, instead preferring high achievers from 20 other prominent universities – “Private and Public New Ivies.”

BC joins private school “New Ivies” Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, Notre Dame, Southern California and Vanderbilt. Ah, to be judged by the company one keeps.

One school year hasn’t produced this much for BC in years. And it’s significant. The idea now is to build, not regress.

Full disclosure: There are many things I still don’t like. I’m told Father Leahy neither attended the Frozen Four nor the lacrosse Final Four. It is disrespectful to the players, coaches and alumni to have a leader who acts as if so much about what makes BC great is beneath him. And we still seem to have these spasms of tone deafness, such as patrolling the parking lots like stormtroopers the day of the spring football game.

But 2023-24 was an encouraging year for BC in many ways. Yes, we always want more. But we were getting less for a long time. Not this year. A tip of the cap to athletic director Blake James, his staff, the coaches and the kids.

We pause now to enjoy summer and await Labor Day night in Tallahassee. Here’s to 2024-25, hollering “Mr. Brightside” again with the kids from the crowded bleachers.

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached at m.dimauro@theday.com or @BCgenius 

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Football

Boston College lineman Kyle Hergel selected 3rd overall in CFL draft

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The former Eagles guard was not selected in last week’s NFL draft, but quickly heard his name yesterday in the 2024 CFL draft, going 3rd overall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Hergel, who spent one year at Boston College after transferring from Texas State. The guard was a huge success in helping transform the offensive line play in 2023, gaining the best PFF pass block grade at Boston College (86.6) with no sacks allowed and two quarterback hits on 402 dropbacks. This was good enough to earn All-ACC honorable mention and a trip to the East-West shrine game.

Recently signing with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent following the 2024 NFL draft, Hergel will seemingly look to catch on in the NFL this summer before trekking north of the boarder to play for the Roughriders.

John Pupel gets Patriots rookie camp invite

The former safety will travel to nearby Foxboro, Ma as an invite to Patriots rookie camp. After beginning his college career at Dartmouth, Pupel joined the Eagles in 2022. Starting 11 games last year with 81 tackles, a pack break up and a forced fumble.

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Football

Boston College’s Elijah Jones and Christian Mahogany drafted, others signed: Eagles Draft Weekend Recap

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It was a rather successful weekend for Boston College in the NFL Draft, as both Elijah Jones and Christian Mahogany were taken while guard Kyle Hergel inked a UDFA deal. In addition, longtime and former BC notables Jaelen Gill and Josh DeBerry have received UDFA deals.

Jones – The first Eagle off the board this year, Jones went 90th overall in the third round to the Arizona Cardinals. He missed the final three games of the season for undisclosed reasons but had a big year that shot up his draft stock with a conference-best five interceptions while also defending 13 passes. As a member of the 2018 recruiting class, the corner tallied 60 games at BC and racked up a First-team All-ACC selection this past year.

Jones’ 86.9 defensive PFF grade was the sixth-best in the draft class out of corners and he was the 11th cornerback off the board for the Eagles.

Mahogany – Mahogany sat out of the bowl game and had some noticeable buzz surrounding his name entering the draft, but the guard fell to the sixth round to the Detroit Lions. Mahogany missed most of the 2022 season after an ACL injury but came back fully healthy for 2023, posting the 16th-best total PFF grade out of guards in the draft class.

Mahogany fell further than many, with many projections putting him as a Day 2 pick, but given he’s 24 and his scouting reports present some clear downside, it’s not all that shocking that he fell all the way to the sixth round.

Hergel – Hergel didn’t exactly have any buzz surrounding his name but he managed to grab a UDFA deal with the Saints. He was a four-year starter between North Dakota and Texas State before he was a fifth-year transfer to BC, and he put up a solid enough season to get signed.

DeBerry – DeBerry signed on with the Cowboys, as he transferred to Texas A&M for his fifth year after four seasons with the Eagles. He was a big loss for BC’s secondary, as he started seven games this year for the Aggies and grabbed two interceptions.

Gill – Gill put up huge numbers for Fresno State this past year after three seasons with BC. After an initial start to his career at Ohio State, he transferred to the Eagles ahead of the 2020 season and through three years he put up 1,092 yards. He put up basically half of that in just one year with the Bulldogs, tallying 516 yards on 49 catches and six touchdowns.

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