College Football Odds & Picks For Eastern Michigan vs. Ball State: Bet the Eagles in Wednesday Night’s MACtion
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Antwan Davis.
- The Eastern Michigan Eagles head to Muncie, Indiana, on Wednesday to take on the Ball State Cardinals for Wednesday Night MACtion.
- Eagles head coach Chris Creighton has been nearly unstoppable as a road underdog in recent years, and Collin Wilson thinks that's something worth noting.
- Check out Wilson's full betting preview with updated odds below.
Eastern Michigan vs. Ball State Odds
|Eastern Michigan Odds||+8.5 [BET NOW]|
|Ball State Odds||-8.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+250/-320 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||61 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
Eastern Michigan Eagles
Head coach Chris Creighton continues to get more from a roster that annually finishes last in MAC recruiting.
Eastern Michigan had the lowest number of returning production and still found a way to cover against a Kent State team that returned a plethora of offensive starters. Eagles quarterback Preston Hutchinson put up a pair of touchdowns with seven throws for more than 15 yards in last week’s game, leading an offense that climbed to 16th in finishing drives. He did throw two interceptions, but neither resulted in points for Kent State. And both of his touchdowns came in the second half.
Eastern Michigan throwing to the Back Shoulder of the TE vs. Man Under on a Goal Line Corner Route pic.twitter.com/LhRvaEyN53
— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) November 5, 2020
The Eastern Michigan defense deserves credit for stalling an uptempo Kent State offense that won a bowl game in 2019, with the Eagles limiting the Golden Flashes to just one explosive drive in 11 possessions. The Eagles are now third in opponent pass explosiveness, and cornerback Alvinoski LaFleur took top honors as the highest-graded defensive player after an interception, three tackles and just seven yards after catch allowed against the Golden Flashes.
Ball State Cardinals
Ball State out-gained Miami (OH) and had a higher average yards per play, but still lost last week. The RedHawks fielded backup quarterback AJ Mayer in the absence of Brett Gabbert, and still put up 212 yards and three touchdowns against the Cardinals.
Despite the loss, the Cardinals rank 17th in tackling, per Pro Football Focus grading. A Havoc ranking of fourth and a rank of sixth in Line Yards show that Ball State is a force against the rush. That said, the way to beat Ball State is through the air, as PFF graded the Cardinals coverage 105th — on 32 passing attempts from Miami (OH) last week, Ball State recorded just two pass breakups.
The offense continues to play at an uptempo rate with a rank of 19th in seconds per play. It controlled the trenches, ranking fifth in Line Yards, but it importantly had 20% more than the national average in two-plus first down drives. The Cardinals gained 7.2 yards per play with a 65% Success Rate in standard downs, giving quarterback Drew Plitt excellent field position on third downs.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Although I’m projecting this line to be Ball State -10.5, there are plenty of reasons to pause on the Cardinals.
Hutchinson proved he can move the ball through the air, throwing a handful of passes for longer than 15 yards and generating two touchdowns in the second half of last week’s game against Kent State. Eight different Eastern Michigan players were targeted in that game with wide receiver Hassan Beydoun getting the lion’s share, resulting in 112 yards. And as previously mentioned, Ball State does have a weakness, and it comes in the form of a coverage rank of 105th from PFF.
And when Ball State is on offense, Plitt will deal with an Eastern Michigan back seven that put Kent State on pause.
Also worth consideration is the coaching matchup between Mike Neu and Creighton. The road team has won this matchup in four of the past five seasons, but its Creighton’s work as an underdog that shines:
Per our Bet Labs database, Eastern Michigan is 21-10-1 against the number when listed as a road underdog under Creighton. That number improves to more than 70% when Eastern Michigan is given more than a touchdown in the spread.
The Eagles have the pass defense to hang with the Cardinals, while the Cardinals defense will continue to struggle against any air attack.
Pick: Eastern Michigan +8.5 or better