Night two of midweek MACtion is here with three more games scheduled to take place. Last night’s games offered no shortage of excitement so we’ll see what tonight has in store for us. After going 1-1 in my picks yesterday I am back today with three more picks, we will get into those picks and a breakdown of each game as well.
Unlike last night all three games will kick off tonight at 7:00 PM ET so the first game we’ll take a look at features a (5-4) Buffalo team heading into Central Michigan to take on the (3-6) Chippewas. The Bulls have an opportunity to stay alive in the conference championship race and become bowl-eligible tonight with a win. CMU will be looking to build off last week's victory and bring their conference record up to .500 tonight with a win.
Buffalo enters tonight after a tough loss to Ohio, a game in which they allowed 45 points. Despite this lopsided number, the Bulls defense has been effective at forcing turnovers coming into tonight averaging 2.4 takeaways a game and scoring a defensive touchdown in three of their last four games. Offensively the Bulls are averaging 30 points per game and are led by quarterback Cole Snyder who has thrown 14 touchdown passes this season and 6 interceptions.
As for the Chippewas offense head coach Jim McElwain has been rotating quarterbacks Daniel Richardson and Jase Bauer in the hopes of getting a spark from one of the signal callers. The primary man in this CMU offense however is running back Lew Nichols who enters tonight’s game with six rushing touchdowns on the season.
The key tonight for CMU will be if their defense can limit the Bulls passing attack. The Chippewas defense is allowing an average of 247.9 passing yards a game so the question is whether they’ll be able to limit Buffalo's leading receiver Justin Marshall from having a big day.
This game has seen a lot of back-and-forth spread movement with some sportsbooks opening with Buffalo as (-1.5) point favorites or as a pick-em in some cases but now most sportsbooks currently have home team CMU favored by (-1.5) across the board. Despite now being the underdog in this matchup Buffalo enters tonight 6-2-1 ATS this season.
A lot less movement occurred with the point total in this game opening at 55 but now sits at 54.5 or 54 depending on the sportsbook. In terms of trends both of these teams like to put up points when they play on Wednesday nights as the over is 5-0 in Buffalo’s last five Wednesday games and the over is 10-2 in CMU’s last 12 Wednesday games.
This match-up has been back and forth over the years but as of late the favorite in the matchup has been the one to cover. In the last four meetings between the two teams, the favorite is 4-0 ATS.
I’m expecting a high-scoring affair tonight so for my first pick I’ll be taking the over of 54. Buffalo has been able to score 24 or more points in their last 8 games and I think that continues tonight against CMU’s mediocre defense.
Normally I don’t like betting on two-quarterback systems but clearly, something is working for the Chippewas since they were able to score 34 points in last week's game. Lew Nichols should be able to continue his solid season tonight as well against this Bulls defense.
Bowling Green enters tonight’s game with a (5-4) record and one win away from bowl eligibility. The team standing in their way will be the (3-6) Kent State Golden Flashes. Kent State has surprised a lot of people as they came into this season with high expectations but are currently sitting in 7th place in the MAC standings.
The Golden Flashes have three true weapons on the offensive side of the ball but they have only been able to average 23 points per game this season. Kent State has been most effective in running the ball behind running back Marquez Cooper who has over 1,000 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns already this year. Quarterback Collin Schlee also has the capability to create plays with his legs. Kent State will need Schlee to create with his arm tonight as well and find star receiver Devontez Walker to take advantage of a lackluster Bowling Green pass defense.
Offensive struggles are not just something Kent State has struggled with as Bowling Green enters tonight ranked 104th in the country in points per game averaging only 20.9. The Eagles have had the inability to establish any sort of running game this season as they are averaging only 3.4 yards per carry. Bowling Green has relied primarily on quarterback Matt McDonald to supply the offense this season.
McDonald has 16 passing touchdowns this season and faces off with a Kent State defense allowing an average of 295.3 passing yards per game.
Despite only losing one conference game this season Bowling Green opened as (+2.5) point underdogs at home. This number has stayed there since the lines were released and still sits at (+2.5) across the board.
The point total opened at 57.5 but has been bet down to 55.5 where it sits now across the sportsbooks. In Kent State’s last 6 conference games the under has gone 5-1 which is similar to Bowling Green who has had the under go 5-2 in their last 7 conference games.
In terms of head-to-head the road team in this matchup has gone 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings. Kent State has been able to go 5-1 ATS the last 6 times they’ve made the trip to Bowling Green.
My first pick of the night I took an over but in this one, I’ll be taking the under of 55.5 points. Bowling Green was only able to score 13 points in their win last week and despite facing a worse defense tonight I don’t think they will light up the scoreboard.
Kent State has the ability to score but this Bowling Green defense will be a tough test for them. The Falcons have allowed less than 20 points in their last three games and will certainly come out tonight motivated being only one win away from bowl eligibility.
The last game we’ll take a look at is between (2-7) Northern Illinois heading to Western Michigan to take on the (3-6) Broncos. Both teams have had drastic negative turnarounds from last season as NIU has gone from last season's conference champs to now searching for only their third win of the season.
A big reason for the dramatic change in success for NIU has been awful injury luck, especially at the quarterback position. The Huskies have had to play four quarterbacks this season and it is still unclear who will be under center tonight. If he can play it will be last year's starter Rocky Lombardi but if his injury woes continue then true freshman Nevan Cremascoli will likely get the start. Cremascoli had his first career start last week and threw two touchdowns and one interception.
As for Western Michigan they also made a quarterback change this season but not for injury reasons. Freshman Treyson Bourguet has taken over the starting role in place of Jack Salopek. The Broncos are only averaging 16.4 points per game so Bourguet and running back Sean Tyler will need to step up big-time in order to get this offense moving in the right direction.
Tonight would be a good night for this Western Michigan offense to get some momentum since they’ll be facing an NIU defense allowing an average of 34 points per game. The key will be limiting the turnovers since the Broncos enter tonight averaging 2.1 turnovers per game.
This game opened as either a pick-em or with Western Michigan as (-1) point favorites at home depending on the sportsbook. The number has moved a little across all sportsbooks and now WMU is sitting at (-1.5) point favorites in most places.
As far as the point total this game opened at 52 but has been bet down to 49.5 where it sits now. The teams have differing trends when it comes to point totals as the over is 8-2 in NIU’s last 10 games but the under is 5-1 in WMU’s last 6 games.
The Huskies have dominated the ATS record when it comes to the head-to-head match-up between the two teams. The Huskies are 15-5-1 ATS in the last 21 meetings between the two teams.
My only spread bet of the night is in this game and it’s going to be on Northern Illinois (+1.5). Despite their record, I think the Huskies are the better team and at this point are not unfamiliar with dealing with injuries. Even if Lombardi can’t start tonight NIU can rely on their rushing attack to lead them to a victory.
After watching WMU play last week against Bowling Green and only scoring 9 points I just don’t think this offense has enough chemistry built up yet to sustain multiple scoring drives. They might’ve fallen a long way from conference champs but I think the Huskies get the job done here.
Buffalo @ Central Michigan Over 54
Kent State @ Bowling Green Under 55.5
Northern Illinois (+1.5)