College Football Betting Odds, Picks for Akron vs. Ball State: Target the Total in Tuesday’s Duel

College Football Betting Odds, Picks for Akron vs. Ball State: Target the Total in Tuesday’s Duel article feature image
Credit:

Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Plitt.

Akron vs. Ball State Odds

Tuesday, Nov. 2
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Akron Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+20.5
58.5
-110o / -110u
+800
Ball State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-20.5
58.5
-110o / -110u
-1375
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

We have football today. Yes, you read that right. We have football on a Tuesday. For the next few weeks, we will have football gracing our television screens every single day.

It’s a glorious time of the year when we are blessed with some sort of gridiron action thanks to weekday MACtion. While there are plenty of reasons my love life is garbage, this is one of the better ones.

We kick off the college slate with three games on Tuesday, beginning with Ball State vs. Akron in Zips Country. While the quality of teams — especially the home team — may not be up to snuff for the common fan in this matchup, the quality of betting action will be there for us degenerates.

Ball State currently finds itself in a five-way tie for second place in the MAC West at 2-2. Looking to break away from the others, it travels to Akron as sizeable favorites over the lowly Zips.

Regarded as one of the worst teams every season, Akron has exceed “expectations” and has slightly improved its level of play on offense. But Akron’s defense still gives me more trust issues than all of my ex-girlfriends combined.

With two wins under their belt, the Zips will be competing to once again not finish last in the conference.

The sheer excitement of Tuesday football has me shaking to my core. Will Ball State take care of business and cover the near three-touchdown spread, or will Akron shock the nation and put up a fight?

Let’s find out.


Akron Zips

Akron Offense

While Akron’s offense has seen some improvement compared to seasons past, this is still a pretty non-threatening unit as a whole.

The passing game is nonexistent, playing multiple quarterbacks in most games to find some sort of spark at the position. But that hasn’t been successful, which is in large part due to a poor pass-blocking unit, that ranks 126th in the nation.

If Akron wants any chance of an upset, let alone stay within the number, it will lean on the run game, which has shown some success this season. Ranking 65th in Rush Success and top-25 in Line Yards, the Zips will deploy their two-running back attack as well as a scrambling quarterback.

Running backs Jonzell Norrils and Blake Hester will look to exploit Ball State’s poor rush defense. Both have run for 250 plus yards and a few touchdowns, as has scrambling quarterback DJ Irons, who has added 300 yards and two scores on the ground.

Akron Defense

This section may be short and sweet.

The Akron defense is one of the worst units in football. It wouldn’t surprise me if our local high school team could score on it. Maybe even the pee-wee football could give it a scare.

The Akron defense ranks 120th or worse in nearly every defensive metric, except in Def, Pass Rush, where they rank 104th.

Not all hope is lost, though, as Akron shockingly does rank well in one area. The Zips rank top-50 in PFF Tackling — a glimmer of hope for any time Ball State gets one of its playmakers in the open.

If Akron wants to avoid getting trucked, it will have to find some sort of rush in the backfield as Ball State is a limited threat in the air.

The Zips could make things interesting if they can get Ball State’s offense off the field quickly, but I won’t put too much faith in that happening.


Ball State Cardinals

Ball State Offense

While Ball State’s offensive metrics are around middle-to-below-average in the nation, it will have a chance to look like Ohio State as it goes against the Akron defense.

The passing game is underwhelming, ranking in the 90s in both Pass Success and pass blocking. Quarterback Drew Plitt — winner of last year’s Action Network Gambling Heisman Trophy — has had a modest season so far, throwing for 1,591 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions.

He has been sharing the ball around with a trio of receivers in which each player has both double-digit receptions and 100 yards. No one else on the team has reached both of those marks.

Running back Carson Steele will look to run wild, as Akron is the worst Def. Rush Success team in the nation. So far, he has run for 428 yards and five touchdowns at an average of 5.1 yards per carry.

While the Pass Success and Rush Success marks are not ideal, Ball State does a few things well. The Cardinals limit Havoc, take care of the ball and keep drives alive.

Ball State is also around the middle of the nation in Finishing Drives, putting up points at a solid clip when it passes the 40.

Ball State Defense

While Ball State’s offense will be able to sleepwalk past the Akron defense, the Cardinals defense will actually need to come in awake. Akron’s offense is better than in years past.

According to the advanced metrics, Ball State’s defense will be at a disadvantage in the run game. With ranks of 82nd in Def. Rush Success and 88th in Def. Line Yards, it needs to do a better job of pushing back on the line and making stops in the backfield.

Akron may want to focus on the run game, as its passing attack may prove ineffective against Ball State. The Cardinals rank 30th in Def. Pass Rush, getting to the quarterback at a high clip. They will look to exploit Akron’s offensive line, which is one of the worst-ranked units in football.

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Akron vs. Ball State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Ball State and Akron match up statistically:

Ball State Offense vs. Akron Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 85 130
Line Yards 78 129
Pass Success 99 128
Pass Blocking** 94 104
Big Play 81 125
Havoc 43 127
Finishing Drives 57 130
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Akron Offense vs. Ball State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 65 82
Line Yards 23 88
Pass Success 115 127
Pass Blocking** 126 30
Big Play 39 10
Havoc 126 103
Finishing Drives 63 84
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 10 49
Coverage 99 124
Middle 8 125 122
SP+ Special Teams 78 124
Plays per Minute 23 114
Rush Rate 50.% (98) 57.1% (48)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Akron vs. Ball State Betting Pick

Akron is the sole reason I have no faith in the spread. The defense says to take Ball State, but its decently successful offense on the ground screams, “potential backdoor.” For that reason, my attention will be on the total.

An under’s best friend is early outs, run-heavy schemes, and turnovers. This game has all that and more written into it.

Akron will look to a run-heavy game script to exploit Ball State’s rush defense. This will take precious time off the clock, which is exactly what we need.

We also will have no fear of Akron rattling off a big play, as Ball State is a top-10 team in negating the explosiveness on defense. The Cardinals are also a top-10 team in PFF Tackling, a key factor in stopping the big play.

The total may very well be just a Ball State team total, as the Cardinals may score at will on this defense, hopefully taking the starters out early and cementing my confidence in the under even more

With an Action Network projection of 44.5, I will take the under and hope the Akron defense can put up some sort of a fight to give us some breathing room.

Pick: Under 58.5 

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