College Football Odds, Picks & Predictions: 3 Bets for Tuesday’s MACtion Clashes
Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Toledo tight end Jamal Turner (9) and tight end Lenny Kuhl (40).
- Tuesday night college football is back with three MACtion kickoffs.
- Our betting analysts shared a betting pick for all three games, including Eastern Michigan vs. Akron, Ohio vs. Miami (OH) and Ball State vs. Toledo.
- Check out odds and picks for all three Tuesday college football games below.
It’s a Tuesday night in November, which can only mean one thing: It’s time for some MACtion.
All 12 teams in the Mid-American Conference are in action on Tuesday and Wednesday with three of those games coming on Tuesday night: Eastern Michigan vs. Akron, Ohio vs. Miami (OH) and Ball State vs. Kent State.
So, let’s start the week on a high note because there’s plenty more to come from the MACtion Network.
Tuesday MACtion College Football Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the MACtion matchups that our college football staff is targeting from today’s slate of 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. Akron
Akron made one of the better offseason coaching hires when it brought in Joe Moorhead from Oregon. He had success as offensive coordinator at Oregon and Penn State, and he took Mississippi State to a bowl game in each of his two seasons there.
The offensive mind did some great things in the transfer portal, bringing in a load of Power Five transfers.
But it has not translated to immediate success.
The Zips continue to struggle, sitting 1-8 on the year and 0-5 in MAC play. But they’re getting close. Akron lost to Bowling Green by three points, Central Michigan by seven and Kent State by six.
Eastern Michigan has been a middling team for the entire Chris Creighton era. It’s alternated winning and losing seasons for the last six years. If the pattern holds, this would be a losing season, but it’s currently 5-4 after a manageable nonconference schedule and a big win over Arizona State.
The Eagles have started 2-3 in conference play, and last week’s loss to Toledo likely takes them out of conference championship contention. They should have a good opportunity to bounce back, though, laying over a touchdown against Akron.
We know everybody wants to bet midweek MACtion, so what’s the best way to attack this matchup?
Finding consistent quarterback play has been an issue for the Eagles offense all season. Ben Bryant transferred back to Cincinnati, and Preston Hutchinson transferred to Chattanooga, leading to Taylor Powell transferring in from Troy.
He has missed three games throughout the season with injuries, but Powell is averaging just 205.3 yards per game with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions in six games.
Austin Smith is more of a dual threat, averaging 170 passing yards and 53 rushing yards in his starts. Creighton has been rotating both quarterbacks since Powell’s return.
Speaking of running the ball, the ground game has surprisingly been Eastern Michigan’s strength this season. Samson Evans has averaged over 90 yards on the ground per game this season, something the Eagles haven’t had a player do since 2013.
Guard Sidy Sow and tackle Brian Dooley will both likely be first-team All-MAC and lead an offensive line that has helped Eastern Michigan rank 29th in the country in Rushing Success Rate and accrue 17 rushing scores, which is tied for the conference lead.
On the other side of the ball, defending the run has been the issue. The Eagles are really undersized up front, and they get pushed around at times. They rank outside of the top 90 in Rushing Success and Line Yards.
The star of the show is edge rusher Jose Ramirez. Much like the Cleveland Gaurdians player with the same name, he’s basically this entire team. He has totaled eight sacks and 11 tackles for loss in his last four games.
After using two quarterbacks last year, Akron lost the better passer when Zach Gibson left for Georgia Tech.
Dual-threat DJ Irons has averaged 279 yards through the air this season with nine touchdowns and six interceptions while adding has added 282 yards and four scores on the ground.
The Zips have the second-fewest rushing yards in the country, as Irons is actually the team’s leading rusher. Minnesota transfer Cam Wiley is averaging just 26.8 yards per game, and Clyde Price III has gone for 20.3
Of all the Power Five transfers that Akron brought in this offseason, wide receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis has been the most productive while also being the most fun name to say in college football. Jacques-Louis is averaging 85.6 yards per game this year.
In fact, the whole wide receiver room has been revamped with transfers Alex Adams (LSU) and Daniel George (Penn State) sitting second and third in receiving, respectively.
Akron’s defensive transfers have not been able to make as much of a difference, as the Zips still rank outside of the top 100 at defending the pass and the rush. They’re the worst in the MAC, allowing 6.6 yards per play.
Linebacker Bubba Arslanian has returned to form after suffering a season-ending injury in Week 4 last year.
He leads the team with 97 tackles and eight tackles for loss. Behind him, though, this unit just has no answer to defend the pass. It ranks 129th in PFF coverage grade.
Eastern Michigan vs Akron Betting Pick
Akron has a complete inability to run the football, and because of that, it basically doesn’t even try. The Zips rank 125th in rushing rate this season.
Eastern Michigan’s defense has been worse defending the pass this year, but it’s gotten much better during conference play. Akron’s one-dimensional offense will allow it to focus more on coverage and defending the pass.
Expect Ramirez to pin his ears back and get a ton of pressure against this terrible offensive line.
While Akron’s defense has been a mess, Eastern Michigan has struggled at quarterback and struggled to find success through the air. I expect it to feed Evans all game here, and while he should have a ton of success, the Eagles play at a very slow pace and are one of the least explosive teams in the country.
Betting an under in MACtion is always terrifying because you’re just constantly sweating a pick-six or blocked punt for a touchdown, but both of these teams have cashed an under in three straight games.
Ohio vs. Miami (OH)
The MAC East Division is wide open with three programs sitting with a 4-1 conference record. Ohio is among that group and hopes to keep its place atop the division after it matches up with Miami (OH) on Tuesday night.
The Bobcats are one of the hottest teams in the conference, having beaten four MAC opponents in a row. More importantly for bettors, the program has covered all five of its conference games by an average of two touchdowns per contest.
Now, it matches up against the preseason East favorite in Miami (OH). The RedHawks’ season was derailed after quarterback Brett Gabbert was injured in the opener against Kentucky.
Will the return of the top quarterback in the conference be enough to rejuvenate the RedHawks offense in this matchup?
Ohio has continued to prove oddsmakers incorrect this season. The Bobcats owned odds of 16-1 to win the conference and now are the front runners in the East Division. In addition, the program has covered five games in a row, including three outright victories in a row as underdogs.
The Bobcats hope to make that four in a row behind stellar quarterback play from Kurtis Rourke.
After a mediocre sophomore campaign, the redshirt junior has been lighting it up this season. Rourke has tossed 21 touchdowns to only four interceptions this year. He’s averaging over 300 yards per game and nine yards per pass attempt.
Sam Wiglusz has emerged as Rourke’s go-to receiver on the outside. Wiglusz averages 79 yards receiving per game and has found pay dirt nine times this season.
Ohio’s offense is averaging over 30 points per game and six yards per play against FBS competition, both ranking among the top 45 in the country.
But the defense still has been a problem this year, allowing 31 points per game. The secondary that allows 7.7 yards per pass attempt has been a concern, and it will certainly be tested in this matchup against Gabbert.
Miami (OH) owned the best odds to come out of the MAC East before the season started.
Quarterback Brett Gabbert led the RedHawks to one of the most dominant passing attacks in the Group of Five last season. But those hopes came to a crashing end after he was injured in the opener against Kentucky.
Miami made do with two backups who had a combined one career pass attempt at the collegiate level.
The offense transitioned to redshirt freshman Aveon Smith, who completed 52% of his passes for only 105 yards per game. He was more serviceable as a runner, as he averaged 5.0 yards per carry for 45 yards per game.
But Gabbert is now back under center, and Miami hopes to win two of its final three matchups to become bowl-eligible. Gabbert is averaging 6.7 yards per pass attempt and 190 yards per game since his return two weeks ago.
The offense converted just 2-of-13 third downs last week in a victory over Akron. The RedHawks were outgained by 130 yards as Gabbert continues to shake off the rust after his extended time off.
The offensive numbers for Miami haven’t been great. The group ranks outside the top 115 in the nation in scoring offense (18 PPG) and yards per play (4.4).
But with the return of its starting quarterback, those numbers should see improvement down the stretch.
Ohio vs Miami (OH) Betting Pick
This is an intriguing matchup between two programs that have flipped places from the preseason projections.
Rourke has been lighting up defenses this season, and I don’t anticipate that to change in this matchup. Ohio owns a top-20 Passing Success Rate and pass-blocking rating. It should be in for a field day against a Miami defense that ranks 72nd and 100th, respectively, in those same metrics.
Meanwhile, the Ohio defense ranks 124th in tackling and 123rd in coverage, per PFF. I expect this to be the first breakout game for Gabbert since his return. Gabbert has also won 11 of his 12 career starts in Oxford.
Despite these two offenses playing with slow tempos, I believe they will put points up in this matchup. Both passing offenses are going to find success through the air and find the end zone in a back-and-forth matchup.
Ball State vs. Toledo
The first edition of midweek MACtion could not have played out any better for Ball State. Faced with falling in the MAC West standings, the Cardinals pulled off an outright victory as a touchdown underdog over Kent State.
The win put head coach Mike Neu one victory away from bowl season with a showdown against Toledo to decide the West Division on deck. A bowl trip would be the third in four years for Ball State after six previous years without a postseason game.
Toledo comes in off of a much-needed bye week after posting a come-from-behind victory over Eastern Michigan. Backup quarterback Tucker Gleason threw for three touchdowns, while the Rockets defense shut down the Eagles’ passing attack.
Toledo’s lone conference loss came after turning the ball over six times and allowing a 17-point fourth-quarter comeback by Buffalo.
A win here gives the Rockets a two-game lead in the division with plenty of tiebreakers in place for a berth in the conference title game.
The Cardinals used a balanced formula of run and pass to defeat Kent State.
Junior quarterback John Paddock threw 41 times for 254 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Ball State targets posted their best drop rate of the season at 3.8%, as Paddock continues to evade pressure at the low rate of 7.6%.
The Golden Flashes did not have an answer for running back Carson Steele. The junior bulled over defenders en route to his best yards-after-contact performance at nearly five yards.
Steele also created 10 missed tackles to tie a career-high for a single game.
Carson Steele — great speed, elite flow pic.twitter.com/vNkBFsSQPP
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) November 1, 2022
The defense doesn’t have attractive statistics from a season-long perspective, but four consecutive opponents have scored 21 points or less against the Cardinals. Ball State ranks top-25 in tackling and defending pass explosiveness.
Edge defenders Tavion Woodard and Sidney Houston Jr. lead the team in pressures and quarterback hurries.
A shoulder injury sidelined who may be the MAC Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Dequan Finn. Head coach Jason Candle stated Finn would return “at some point,” verifying that the quarterback is questionable for Ball State.
The sophomore has more than 2,200 all-purpose yards with 18 touchdowns in the air and another eight on the ground. During the Buffalo comeback, Finn’s final pass attempt was intercepted as the quarterback was flattened and injured.
Dequan Finn is forced to scramble, tries to make a play, and Caleb Offord intercepts the pass to end the game!
Bulls 34, Toledo 27 is your final score! pic.twitter.com/HfAtv1EohZ
— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) October 22, 2022
The question is the gap between Finn and Gleason in regard to the point spread. Gleason has yet to record a turnover-worthy play in 40 passing attempts this season.
Candle is confident in the backup’s grasp of the playbook in his second season with the program. The market adjusted 4.5 points against Eastern Michigan in the wake of Finn’s injury.
The defense continues to be one of the best in the conference, as a nonconference schedule that included Ohio State is paying dividends.
The Rockets rank sixth in tackle grading, an assisting factor in a top-40 rank in Standard Downs Success Rate and defending the explosive play.
If there’s an area to attack the defense, it’s on the ground. Toledo’s rush defenders have allowed 46 runs of 10 yards or more.
The Rockets do struggle with teams that can sustain drives into scoring position, as they allow 4.3 points to opponents who cross the 40-yard line.
Ball State vs Toledo Betting Pick
Ball State thrives in certain areas on both sides of the ball.
The Cardinals limit explosive pass plays because of a great tackle grade and a national rank of seventh in pass breakups. Slot cornerback Nic Jones ranks fifth nationally in individual forced incompletions, indicating that slot receivers Devin Maddox and DeMeer Blankumsee will be limited in receiving attempts.
Toledo will have advantages in the run game, but 13 fumbles on the season highlight issues with ball protection.
The Toledo defense generally has the advantage in Havoc with a high total of tackles for loss and passes defensed. Because Ball State is one of the best in the nation in limiting turnovers, the Rockets must rely on a pass defense that ranks highly in coverage and tackling.
Steele may find more midweek success for the Cardinals, especially with the Rockets’ poor marks against rush explosiveness.