Tuesday Night MACtion Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Top Bets for Tonight’s College Football Games (Nov. 9)

Tuesday Night MACtion Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Top Bets for Tonight’s College Football Games (Nov. 9) article feature image
Credit:

Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: An Eastern Michigan Eagles football helmet.

  • Another Tuesday means another night of MACtion.
  • Three MAC college football games take place tonight, including Akron vs. Western Michigan, Buffalo vs. Miami (OH), and Eastern Michigan vs. Ohio.
  • Check out all three of our bets for tonight's games below.

The MACtion Network is back.

Tuesday college football is a tradition unlike any other, and our staff came prepared with three bets — one for each game tonight.

The action starts at 7 p.m. ET with Akron vs. Western Michigan and Buffalo vs. Miami (OH). Then, we’ll be lucky enough to close out the night with a cross-division matchup between Eastern Michigan and Ohio at 8 p.m. ET.

But that’s not all. The MACtion Network will be back Wednesday with three more games from arguably the most entertaining conference in sports.


Tuesday College Football Best Bets

The team logos in the table below represent each of the 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.

Game
Time
Pick
7 p.m. ET
Under 62
7 p.m. ET
Buffalo +7
8 p.m. ET
Over 61 · Eastern Michigan -6.5
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.

Akron vs. Western Michigan

Tuesday, Nov. 9
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Under 62

By Kody Malstrom

A week ago, we were blessed with one of the best midweek celebrations in sports. MACtion made its glorious return with a three-game slate last Tuesday — one that included the Akron Zips.

I had the pleasure to write about last week’s Tuesday Akron matchup, a game I boldly took the under in. I looked like a genius, as that was the only MAC under to hit all week.

As sports bettors, we need a short-term memory because now it’s a new week and a new matchup.

Coming into this matchup, Akron fired head coach Tom Arth and replaced him with interim linebacker coach Oscar Rodriguez. Hopefully for the Zips, he can spark a fire underneath the defense because that unit is still one of the worst in the country.

Western Michigan comes into this one disappointed after dropping a game to rival Central Michigan as 10-point favorites. Its special teams unit was exposed, giving up two punt return touchdowns to CMU en-route to the 42-30 defeat.

Do I have the stones to go with an Akron under for the second week in a row? Let’s find out.


Akron Zips

Akron Offense

Akron was one fumbled dive into the end zone away from potentially securing a win last week. More importantly, it secured our under, but my heart goes out to the Zips for losing in that fashion.

Their ground game was the focal point last week, but it was the passing attack that really succeeded. Quarterback Zach Gibson had himself a game, throwing for 331 yards and two touchdowns.

Running may be a little more difficult this week, as Western Michigan nearly matches the Akron rushing metrics evenly. Akron currently ranks 65th in Rush Success and 23rd in Line Yards.

If last week’s fumbled dive in the end zone showed us anything, it’s that Akron needs to reinforce protecting the ball. It ranks near dead last in Havoc Allowed, a metric that WMU is top-10 in on defense. This may get ugly fast for the Zips if disruptions and turnovers plague them all game.

Akron Defense

It’s never easy writing about a unit that is as bad as Akron’s defense. Luckily, few squads are as bad as the Akron defense because this unit flat-out stinks.

Hopefully, interim head coach Rodriguez can inject some life into this unit after spending plenty of time with it earlier in the season.

The Zips still rank on the wrong side of 100 in every defensive metric, including Def. Rush Success (130th), Line Yards (129th), and Havoc (127th) — all metrics that WMU is above average in.

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Western Michigan Broncos

Western Michigan Offense

Watching the game with a Western Michigan season win total ticket in mind, I was pleasantly pleased with how the offense performed. Special teams? Different story.

The offense is an all-around solid unit, with respectable ranks in almost every category. It’s near top-50 in both passing metrics, Pass Success and pass blocking, relying on the arm of quarterback Kaleb Eleby.

Eleby is quietly having a fantastic season, throwing for 2,253 yards, 13 touchdowns, and three interceptions.

The Broncos also have a great running back duo, one that struggled against a top rush defense in Central Michigan. They will look to have a bounce-back game against the worst rush defense in college football.

The reason I said earlier that they have respectable ranks in nearly every category is because their Finishing Drives rank is in the bottom half of the nation. That’s particularly eye-popping as they have weapons all over the field. Currently ranking 77th, WMU will look to fix that success past the 40 against this Akron defense.

Western Michigan Defense

While the defense is rock-solid according to the defensive metrics, it’s been slacking of late. In its past four games, opposing offenses have been scoring 30+ on the WMU defense.

This could be in part due to its Def. Finishing Drives rate, which os 80th in the nation. Teams have been finding success, putting points on the board once they get past the 40.

This is one of the very few metrics that Akron has an advantage in, making this that matchup one to watch.

While the Broncos’ Def. Passing Success sits near the top of the nation, their run defense is mediocre. They rank 65th in Def. Rush Success — identical to Akron’s Off. Rush Success ranking — so they will need to bottle up the backfield to avoid any potential upset.


Akron vs. Western Michigan Betting Pick

Last week, I seemed like the smartest man in college football by writing about the under in the Akron vs. Ball State game while every other game went over.

I’m here to tell you that lightning will strike twice.

Akron’s passing success was perplexing to me, to say the least. That’s a point of its game that I don’t believe it will replicate again, especially against this WMU secondary.

With a run-heavy game plan in mind for both squads at two of the slowest paces in college football, this is every under bettor’s dream scenario.

My only fear going into this game is how many points WMU will need to score in a bounce-back effort before it calls off the troops. This Akron defense is that bad, although it’s worth remembering that WMU is not the best at Finishing Drives.

With that thought in mind, I will be playing under 62 for small, which is still widely available. Then, I’ll have a potential add on WMU if it starts out slow and hits -21 or better.

Pick: Under 62



Buffalo vs. Miami (OH)

Tuesday, Nov. 9
7 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Buffalo +7

By Action Analytics

Welcome to the second week of MACtion. It may be pitch black at 5 p.m. every night now, but college football every Tuesday is a worthy price.

Tonight, the Buffalo Bulls travel to Oxford, Ohio, to take on the Miami (OH) RedHawks. Miami will be looking to avenge a blowout loss last year when the Bulls trounced it, 52-10, in Buffalo.

The good news for the RedHawks: 2020 MAC Offensive Player of the Year Jaret Patterson will not be playing this year.

Miami needs a win to keep its hopes of winning the MAC East afloat, while Buffalo is playing to hop ahead in the standings. Both teams are 4-5 and looking to improve to .500 to keep a possible postseason bowl bid alive.

For Miami, this would be the third bowl appearance in six seasons under head coach Chuck Martin. If it makes a postseason game, this would easily be the most successful stretch in school history since Big Ben Roethlisberger was the quarterback for the RedHawks in the early 2000s.

However, falling to 4-6 would be a disastrous blow to either team’s postseason hopes. With a bowl berth on the line and a national audience, this should be an extremely hard-fought game.


Buffalo Bulls

Buffalo Offense

Patterson may not be suiting up for the Bulls anymore, but junior running back Dylan McDuffie is no slouch. He ranks third in the MAC in rushing yards, averaging 5.5 yards per carry with nine touchdowns. They also lead the conference overall with 27 rushing touchdowns total.

Unfortunately for Buffalo, these numbers are not translating to an efficient rushing attack. The Bulls are in the middle of the pack when it comes to EPA/Play (62nd) and Success Rate (55th) on rushing plays. They are not explosive either, ranking 95th nationally.

Their air attack is likewise mediocre, ranking 72nd in EPA/play and 64th in Success Rate on passing plays. This is not because opponents are disrupting plays, as the Bulls rank 16th in Havoc Allowed.

Rather, quarterback Kyle Vantrease has been leading an anemic passing attack. He has thrown for eight touchdowns and five interceptions this season. Despite these statistical shortcomings, Buffalo is second in the MAC in scoring with 33.6 points per game. This offense is due for a regression soon.

Buffalo Defense

While Buffalo’s offense is putting up nearly 34 points per game, its defense is allowing 29.

Its explosiveness is particularly concerning, as it ranks in the bottom five at 127th. It’s also 112th in EPA/Play allowed and 92nd in Success Rate.

Really, the only thing average about this defense is Havoc, where it ranks 39th. The only thing this Bulls defense has going for it is that the RedHawks offense is just as bad.



Miami RedHawks

Miami (OH) Offense

On the surface, you might think the RedHawks have a prolific offense. After all, uarterback Brett Gabbert is coming off a 492-yard, five-touchdown game against Ohio and a more modest 207-yard, two-touchdown game against Ball State.

However, I’m here to tell you that this offense is just as mediocre as Buffalo’s.

The RedHawks rank 108th in Success Rate, 102nd in Finishing Drives and 77th in EPA/Play. The bright side? They are exceptional at not allowing defenses to cause chaos, as they rank eighth in Havoc Allowed.

This should be an interesting matchup, though, as they should be able to rip off a couple of big gains against a Buffalo defense that is 127th in explosiveness.

Despite not being exceptional at generating explosive plays, Miami is slightly above average nationally, ranking 46th in offensive explosiveness.

Miami (OH) Defense

For the most part, the RedHawks defense is just slightly below average. They rank 74th in Success Rate, 74th in explosiveness, and 94th in EPA/Play.



However, one area of severe concern for RedHawks is in Defensive Finishing Drives. They are allowing 4.3 points every time an opponent crosses their 40-yard line. This ranks 110th in the country.

This is an interesting matchup due to the fact that outside of Buffalo’s defensive explosiveness and Miami’s Defensive Finishing Drives, this is a strength-on-strength game.


Buffalo vs. Miami (OH) Betting Pick


Based on the metrics provided above, I would anticipate this game being much closer than the spread indicates — probably closer to a field goal.

Our power ratings agree with me, as they have Miami (OH) as a four-point favorite in this matchup. I’m riding with the dogs.

Pick: Buffalo +7



Ohio vs. Eastern Michigan

Tuesday, Nov. 9
8 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Over 61 · Eastern Michigan -6.5

By Collin Wilson

Two teams from separate divisions hope to inch closer to the leaders in an effort to secure a birth in the MAC Championship game.

Eastern Michigan is already bowl eligible, but six-win teams from the MAC have been left out in the past when too many teams qualify for the postseason.

Head coach Chris Creighton has been overachieving in Ypsilanti since his arrival in 2014. The Eagles consistently rank at the bottom of the conference in recruiting but have made three bowls in the past five seasons.

Ohio underwent a sudden head coaching change during the summer when Frank Solich retired for medical reasons. Tim Albin moved from offensive coordinator to head coach after working under Solich from as far back as 2000 as a graduate assistant.

Nothing has changed on the offensive side of the ball except the quarterback under center.

Solich flipped between 11 and 12 formations with a heavy tendency to run the ball in a two-tight end set with quarterback Nathan Rourke. The transition in 2021 for Albin has included the same playbook, but with sophomore Kurtis Rourke and UNLV transfer Armani Rogers.

Ohio cannot make a bowl with seven losses, but a cover in four of the past five games shows that the team is still fighting for Albin.


Ohio Bobcats

Ohio Offense

The Bobcats continue to be a run-first team with 58% of snaps calling rush with a Success Rate 10% above the national average on running plays. Ohio ranks 22nd in Line Yards, a distinct advantage against an Eastern Michigan defense that is bottom-five in the nation in the metric.

Senior running back De’Montre Tuggle and Rourke have powered the rushing attack, but it was the passing attack that led to an upset victory of Miami (Ohio) in Week 10.

Ohio goes for it on 4th & 9. Isiah Cox runs a great route & Kurtis Rourke finds him for another Ohio TD. This is a shocking result. The Bobcats have been great tonight.

MIAMI OH 0
OHIO 28

pic.twitter.com/bB1qvNj6Sv

— CFB Blitz (@BlitzCfb) November 3, 2021

Rourke finished with 288 yards and three touchdowns on the evening, bucking the season rank of 115th in Passing Success Rate.

The Eastern Michigan defense ranks near dead last in Defensive Success Rate against the pass and rush, giving Albin plenty of options for play-calling against the Eagles.

On the season, Eastern Michigan’s opponents are 13% above the national average in Success Rate on standard downs. Ohio will look to extend drives and control time of possession with a tempo rank of 112th.

Ohio Defense

The Ohio defense has many deficiencies as the Bobcats rank near dead last in tackling and Havoc. With one of the lowest ranks in tackles for loss and pass rush, Ohio does not play behind the line of scrimmage against opposing offenses.

Eastern Michigan may have similar results to Miami (OH) when it comes to the Ohio defense, as the RedHawks had 11 passes of 15 yards or more in defeat last week. The Bobcats have been one of the worst defensive units in the nation when getting opponents off schedule, ranking 118th in passing downs Success Rate.


Eastern Michigan Eagles

Eastern Michigan Offense

The transfer of quarterback Ben Bryant from Cincinnati has changed the offensive play-calling for Creighton. With Preston Hutchinson under center in 2020, Eastern Michigan called pass on 56% of downs out of the heavily-used 11 personnel.

That scheme still exists this season, but Bryant is passing on 67% of downs in 11 personnel with a high level of success. The Eagles are 27th in Offensive Passing Success Rate, as Bryant utilizes running back Samson Evans and wide receiver Hassan Beydoun to spread the field.

What a catch by Hassan Beydoun! Ben Bryant drops it right on the money & Beydoun hauls it in with one hand. What a fun game in Toledo.

EASTERN MICHIGAN 31
TOLEDO 28

pic.twitter.com/WdJz0MdjnE

— CFB Blitz (@BlitzCfb) November 3, 2021

Eastern Michigan Defense

While the offense has scored 107 combined points against Toledo and Bowling Green over the past two games, the defense has given up 73 in consecutive wins.

The Eagles are 114th in Defensive Havoc and outside the top 100 in coverage rankings via PFF. Creighton’s approach with Bryant has been to outscore opponents, especially when there is no pass rush.


Ohio vs. Eastern Michigan Betting Pick

Among the games on the Eastern Michigan schedule that stand out, a 13-12 victory over Miami (OH) bucks the scoring trend for the Eagles.

The one element in that game that grounded the Bryant passing attack was 17 quarterback pressures from the RedHawks. That will not be the case in this game, as the Ohio defense has ranks outside the top 100 in pass rush with 14 total sacks on the season.

Ohio will have the advantage on the ground, but middling numbers in time of possession and plays per minute suggest Ohio may elect to go tempo with a scoring deficit. The big difference in this game is the outcome of scoring attempts.

Both offenses have the clear advantage when drives go past the 40-yard line, but Eastern Michigan is cashing in at a much higher rate. The Bobcats have scored a touchdown in just 13-of-27 trips in the red zone, while the Eagles have scored a touchdown in 29-of-35 red zone attempts. The clear advantage is to Eastern Michigan against an Ohio defense that ranks 108th in Finishing Drives.

Mother Nature may have a say in the start of this game, as showers in the late afternoon should tamper off after kick. Ypsilanti is famous for the gray FieldTurf at “The Factory,” as field conditions should not have an impact on the pace of play in comparison to a natural grass surface.

The Action Network projection makes the side Eastern Michigan -8 with a total projection of 59. As with any MACtion game, spreads and totals are often manipulated as limits are increased running up to kickoff.

Any number south of a touchdown deserves a look for Eastern Michigan with heavy advantages in scoring opportunities and special teams.

As for the total, the Eagles are one of the best in the nation at making red-zone attempts turn into touchdowns instead of field goals, which could be important in getting through the key number of 62.

Pick: Over 61 · Eastern Michigan -6.5



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