MACtion Odds, Picks: How to Bet Tuesday College Football, Including Akron vs. Ball State, Toledo vs. Eastern Michigan & More
Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: The Toledo Rockets football team.
- MACtion is back!
- Our staff broke down all three game for Tuesday night's college football slate, including picks for Ball State vs. Akron and Toledo vs. Eastern Michigan.
- Check out all three breakdowns and picks for Tuesday's slate below.
“Without MACtion, I would be nothing. Without MACtion, I probably wouldn’t even be gambling.”
— Matt Mitchell, aka “Uncle Mitch”
Well said, Uncle Mitch.
At last, midweek MACtion has made its glorious return, and we hope that you are as ready as we are to have our hearts thoroughly broken all over again.
There’s no better way to follow up Monday Night Football than with three college games on Tuesday. Why can’t every week of the football season be this way?
Then again, would midweek MACtion be so sweet if we never pined for its return?
We’ve waited for this day for 10 weeks already, so let’s cut right to the chase: Our college football staff has dissected all three of Tuesday night’s games and delivered a betting pick for each. Check out their full analysis for each game below.
MACtion College Football Picks for Tuesday, Nov. 2
Click the team logos for one of the matchups below to navigate to a specific betting preview for Tuesday’s #MACtion college football slate.
|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.|
Ball State vs. Akron
Football. Yes, you read that right. Football. For the next few weeks, we will have football on TV every single day.
It’s a glorious time of the year when we are blessed with some sort of gridiron action thanks to the MAC coming back on weekdays. While there are plenty of reasons my love life is garbage, this is one of the best.
We kick off the college slate with three games on Tuesday, beginning with Ball State vs. Akron in Zips Country. While the quality of teams may not be up to snuff for the common fan in this matchup, the quality of betting action will be there for us degenerates.
Ball State currently finds itself in a five-way tie for second place in the MAC West at 2-2. Looking to break away from the others, it travels to Akron as sizeable favorites over the lowly Zips.
Regarded as one of the worst teams every season, Akron has exceed “expectations” and has slightly improved its level of play on offense. But Akron’s defense still gives me more trust issues than all of my ex-girlfriends combined.
With two wins under their belt, the Zips will be competing to once again not finish last in the conference.
The sheer excitement of Tuesday football has me shaking to my core. Will Ball State take care of business and cover the near three-touchdown spread, or will Akron shock the nation and put up a fight?
Let’s find out.
Ball State Offense
While Ball State’s offensive metrics are around middle-to-below-average in the nation, it will have a chance to look like Ohio State as it goes against the Akron defense.
The passing is underwhelming, ranking in the 90s in both Pass Success and pass blocking. Quarterback Drew Plitt — winner of the 2020 Action Network Gambling Heisman Trophy — has had a modest season so far, throwing for 1,591 yards, 11 touchdowns, and four interceptions.
He has been sharing the ball around with a trio of receivers in which each player has both double-digit receptions and 100 yards. No one else on the team has reached both of those marks.
Running back Carson Steele will look to run wild, as Akron is the worst Def. Rush Success team in the nation. So far, he has run for 428 yards and five touchdowns at an average of 5.1 yards per carry.
While the Pass Success and Rush Success marks are not ideal, Ball State does a few things well. The Cardinals limit Havoc, take care of the ball and keep drives alive.
Ball State is also around the middle of the nation in Finishing Drives, putting up points at a solid clip when it passes the 40.
Ball State Defense
While Ball State’s offense will be able to sleepwalk past the Akron defense, the Cardinals defense will actually need to come in awake. Akron’s offense is better than in years past.
According to the advanced metrics, Ball State’s defense will be at a disadvantage in the run game. With ranks of 82nd in Def. Rush Success and 88th in Def. Line Yards, it needs to do a better job of pushing back on the line and making stops in the backfield.
Akron may want to focus on the run game, as its passing attack may prove ineffective against Ball State. The Cardinals rank 30th in Def. Pass Rush, getting to the quarterback at a high clip. They will look to exploit Akron’s offensive line, which is one of the worst-ranked units in football.
While Akron’s offense has seen some improvement compared to seasons past, this is still a pretty non-threatening unit as a whole.
The passing game is nonexistent, playing multiple quarterbacks in most games to find some sort of spark at the position. But that hasn’t been successful, which is in large part due to a poor pass-blocking unit, that ranks 126th in the nation.
If Akron wants any chance of an upset, let alone stay within the number, it will lean on the run game, which has shown some success this season. Ranking 65th in Rush Success and top-25 in Line Yards, the Zips will deploy their two-running back attack as well as a scrambling quarterback.
Running backs Jonzell Norrils and Blake Hester will look to exploit Ball State’s poor rush defense. Both have run for 250 plus yards and a few touchdowns, as has scrambling quarterback DJ Irons, who has added 300 yards and two scores on the ground.
This section may be short and sweet.
The Akron defense is one of the worst units in football. It wouldn’t surprise me if our local high school team could score on it. Maybe even the pee-wee football could give it a scare.
The Akron defense ranks 120th or worse in nearly every defensive metric, except in Def, Pass Rush, where they rank 104th.
Not all hope is lost, though, as Akron shockingly does rank well in one area. The Zips rank top-50 in PFF Tackling — a glimmer of hope for any time Ball State gets one of its playmakers in the open.
If Akron wants to avoid getting trucked, it will have to find some sort of rush in the backfield as Ball State is a limited threat in the air.
The Zips could make things interesting if they can get Ball State’s offense off the field quickly, but I won’t put too much faith in that happening.
Ball State vs. Akron Betting Pick
Akron is the sole reason I have no faith in the spread. The defense says to take Ball State, but its decently successful offense on the ground screams, “potential backdoor.” For that reason, my attention will be on the total.
An under’s best friend is early outs, run-heavy schemes, and turnovers. This game has all that and more written into it.
Akron will look to a run-heavy game script to exploit Ball State’s rush defense. This will take precious time off the clock, which is exactly what we need.
We also will have no fear of Akron rattling off a big play, as Ball State is a top-10 team in negating the explosiveness on defense. The Cardinals are also a top-10 team in PFF Tackling, a key factor in stopping the big play.
The total may very well be just a Ball State team total, as the Cardinals may score at will on this defense, hopefully taking the starters out early and cementing my confidence in the under even more
With an Action Network projection of 44.5, I will take the under and hope the Akron defense can put up some sort of a fight to give us some breathing room.
Pick: Under 58.5
Miami (OH) vs. Ohio
MACtion is finally here, and boy, do we have a glorious in-state battle between Miami (OH) and Ohio in Athens on Tuesday night.
Miami is currently tied with Kent State for first place in the MAC East with a 3-1 record in the conference. RedHawks star quarterback Brett Gabbert returned to the lineup last game against Ball State, which was a big boost to an offense that has struggled this season.
The RedHawks boast one of the best defenses in the MAC, so they should be able to slow Ohio’s offense.
It’s been a really bad first season post-Frank Solich for the Bobcats, who are 1-7 on the season with that lone win coming against Akron.
The Bobcats defense hasn’t stopped anyone, while the offense has scored over 20 points in every conference game this season. So, we’ll see what Ohio can do on a cold Tuesday night in November.
Miami has really struggled to move the ball this season, both on the ground and through the air, as it’s 111th in Success Rate.
With Gabbert back in the lineup, the Miami passing attack really improved against Ball State, as Gabbert averaged 9.00 yards per attempt, which is more of what we expected from the RedHawks coming into the season.
Brett Gabbert 23 yard TD to Jack Sorenson! Nice catch!#MiamiOH#Minnesota
— Sideline CFB (@SidelineCFB) September 11, 2021
That’s exactly how they’ll need to beat this Ohio defense because the Bobcats are allowing 7.6 yards per attempt.
However, Miami is really struggling to find a consistent ground game, as it’s gaining only 4.1 yards per rush, rank 101st in EPA/Rush, and 96th in Rushing Success Rate.
So, the offensive success is going to be put in Gabbert’s hands on Tuesday night.
While Miami’s defense hasn’t been that great from a Success Rate standpoint, it’s 15th in college football in Havoc, while Ohio ranks 57th in Havoc Allowed this season. So, the RedHawks should be able to put a lot of pressure on Kurtis Rourke. And that’ll be important because Rourke has really struggled this season, as he’s throwing for only 6.3 yards per attempt.
Miami has not been great in coverage this season, ranking only 82nd in EPA/Pass, 119th in Pass Success Rate Allowed, and 120th in coverage, per PFF. The good news for the RedHawks is Ohio doesn’t have the passing attack that’s going to be able to exploit them.
The front seven has been decent for Miami, allowing only 4.2 yards per rush while ranking 65th in EPA/Rush and 61st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. That will come in handy against an Ohio rushing attack that is 13th in EPA/Rush.
Ohio’s offense is built on a consistent run game.
The Bobcats are gaining 5.4 yards per attempt, rank 27th in Rushing Success Rate, 15th in Offensive Line Yards, and 18th in rushing explosiveness. So, it’s not surprising to see that Ohio is running the ball 58.3% of the time.
However, in this matchup, the Bobcats need to have some success through the air given how bad Miami’s secondary is. Additionally, starting center Nick Sink is questionable for Tuesday’s game, which makes things even more difficult for the Bobcats.
Rourke has struggled to move the ball through the air this season. Ohio sits 119th in Passing Success Rate, 128th in passing explosiveness, and 85th in EPA/Pass. So, it likely won’t be able to exploit the weakness of the Miami defense.
The Ohio defense has been really bad this season, allowing 6.1 yards per play and ranking 120th in Success Rate Allowed.
It’s going to have a lot of trouble stopping Gabbert and the Miami passing attack since it’s 125th in Passing Success Rate Allowed. But Ohio’s secondary is really good at limiting big plays, as it’s 27th in passing explosive allowed. It’s also the 50th-best unit in terms of coverage, per PFF.
The front seven hasn’t been much better overall, allowing 5.3 yards per carry, ranking 113th in EPA/Rush, 100th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, and 112th in Defensive Line Yards. However, this will be one of the worst rushing attacks the unit has seen this season.
Miami (OH) vs. Ohio Betting Pick
The pace of this game is going to be really slow on Tuesday.
Miami ranks 84th in plays per minute, while Ohio is 111th in that same category. With the Bobcats trying to control the tempo with their ground game, I think we’ll see a low-scoring affair on a chilly Tuesday night in Athens.
I only have 44.47 points projected for this game, so I think there’s some value on under 52.5 points and would play it down to 50.
Pick: Under 52.5
Eastern Michigan vs. Toledo
The first MACtion week of 2021 pairs two teams sitting at 2-2 in the MAC West.
Gliding past expectations has been a part of every Eastern Michigan campaign under head coach Chris Creighton, as the Eagles were picked fifth in the preseason. The coach enters his seventh season, having been to three bowls and taking the program back to winning records after a 20-year hiatus.
Eastern Michigan is just a win away from qualifying for bowl season, but a previous loss to Northern Illinois has put the conference title out of range.
Toledo was expected to be the powerhouse of the MAC entering the season. A three-point loss to Notre Dame had the Rockets on track to dominate in conference play, but consecutive losses to Central Michigan and Northern Illinois have all but mathematically eliminated Toledo from playing in the conference championship game.
The Rockets are also just a game shy of qualifying for a bowl, making this game important to both programs’ postseason plans.
The Eagles are coming off an undressing of Bowling Green in a 31-point victory before a bye week last Saturday.
Eastern Michigan scored zero points in the first quarter before an explosive 24-point second quarter. The offensive attack was focused through the air, as quarterback Ben Bryant led an effort that hit 10 passes over 15 yards, while the ground attack had no explosive plays.
Making it look easy for the @EMUFB Touchdown! #ETOUGH | #MACtionpic.twitter.com/BZ3cHRQB6D
— #MACtion (@MACSports) October 23, 2021
The Cincinnati transfer has been the key to the rising advanced statistics for Eastern Michigan. The Eagles’ Passing Success Rate rank of 29th and Finishing Drives mark in the top 10 indicate that any opponent soft in coverage can get behind in a hurry.
While the passing game is the heartbeat of the offense, the defense has multiple holes that can be exposed.
Defensive coordinator Neal Neathery runs exclusively in the 4-2-5 scheme with a low 20% blitz rate. The Eagles have not been successful against the pass or rush with a rank outside the top 100 in Success Rate.
Eastern Michigan also owns one of the worst defensive units in Havoc, ranking outside the top 100 in tackles for loss.
While opposing offenses have had success in every down and distance, the Eagles pass rush has been effective, grading out 19th via PFF.
Toledo head coach Jason Candle is five points away from having an undefeated record in conference play.
A late 20-19 lead in the fourth quarter evaporated against Northern Illinois with three minutes left to play. Toledo turnovers and Rocky Lombardi’s explosiveness put the Huskies in position for a field goal and the lead in the MAC West.
Finishing Drives failed the Rockets against Central Michigan, as they elected to kick a field goal on five separate drives that crossed the 40-yard line.
Toledo has been led by its defense the entire season, with top-10 ranks in tackling and Finishing Drives. The rush defense is one of the best in the nation, limiting opposing offenses to Success Rates lower than the national average in passing and standard downs splits.
The Rockets have also held opponents in explosive and two-plus first down drives.
🧨 @MaxenHook 𝗘𝗫𝗣𝗟𝗢𝗗𝗘𝗦 up the middle and drops the quarterback in this week's Wayne Lumber "Bringing the Lumber" hit of the game!! 😲 pic.twitter.com/pQMxbmNHc5
— Toledo Athletics (@ToledoRockets) October 20, 2021
The struggles for Toledo have come on the offensive side, primarily in pass protection for freshman quarterback Dequan Finn.
The Rockets have a rush rate of 55%, but in passing plays, the young quarterback is behind an offensive line that ranks bottom-10 in pass blocking. This has led to an impotent passing attack that is outside the top 100 in Success Rate.
The issues persist in the run game, as Toledo is stuffed 10% more than the national average in rushing attempts.
The one redeeming quality of the offense is the ability to hit the explosive play, as Toledo ranks above the national average in explosive drives. It sits top-10 in rush and pass expected points.
Eastern Michigan vs. Toledo Betting Pick
The opening market was aligned with the Action Network projections of Toledo -9 and a total of 53.
Since Bryant took over starting quarterback duties for Eastern Michigan in the UMass game, the Eagles have had a passing attack capable of scoring. The difference is when Bryant is pressured, as he has nine big-time throws and six turnover-worthy plays. In games with pressure, Bryant had multiple turnover-worthy plays against Ball State, Miami (OH) and Northern Illinois.
Toledo has a top-20 defense in pass rush and coverage, indicating this could be a long night for the Eastern Michigan quarterback. As great as the Eagles have been at putting points on the board in scoring opportunities, the Toledo defense has been better with a rank of eighth in Finishing Drives.
The Toledo offense cannot be counted on to score consistently because of inconsistent play on the offensive line. The Eagles do not have many outstanding attributes on defense, but a top-20 rank in rushing the passer will flush Finn out of the pocket and put him on the run.
The Rockets struggles in Success Rate from any down and distance, ranking in the bottom 11 in standard and passing downs. Toledo puts points on the board with explosive plays, an area the Eagles defense excels in preventing.
The biggest key numbers in this range include 52, 51 and 55. Shop for the best number on an under, as Eastern Michigan escapes pressure and Toledo seeks explosive plays.
Pick: Under 53 or Better
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