College Football Odds, Picks: 4 Best Bets for Wednesday Night MACtion
Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images. Pictured: A MACtion banner.
Somehow, we’ve already reached the last Wednesday night MACtion slate of the 2022 college football season. It doesn’t feel possible.
While we’ll still have some MACtion next Tuesday night, let’s enjoy some Wednesday night football while we can. Wednesday’s slate features three games in what can only be called the new Conference of Champions: Eastern Michigan vs. Kent State, Miami (OH) vs. Northern Illinois and Western Michigan vs. Central Michigan.
Our staff came through with four best bets for two of Wednesday’s games. So, whether you’re looking to find value on an underdog or hoping for some first-half fireworks, we have you covered.
Check out how our staff is betting Wednesday night’s MACtion college football games below.
Wednesday College Football Best Bets
Team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our college football staff is targeting from Wednesday’s MACtion games. Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
|Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.|
Eastern Michigan vs. Kent State
In a word, Kent State’s defense is a disaster.
The Golden Flashes defense ranks 114th in Success Rate while allowing 8.4 yards per attempt through the air (119th). Kent’s third-down defense is 99th, and it allows opposing quarterbacks to complete 70% of their passes (130th).
If a team can avoid turning the ball over — which, to Kent’s credit, it can force teams into turnovers — then it can march up and down the field with ease.
Eastern isn’t as explosive with Austin Smith at the helm, but Kent has a way of coaxing career games out of opposing quarterbacks.
Even if Smith is simply efficient, the rest of the game plan resides with running back Samson Evans. The workhorse has torn up MAC competition in recent weeks and can be relied upon to put a hurting on Kent’s punchless run defense.
In Evans’ last three full MAC games — aside from his four-carry game against NIU in which he was hurt — he’s averaging 104 per game on the ground with eight touchdowns.
I was tempted to swing for a moneyline upset in this spot because Kent is a two-faced kind of team. Its ceiling is clearly the top offensive team in the MAC, but its cold streaks and turnover issues have betrayed it time and again this season.
The Flashes offense has sputtered so badly in the red zone this season that it’s 126th nationally in red-zone scoring percentage. That’s the kind of persistent problem that can open a team up to an upset.
But with the spread still above the key number of seven, I’ll settle for the points.
1H Over 30.5
EMU’s Chris Creighton loves being discounted.
He’s enjoyed peaks as a visitor, dog or both over his career as head coach, so it’s not necessarily surprising to see this stat entering Week 11: Only three other teams in the entire country are averaging more first-half points per game on the road this year than the Eagles (21.4).
Kent State, meanwhile, is slowly finding its footing after the Power Five gauntlet out the gates. Although the Golden Flashes average about 14.2 points per game in the first half, that number’s jumped to 18 over the previous three against the MAC.
Kent State runs with pace (10th-fastest tempo nationally), and Eastern Michigan usually game plans well in these spots. I like the first-half over at this number.
Weather’s murky this time of year, but the temperature should still be closer to the 40s early in the contest. However, local forecasts in Ohio expect it to dip below freezing later as the night unwinds.
Although I didn’t offer any cushion on the flexibility of the total, I really don’t think you can beat 30.5 at a discounted -105 — especially when it’s right on the cusp of a key 31.
Pick: 1H Over 30.5
Miami (OH) vs. Northern Illinois
Over the last three years, Miami (OH) has had one of the most dynamic offenses in the MAC when quarterback Brett Gabbert is healthy. However, he has played just 16 games in the last three years.
Gabbert has missed six games already this season and returned three weeks ago. Since his return, he’s averaged 216 yards per game with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
He’s coming off his best game of the season, which also resulted in the best game for receiver Mac Hippenhammer, who hauled in eight catches for 107 yards and three scores.
Northern Illinois’ defense has been torched through the air this season and ranks 114th in the country. If Gabbert can stay healthy, he should rip apart this defense.
Northern Illinois quarterback Rocky Lombardi is expected to continue to miss games for a Huskies team that ranks 19th in the country in rushing rate.
This Miami (OH) defense is the best unit in the MAC against the run by a wide margin. It’s allowing just 3.3 yards per play and 116 yards per game on the ground. The RedHawks rank 38th in the country in Rushing Success and 40th in Line Yards.
Miami (OH) can still reach bowl eligibility with wins over Northern Illinois and Ball State. It has its quarterback healthy, and the Huskies are without theirs.
The RedHawks’ strength is defending the run, which is all NIU wants to do. I’ll take Gabbert and the RedHawks as a slight underdog here.
Miami (OH) +1.5
Both teams have had their seasons crushed by losing their respective starting quarterbacks this season.
Northern Illinois lost Rocky Lombardi and has had a quarterback carousel ever since. The only issue is none of those players have panned out. Nevan Cremascoli started against Western Michigan and completed 8-of-17 passes for 133 yards while throwing three interceptions.
Justin Lynch took over on the game-winning drive against Western Michigan, but he moved the ball down the field on six runs for 83 yards. Once again, he proved his inability to pass the ball.
Meanwhile, Miami (OH) has star quarterback Brett Gabbert back in the lineup. Gabbert showed off last week, completing 20-of-26 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
He will be going against a Northern Illinois defense that ranks 114th nationally, allowing 8.3 yards per pass attempt. The Huskies have allowed a passing touchdown in each game and 28 in their 10 games this season.
I don’t know how Northern Illinois’ offense will be able to keep up with the RedHawks, so I’m expecting a wire-to-wire victory for Miami (Ohio).