Buffalo vs. Ball State College Football Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top Pick for Tuesday (Nov. 23)

Buffalo vs. Ball State College Football Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top Pick for Tuesday (Nov. 23) article feature image
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Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Brett Anderson II.

Buffalo vs. Ball State Odds

Tuesday, Nov. 23
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Buffalo Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6.5
-110
59.5
-115o / -105u
+200
Ball State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6.5
-110
59.5
-115o / -105u
-250
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Ball State Cardinals look to become bowl eligible on Tuesday when they host the Buffalo Bulls in Muncie, Indiana, in one of the two final MACtion games of the season.

Buffalo has really struggled in MAC play up to this point in the season.

The Bulls have recorded just two wins and have lost three straight games, giving up over 30 points in each of the losses. Things haven’t really gone according to plan for Maurice Linguist’s squad, as Buffalo sits at just 4-7 and out of contention for a bowl game.

Ball State has lost three of its last four games to drop to 5-6 on the season, just one year after taking home a conference title. But the Cardinals need only a single win Tuesday night to reach bowl eligibility.

They’ve really struggled on the offensive side of the ball this season but could find some success against Buffalo, which features one of the worst defenses in the MAC.


Buffalo Bulls

Buffalo Moving on Without Vantrease at QB

Even though Lance Leipold has moved onto Kansas, Buffalo is still running the ball at a very high rate, carrying the rock 60.3% of the time this season. But with that being said, the Bulls have a pretty average ground attack.

Buffalo averages only 4.3 yards per carry, ranks 57th in Rushing Success Rate and ranks 59th in Offensive Line Yards. Running the ball is also not how teams beat Ball State’s defense, as it has one of the worst secondaries in the conference.

Buffalo is only throwing the ball 39.7% of the time, and it’s likely going to throw it less often on Tuesday with its starting quarterback Kyle Vantrease out for the season. That means Matt Myers will get his second start of the season.

Myers wasn’t called on very often in Buffalo’s overtime loss to Northern Illinois, attempting just 23 passes and putting up 7.0 yards per attempt with an average depth of target of 7.3 yards, per PFF.

So, we’ll see if the Bulls will open up the playbook or stick to the ground game once again on Tuesday night.

Bulls Defense Needs to Improve Quickly

Buffalo hasn’t been able to stop anything all season long. The Bulls allow 6.6 yards per play and rank 126th in EPA/Play allowed.

Most of their struggles have come against the run, where Buffalo they’re allowing a whopping 5.4 yards per attempt. Buffalo also ranks 127th in EPA/Rush allowed, 99th in Rushing Success Rate allowed and 129th in rushing explosiveness allowed.

Ball State is a very balanced offense, but it has had much better success on the ground than through the air this season. I think Ball State will be able to run all over one of the worst run defenses in college football.

If only Buffalo’s problems on defense were limited to stopping the run, it might be a bowl team. However, Buffalo is allowing 9.5 yards per attempt, which is 124th in college football.

The Bulls are also 85th in Passing Success Rate Allowed, 101st in EPA/Pass allowed and 128th in terms of a coverage grade, per PFF.


Ball State Cardinals

Will Ball State Return to Championship-Level Offense?

Ball State’s offense hasn’t been moving the ball very effectively this season. The Cardinals are gaining only 5.0 yards per play and rank 77th in Success Rate.

They run the ball only 50.8% of the time, and from a Success Rate standpoint, they haven’t been very effective, ranking 70th in college football. However, the Cardinals are 47th in rushing explosiveness, which is huge in this matchup given how prone Buffalo is to giving up big plays on the ground.

Quarterback Drew Plitt hasn’t been very effective moving the ball through the air this season, averaging only 6.2 yards per attempt. Plitt also has a 65.7 passing grade with 13 turnover-worthy plays.

However, this is one of the worst secondaries he has faced all season long outside of Akron, so I think we’ll see an improved performance against the third-worst graded secondary in the country.

Drew Plitt finds Carson Steele for the Ball State TD. The Cardinals take a double digit lead heading into halftime.

BALL STATE 21
AKRON 10

pic.twitter.com/cSmtTa8ZGX

— CFB Blitz (@BlitzCfb) November 3, 2021

Cardinals Continue to Struggle on Defense

The Ball State defense hasn’t been able to stop anything this season, allowing 5.8 yards per play and ranking 122nd in Success Rate Allowed.

The Cardinals’ front seven hasn’t been good at stopping the run, but they’ve been better than the secondary. Ball State is allowing 4.3 yards per carry while ranking 91st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 87th in Defensive Line Yards.

Despite this, Ball State is very good at limiting explosive plays. It ranks 34th in big plays allowed and 19th in rushing explosiveness, so facing a Buffalo offense that is 109th in big plays and 101st in rushing explosiveness will force the Bulls to beat it with consistent three- or four-yard carries.

The secondary is terrible from a Success Rate standpoint, ranking 127th. But it doesn’t allow big plays, sitting second in college football in explosive passing allowed.

Going up against a backup quarterback that hasn’t really taken many deep shots will force Buffalo to beat it in the short-passing game.

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Buffalo vs. Ball State Matchup Analysis

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

Buffalo Offense vs. Ball State Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 57 91
Line Yards 59 87
Pass Success 76 128
Pass Blocking** 95 22
Big Play 108 34
Havoc 28 112
Finishing Drives 66 90
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Ball State Offense vs. Buffalo Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 70 99
Line Yards 69 97
Pass Success 101 85
Pass Blocking** 80 12
Big Play 99 119
Havoc 23 47
Finishing Drives 47 66
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 24 13
Coverage 128 97
Middle 8 18 121
SP+ Special Teams 110 63
Plays per Minute 17 22
Rush Rate 60.3% (28) 50.8% (92)

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


Buffalo vs. Ball State Betting Pick

With Ball State having everything to play for and Buffalo having nothing to play for with a backup quarterback, I think this is a perfect spot for the Cardinals who should be able to move the ball with ease against one of the worst defenses in the MAC.

I have Ball State projected at -9.45, so I think there’s some value on the Cardinals to cover and become bowl eligible at -5.5.

Pick: Ball State -5.5

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