College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Akron vs. Bowling Green: Why to Fade the Falcons

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Akron vs. Bowling Green: Why to Fade the Falcons article feature image
Credit:

Emilee Chinn/Getty Images. Pictured: DJ Irons

  • Bowling Green hosts Akron in a MAC duel on Saturday afternoon at Noon ET.
  • The Falcons are two weeks removed from an upset over Minnesota, while the Zips have lost two in a row.
  • Mike Ianniello breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.

Akron vs. Bowling Green Odds

Akron Odds +13.5 (-110)
Bowling Green Odds -13.5 (-110)
Moneyline +435 / -600
Over/Under 46 (-115 / -105)
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV ESPN+
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Normally we see anticipated marquee matchups lose their luster when a team loses a game, much like Alabama vs. Texas A&M has lost its shine after the Aggies’ two losses.

Well, Akron vs. Bowling Green has lost some of its fun because both of these teams have won games. Bowling Green beat Murray State and went into Minnesota and pulled off the upset as a 31-point underdog.

Akron has only beaten Bryant, but that is one more win than it had coming into this matchup last season. These teams are up to 113th and 126th in the country, according to SP+, and while it’s not as bad as we thought, nobody will be watching this game unless they bet on it.

So, where does the value lie between the two MACtion basement-dwellers?


Akron vs. Bowling Green Betting Preview

Saturday, Oct. 9
12 p.m. ET
ESPN+

Akron Zips

Akron Offense

After finishing last season with an offense that was 105th in Passing Success and 120th in Rushing Success, the Zips have actually jumped up this season to 98th in Passing Success and 83rd in Rushing Success Rate.

It is even more surprising how much the Akron running game has improved despite the suspension of last season’s workhorse Teon Dollard.

A large reason for the improvement on the ground is an offensive line that started four freshman last year and is now more experienced, ranking 46th in Line Yards on the season.

Another huge reason for the improvement has been the dual-threat ability of quarterback DJ Irons. After starting the season backing up Kato Nelson, Irons came off the bench in the season opener against Auburn and went 13-of-13 for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Irons got his first start against Bryant in the team’s lone win and went 19-of-23 for 296 yards and three touchdowns passing while adding 136 yards and a touchdown rushing.

Irons is completing 70% of his passes this year for 165 yards per game and eight touchdowns passing, as well 50 yards per game and two touchdowns rushing

Irons’ dual-threat ability has helped the Zips’ offense take a step forward and he has developed great chemistry with wide receiver Konata Mumpfield, who has a caught a touchdown pass in four-straight games.


Akron Defense

Akron’s defense has been horrific against the run, ranking dead last in the country in Rushing Success.

They are allowing 6.5 yards per carry and have given up 16 scores on the ground. However, 10 of those touchdowns came against Auburn and Ohio State.

Conversely, the Zips’ passing defense has been really good this year, ranking 24th in the country in Success Rate. Charles Amankwaa has been their best pass coverage defender with two interceptions this season.

Akron’s best Havoc creator has been outside linebacker Michael Scott. He leads the team in sacks and fumble recoveries and has really come up huge.

Despite the struggles against the run, the Zips do rank 39th in Line Yards and have a couple solid pieces up front, led by Bryce Wilson.

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Bowling Green Falcons

Bowling Green Offense

Bowling Green has been a much better team this year than last, but that certainly isn’t due to its offense. The Falcons rank 129th in the country in Rushing Success and 101st in Pass Success.

Even in the upset win over Minnesota, Bowling Green managed just 192 total yards of offense. The Falcons have averaged just 17.2 points per game and only five teams have averaged fewer than their 4.3 yards per play.

Quarterback Matt McDonald looks like he is throwing the football with his wrong hand as his passing grade ranks 144th, according to Pro Football Focus. He has just three big time throws on the season, compared to 10 turnover worthy plays.

The running game for the Falcons is non-existent as they are averaging just 47.2 yards per game and a miniscule 1.74 yards per game on the ground, both ranking dead last in the country by a decent margin.

It is hard to get anything going on offense behind the worst offense line in the country. They grade out as the worst run blocking unit in the FBS and rank 127th in Line Yards, 123rd in Pass Blocking and 119th in Havoc allowed.


Bowling Green Defense

The reason Bowling Green has taken a huge step forward has been the improvement of the defense.

You can argue no unit in the nation has improved more than the Falcons’ defense. After finishing 100th in Success Rate on defense last year, the Falcons are up to 70th in Success Rate this season.

It is easy to find an explanation for the upgrade after the retirement of defensive coordinator for Brian VanGorder, who most college football fans know was about as good at his job as Michael Scott — the TV character, not the Akron linebacker.

The Falcons rank a pedestrian 92nd in Rushing Success rate on defense but are a fantastic 11th against the pass. Tennessee threw for just 145 yards against the Falcons, Tanner Morgan was held to just 59 yards in Minnesota’s loss and Dustin Crum managed just 134 yards last week for Kent State.

Bowling Green ranks 36th in PFF’s Coverage ranking.

Cornerbacks Devin Taylor, Davon Ferguson and Marcus Sheppard have all been great for the Falcons and safety Sy Dabney has excelled in coverage as well.


Akron vs. Bowling Green Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Akron and Bowling Green match up statistically:

Akron Offense vs. Bowling Green Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
83
92
Line Yards
46
36
Pass Success
98
11
Pass Blocking**
127
93
Big Play
78
18
Havoc
120
91
Finishing Drives
105
53
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Bowling Green Offense vs. Akron Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
129
130
Line Yards
127
39
Pass Success
101
24
Pass Blocking**
123
122
Big Play
118
130
Havoc
119
125
Finishing Drives
88
127
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling
65
66
PFF Coverage
127
36
Middle 8
123
94
SP+ Special Teams
112
17
Plays per Minute
115
107
Rush Rate
57.6% (47)
42.9% (120)

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


Akron vs. Bowling Green Betting Pick

Bowling Green is much better than it was last season and it will probably come away with the win on Saturday behind its improved defense.

But by more than two touchdowns?

I’m sorry, but Bowling Green should not be laying two touchdowns to anybody in the country.

In this game last year, Akron was a -2.5 favorite and beat the Falcons 31-3. Is Bowling Green really THAT much better that they can turn a 28-point loss into a 15-point win in one year?

The Falcons have not been a favorite of more than two touchdowns against an FBS opponent since 2015 when they won the MAC Championship under Dino Babers.

But that team averaged 42.2 points per game. This offense that is averaging just 17.2 points per game lacks the fire power to pull away from teams, especially in a game with such a low total of just 46.

Akron is bad, but their offense is better than Bowling Green’s. Irons also gives them a dynamic element who is capable of doing enough to keep this game close.

Give me the Zips at anything +14 or nothing in what should be a gross, beautiful MACtion contest.

Pick: Akron Zips +14.5

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