Buffalo vs Ohio Betting Odds, Prediction: Expect Offenses to Shine
Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo quarterback Cole Snyder.
Buffalo vs Ohio Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Glorious MACtion returns to our Tuesday nights with a prime-time showdown between two contenders for the East Division.
Buffalo is undefeated in conference play and has been an absolute freight train at the window, covering in every FBS game on the schedule.
Head coach Maurice Linguist didn't have much time to prepare last season, taking over after the spring game when Lance Leipold left for Kansas.
Regression was expected with plenty of roster turnover and the fact that Linguist had spent his entire career as a secondary coach.
After dropping the first three games this season, including a matchup against Holy Cross, the Bulls have been on fire in rattling off five straight winners. A tiebreaker win over Bowling Green and a victory over Ohio all but seals the Bulls' trip to the MAC Championship.
Ohio is experiencing a renaissance of its own in the wake Frank Solich's retirement. Like Buffalo, the Bobcats missed a bowl in 2021 after Tim Albin was named head coach in the summer with little notice.
Ohio now holds a similar record to Buffalo at 5-3, with the only conference loss coming to Kent State. A win here places the Bobcats in the driver’s seat for a MAC Championship berth with Bowling Green as the only remaining hurdle.
There may not be a more opportunistic team in the Mid-American Conference than the Bulls.
Buffalo has been full of good fortune in games against teams with a chance to win the conference. The Bulls trounced Bowling Green, winning the box score from a yards-per-play and money-down perspective, but a gratuitous four turnovers assisted the landslide.
The same set of events took place in a Week 8 victory over Toledo. The Bulls, who trailed 27-10 entering the fourth quarter, snagged six total turnovers and scored 24 unanswered points to stay at the top of the MAC East.
Quarterback Cole Snyder has led a balanced attack on the ground and through the air, posting 12 passing touchdowns this season. Although Snyder has thrown just five interceptions, the Rutgers transfer has more turnover-worthy plays than big-time throws in every single FBS game this year.
Wide receiver Quian Williams leads the team in targets, but the explosiveness of slot receiver Jamari Gassett has been crucial for the Bulls.
There's plenty of depth at running back, with both Mike Washington and Ron Cook Jr. receiving over 100 attempts this season.
Powering the Havoc numbers are nine forced fumbles and a top-20 rank in passes defensed. Safety Jahmin Muse has been the biggest chaos creator on the team, leading the MAC in forced fumbles while pacing Buffalo in coverage grading.
The Bulls are also one of the best teams in the MAC in getting opposing offenses off schedule.
Although the Bobcats have a 46% rush rate on the season, this is a balanced attack that prefers to establish the run.
Running back Sieh Bangura was limited in the victory over Northern Illinois, as Albin called the leading rusher day-to-day.
Backup Nolan McCormick has been underwhelming on 61 rushing attempts this season, averaging just 2.6 yards after contact and creating only eight missed tackles.
While Ohio wants to run the ball, the team's primary success has come from the arm of quarterback Kurtis Rourke.
Kurtis Rourke LAUNCHES and connects with Sam Wiglusz for a 71-yard, go-ahead touchdown 🔥🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/gcEaJRT9Jj
— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) October 1, 2022
Albin made it clear in his presser for the Buffalo matchup that Rourke must give Ohio State transfer wide receiver Sam Wiglusz more targets. The junior has the second-highest mark in yards per route run of all MAC wide receivers at 2.7, ranking as the most dangerous slot target in the conference.
Ohio has generated plenty of yards and points entering this game, but the struggles on defense have been readily available for exposure.
The ineptitude of Western Michigan and Northern Illinois has made Ohio's defense look satisfactory, but allowing 34 points to Akron reveals more in the analytics. Playing the 108th-ranked strength of schedule, the Bobcats sit near dead last in tackling and coverage.
Defending passing downs has been a nightmare with a bottom-15 rank in Success Rate and defending explosiveness.
Ohio has enjoyed two weeks of low-scoring games, but Buffalo presents a stiffer offensive challenge than its October schedule.
Buffalo vs Ohio Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Buffalo and Ohio match up statistically:
Buffalo Offense vs Ohio Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Ohio Offense vs Buffalo Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams
|Seconds per Play
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Buffalo vs Ohio Betting Pick
Bangura's health must be monitored for Ohio, as the running back and Rourke look to keep the chains moving with a mixture of inside and outside zone read.
With the health of the running back in question, combined with Albin’s request that Wiglusz receives additional targets, there's an expectation that Ohio puts the ball in the air plenty.
This effort will lead the Rourke-Wiglusz connection to Bulls slot cornerback Keyshawn Cobb when Buffalo elects to run man coverage. Ohio ranks top-10 nationally in first downs through the air, which may increase given the Bulls' struggles to implement man coverage.
For Buffalo, Snyder has escaped pressured pockets all season with 137 scramble yards. Another 90 yards from designed runs have helped him score four rushing touchdowns, but Snyder has struggled to hold onto the ball.
The Bobcats have played behind the line of scrimmage on defense with a rank of 20th in Stuff Rate. Ohio has mid-FBS ranks in generating Havoc, but a higher mark in tackles for loss suggests that Buffalo may have issues in early downs.
The Action Network projection makes the home team the favorite by a single point, but it's the methodology of the Bobcats offense that suggests the total is in play.
If Bangura is unable to go, Ohio will have no other option in the backfield to run quality zone-read attempts with Rourke. If Wiglusz targets take place on standard downs, Buffalo will struggle to keep points off the board, ranking 130th in FBS in defending standard downs explosiveness.
Conversely, Buffalo may have success in long down and distances when Snyder scrambles. Ohio has been one of the worst teams in the nation at pass defense, signaling that Gassett will generate big plays from the slot.
Furthermore, Ohio ranks near dead last in all analytics when defending passing downs, suggesting that scrambles from Snyder will turn into easy first downs.
The biggest key number in totals is 59, and this total is expected to steam. Both offenses have options in the pass game, where the defenses have no proven track record.
Considering the inability of both teams to tackle or defend the explosive play, we'll start the first evening of MACtion with an over.