Not a lot of things make me want to get out of bed and start doing back flips in excitement but midweek MAC football starting up again is one of them. What is now widely known as MACtion across social media kicks off tonight and features two games starting with Ball State @ Kent State at 7:00 ET and then Buffalo @ Ohio at 7:30 ET. We’ll start with a breakdown of the games and then get into my best pick for each one.
The Ball State Cardinals enter tonight’s game with a (4-4) record and a (2-2) conference record and will be looking to bounce back after losing to Eastern Michigan last week. The Kent State Golden Flashes are fresh off a conference win against Akron and currently have a record of (3-5) and a (2-2) conference record as well. Both teams are allowing an average of over 30 points per game so MACtion could start off with a bang if both defenses continue to play this way.
Ball State likes to stick with a pass-heavy offense, with 54% of their offensive plays being pass, which is ranked 30th in the country. Quarterback John Paddock has been able to throw for 14 touchdown passes already this season but if he wants to keep his team in the game he will have to limit his turnovers, which have been an issue with nine interceptions up to this point.
Paddock loves to target the tight-end duo of Brady Hunt and Tanner Koziol who combined have already caught nine touchdown passes this season. This trio should have no trouble taking advantage of a weak Kent State pass defense that allows an average of 301 pass yards per game.
Kent State has an opposite approach when it comes to offense as they rely heavily on the run. The rushing attack is led by running back Marquez Cooper who has already rushed for eight touchdowns this season. The status of starting quarterback Collin Schlee is still up in the air on whether he will play tonight but if he can go his dual-threat ability will match up nicely against a Ball State defense allowing an average of 130 rush yards per game. The leading receiver for the Golden Flashes Dante Cephas is also questionable tonight with an injury.
Kent State opened as a 4.5-point favorite in most books but that number is all the way to (-7) across the board today. The number rose to around (-7) in the afternoon yesterday and has stayed there consistently across the books up to this point.
When it comes to trends, the Golden Flashes enter tonight’s game 0-5 ATS in their last 5 conference games. The Cardinals currently have a 2-3 record ATS when they are underdogs.
The point total opened at 61.5 and has since risen a full point to 62.5, however it can still be found at 62 at select sportsbooks. In the last six meetings between these teams, the Over is 5-1 however both teams have differing trends this season when it comes to the point total, especially in the month of November. The under is 6-0 in Ball State’s last six games in November while the Over is 6-1 in Kent State’s last seven games in the month.
I will be rolling with the underdog here and taking Ball State (+7) on the road. When the lines first came out I wasn’t too sold on either side but once the number jumped to 7 I became much more comfortable taking the Cardinals and betting against Kent State’s ability to put teams away on defense.
Injury concerns for Kent State, especially at the quarterback position, have me hesitant when it comes to betting on the total so I believe the right play for me is to stick with Ball State to keep it within a touchdown.
This is an entertaining match-up between two teams who both currently have a record of (5-3). Buffalo enters tonight in first place in the MAC with a (4-0) conference record and they will be heading to take on the third-place team in the conference Ohio Bobcats who have a (3-1) conference record.
Ohio has one of the best quarterbacks in the conference in Kurtis Rourke who enters tonight with 16 touchdown passes and only 3 interceptions. Rourke’s ability to protect the ball will be a huge advantage tonight against a Buffalo defense that averages two takeaways a game. The Ohio quarterback certainly has a favorite receiver in Sam Wiglusz, who already has reeled in 50 catches this season and 7 touchdowns.
The Ohio defense will need to step it up when it comes to stopping the run as they currently allow an average of 180 rush yards per game which is ranked 100th in the country. Buffalo has three players who have rushed for over three touchdowns and two running backs Ron Cook Jr. and Mike Washington who have rushed for over 450 yards apiece.
Cole Snyder has put together a nice season at quarterback for the Bulls, throwing for 1907 and 12 touchdowns so far this season. Snyder is the other player of the previously mentioned three with over three rushing touchdowns as well so he might be able to find success both through the air and with his arm.
Ohio opened as 2.5-point underdogs but the line now currently sits at (+3) across the majority of sportsbooks. Both teams enter today with scorching-hot ATS records as Buffalo is currently 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games and Ohio is 4-0 ATS in their last four.
The total has seen a lot of movement within the last few hours as the game opened at 58.5 and currently sits at 60 in a large majority of books. Point total trends for both teams have also been on fire recently with the Over being 5-0 in the last five games Buffalo has faced a team with a winning record. The Over is also 4-0 in Ohio’s last four games they have played a team with a winning record as well.
When it comes to head-to-head trends in this match-up the home team is 7-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings and Over is 5-2 when the two teams play in Ohio.
My best play for this game is the Over and while I was able to get the number at 58.5, I would still be okay taking it where it stands now at 60. I really like Kurtis Rourke at quarterback for the Bobcats and trust that he will be able to put points on the board for the Bobcats. Ultimately I just don’t think Ohio’s defense can stop Buffalo’s run game and once they establish the run I think Cole Snyder can also help them score points through the air.
With the way this number has jumped around all day, I would advise jumping on anything you can get 60 points or under once you see it because this easily could become an unfavorable number for the Over the closer we get to game time.
-Ball State (+7)
-Buffalo @ Ohio Over 60 (-110)