Week three of MACtion is here and as the season winds down I implore you to cherish every minute of it. Two games are scheduled to take place tonight and one of them serves as a huge game in terms of who will be playing the conference championship game. As always we will preview the game and betting information along with a pick for each game.
The Ohio Bobcats come in tonight on a five-game winning streak and sit in first place in the MAC East. A win tonight for the Bobcats should all but solidify their spot in the conference championship. Ohio has been playing at an incredibly high level on both sides of the ball and in their last four wins the most points they allowed in one game is 24.
On the offensive side of the ball, it’s all about quarterback Kurtis Rourke, who is looking like he’s got conference player of the year wrapped up already. Rourke has 24 touchdown passes and only 4 interceptions which explains why the Bobcats are averaging 31 points scored a game. The combination of Rourke to his favorite target Sam Wiglusz has been unstoppable this season and they have the chance at another big game against a lackluster Ball State defense.
It’s Ball State’s running back who is the focal point of their offense as Carson Steele and his bruising running style have kept the Cardinals' bowl game hopes alive with his play. Steele has rushed for over 1,000 yards and has 12 rushing touchdowns on the year so it will be an interesting match-up tonight against an Ohio defense that’s only allowing 150.1 rushing yards a game.
Steele will need help from quarterback John Paddock if the Cardinals want any chance at knocking off the Bobcats. Paddock has put up solid numbers this season but has struggled to limit the turnovers, entering tonight the Cardinals gunslinger has 16 touchdown passes but 11 interceptions as well. Ohio is averaging 1.8 takeaways a game so if the Cardinals can’t protect the ball the Bobcats could run away with this one.
There have been small movements in the point spread as the Bobcats opened as -4 point favorites on DraftKings but -5 in some other shops as well. The number moved down to -3.5 but is now back up to -4 in a large majority of sportsbooks. Ohio is 7-3 ATS this season while the Cardinals are 5-5 ATS.
The point total in this one opened at 53 in most of the sportsbooks but has been bet up to 55 or 55.5 depending on the shop. The over is 7-3 in the Bobcats' last 10 games while the under is 4-0 in Ball State’s last 4 conference games.
As far as the head-to-head-to-match-up the home team is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings between the two teams. Ohio has won each of the last four games and six out of the last eight against the Cardinals.
I’d like to think I have a solid grasp of this league going 6-3 in my midweek MACtion picks so far and one thing I’ve decided to stand by is don’t bet against Kurtis Rourke. The Bobcats have been playing at too high of a level so I’ll be taking Ohio -4 in this one.
Ohio’s offense has been difficult to keep pace and score with especially since the Cardinals rely primarily on the run. I think Ohio comes out tonight and covers while clinching their spot in the conference championship game.
The Toledo Rockets have already clinched their spot in the conference championship by winning the MAC west division and will host Bowling Green tonight in the Battle of I-75. Toledo’s offense has been a scoring machine all season behind quarterback Dequan Finn, the dual-threat quarterback has led this Rockets team to an average of 34.9 points a game.
Finn has a team-leading eight rushing touchdowns to go along with his 21 passing touchdowns. Finn and leading receiver Jerjaun Newton will face off against a Falcons defense that had been playing well until they let up 40 points in last week’s blowout loss to Kent State.
Bowling Green has two more chances to become bowl-eligible so if they want to make that happen their offense will need to gain consistency starting tonight. The Falcons are only averaging 19.2 points per game and only were able to score six points in last week's loss. Matt McDonald has been solid at quarterback this season with 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions but the Falcons have lacked any sort of explosiveness on offense.
Despite being in first place Toledo’s defense has allowed teams to score and hang around in games with them so this Falcons offense has a chance to move the ball down the field tonight as long as they minimize their turnovers.
Toledo opened this game between -14.5 and -15 point favorites but that number is now up to -16 in a large majority of the sportsbooks. The Rockets are 4-6 ATS while the Falcons are 3-6-1 ATS.
The point total in this one has seen very limited movement as the game opened at 50.5 but is now down to 50 in most shops. The over is 7-3 in Toledo’s last 10 conference games while the under is 4-1 in the Falcons' last 5 conference games.
Bowling Green has struggled to cover when playing in Toledo as they are 3-7-1 ATS when making the trip to play the Rockets. However, the road team is 6-2-1 ATS in the last 9 Battles of I-75.
Neither side of the spread seems too appealing to me so my play for this game is the over of 50. Don’t let Bowling Green’s stretch of high-level defense fool you when the Falcons play a powerful offense with a solid quarterback they get exposed. Dequan Finn is the best quarterback they’ve faced in a while and he should be able to score at will.
The Rockets haven’t been the strongest on defense either so if Bowling Green comes out better than they did last week then they should be able to find the end zone a few times and bring this game over.
Bowling Green @ Toledo Over 50