Ball State-Toledo Betting Preview: Quarterback Questions on Both Sides

Ball State-Toledo Betting Preview: Quarterback Questions on Both Sides article feature image

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jason Candle

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Ball State at Toledo Betting Preview

  • Odds: Toledo -18.5
  • Over/Under: 64
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN2

MACtion continues on Wednesday with one game after an epic Tuesday that included 156 total points in two contests.

Toledo is coming off a road blowout of Western Michigan as a short underdog, while Ball State got routed by Ohio.

>> All odds as of 8 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.

Quarterback Questions on Both Sides

Ball State lost quarterback Riley Neal to a knee injury last week. He’ll be replaced by Drew Plitt, who has averaged just 5.9 yards per attempt while completing 53.1% of his passes in place of Neal over the past two years.

Neal is dangerous with his legs, while Plitt has just 34 yards on 40 career carries.

Plitt actually started against Toledo last season and went just 15-of-34 for 97 yards. That’s a paltry 2.8 yards per attempt.

Toledo quarterback Mitchell Guadagni is also questionable with a shoulder injury, but had probably his best half of the season against Western Michigan before exiting.

The Rockets are probably better equipped to roll with a backup, as Eli Peters has averaged 7.5 yards per attempt with 9 TDs and 2 INTs this season. He got the start over Guadagni two weeks ago.

Favorites Covering in MAC Weekday Games

By John Ewing

In MAC games, favorites of three or more scores (17-plus points) have gone 29-39-1 ATS on Saturdays, but 25-15 ATS on every other day of the week combined since 2005, per our Bet Labs data.

How to Factor Toledo Brutal Scheduling Run

Toledo and Ball State both play their fourth game in 19 days on Wednesday — which equates to three consecutive short weeks. It’s on a short week again after playing last Thursday, although Ball State is as well.

Such is the nature of #MACtion.

According to our data at Bet Labs, there’s no distinct advantage to the favorite, underdog, over or under when two teams play on short rest.

This could also be a lookahead spot for Toledo, which plays MAC West rival Northern Illinois on Nov. 7. The Rockets are 2-2 in conference compared to NIU’s 4-0, but a win next week would go a long way toward making this a race again.

Ball State Struggling Against Better Competition

Every bad team will do worse against better competition. Duh. But Ball State has struggled against better teams relative to oddsmakers’ expectations.

  • Ball State vs. S&P+ Top 100 teams: 1-4 ATS
  • Vs. S&P+ non-Top 100 teams: 3-1 ATS

The Cardinals have had a less than 1% win expectancy in every game against a top-100 S&P+ team. Toledo is ranked No. 71.

Last Year’s Meeting Had a Fascinating Box Score

Toledo beat Ball State 58-17 and covered as a 28-point favorite last season. But how the Rockets did it was incredible.

Toledo put up 602 yards on just 52 plays. Quarterback Logan Woodside completed just 8-of-17 passes but had 267 yards. The Rockets had five touchdowns of at least 60 yards and averaged more than 11 yards per play.

Fortunately for Ball State, it has made improvements in the explosiveness department this year. The Cardinals rank 24th in allowing big plays on defense after ranking 125th in 2017.

Ball State Has Some Pace

Ball State runs 2.77 plays per minute. That’s No. 4 in the country between UCF and Syracuse. Yes, Ball State plays that fast.

The Cardinals also throw the ball on 46.76% of plays, the 25th-highest rate in the country. That should stop the clock often.

Toledo plays at an average pace, but ranks 13th in explosiveness on offense and can hit a big play at just about any time.

Is There Any Betting Value on the Spread?

From a pure value perspective, there’s plenty on Ball State. Our power ratings make this game around Toledo -10, while S&P+ has it Toledo -15.7. With a spread of almost 20, there’s plenty of breathing room.

There’s a lot to like about Ball State from a scheduling perspective with Toledo in a slight lookahead spot and playing its fourth game in 19 days.

But I’m not comfortable betting on a backup quarterback who was awful against this team last season and hasn’t proven anything against anyone this season. Sometimes it’s just better to pass on the perceived value.

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